WFF 1997 Report to the USCCB on the CHD
A Commentary on the Campaign for Human Development Prepared for the Catholic Bishops of the United States
Prepared by the Wanderer Forum Foundation
I. Introduction: This commentary is submitted to the Catholic Bishops of the United States with respect to their possible consideration of changes in the organization, funding, and structure of the Campaign for Human Development (CHD). It is essential to note, however, the limited purpose and scope of this commentary:
1. This commentary is intended for the use of the Catholic Bishops of the United States in their consideration of the issues discussed. However, it will also be made available to other persons interested in these issues.
2. This commentary endeavors only to set forth facts with supporting documentation. It does not call into question the good faith or integrity of anyone involved in any way with the CHD. Nor does it infer in any way that any recipient of CHD funds has engaged in any misrepresentation or intentional misuse of funds in any way contrary to the stated purpose of CHD. This commentary does not in any way infer that any persons or organizations involved in these matters have engaged in conduct that is illegal in any way.
3. This commentary is entirely directed to issues of prudence and judgment rather than legality and good faith. The discussion herein is intended merely to raise legitimate questions about the advisability of changes in the structure, activities, and funding of the CHD.
II. COMMUNITY ORGANIZING: During the funding period of 1992-1995, CHD gave significant grants to community organizing efforts that implement many of the organizational techniques recommended by Saul Alinsky. Many community organizations patterned after Alinsky’s recommendations recruit their membership either entirely or partially by institution. Included among this class of grantees are four national organizations: the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), Gamaliel, Pacific Institute for Community Organizing (PICO), and Direct Action and Research Training Center (DART). The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) which is also patterned on Alinsky’s organizational recommendations, recruits individual members. These five national organizations alone account for approximately 33% of current CHD expenditures annually. For purposes of illustration, it will be useful to note here some aspects of the operation of ACORN and the IAF.
1. ACORN received approximately 5% of the national CHD annual budget between 1992-1995. Between the years of 1992-1995, ACORN received $1,493,000 in national CHD grants.
2. ACORN’s People’s Platform was written in 1978 and ratified in 1979 at ACORN’s national convention in St. Louis. The document was revised and re-approved in 1990 at ACORN’s national 20th Anniversary Convention in Chicago and is in effect at present. Among other things, the ACORN People’s Platform specifies that ACORN demands that the United States :
• “create a national health-care system” in which “all medical costs are covered” and in which doctors are provided a medical “education subsidized by the federal government.” [section on Health Care, # I & II]
• “create more housing” by setting a “goal of a million new units of federally subsidized housing per year.” [section on Housing, #I]
• “charge government and big business with the final responsibility for full employment.” [section on Work and Workers’ Rights, #II]
• “guarantee a minimum annual family income…” [section on Work and Workers’ Rights, #III]
• develop schools that are “available for community needs, like adult education” and “job training that is linked to specific employment,” and which “can provide all support and services that a child cannot receive at home.” [section on Education, #II & IV]
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