An innovative partnership between the University of Notre Dame, the nation’s preeminent Catholic university, and Catholic Charities USA, one of this country’s most influential social service networks, was announced recently. The formation of the collaboration, called the Alliance, was driven by the two institutions’ common belief that helping those in need is a core element of the Catholic faith.
“I’m so proud of Notre Dame’s partnership with Catholic Charities USA,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “By bringing together one of our nation’s preeminent social service networks with a great Catholic university, we are able to live out our mission of putting learning in service to justice by addressing the root causes of poverty in our country.”
Taking a multifaceted approach, the Alliance will strive to reduce poverty in America through rigorous academic research and evaluation of anti-poverty programs, a focus on methods to increase entrepreneurship in implementation of poverty relief services, and efforts to unite skilled workers from the academic and service provider arenas to ensure enhanced quality of service delivery. In addition, the Alliance will seek to inform, through advocacy and educational outreach, the development of policies that will change the ways poverty issues are addressed in the United States.
A key component of the Alliance is Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO), the first domestic poverty lab in the United States. Leveraging the experience of academic experts with a national network of social services providers, LEO will offer researchers and practitioners an opportunity to come together, research and implement scalable best practices across the Catholic Charities network and the social service sector at large.
“We have a moral commitment to not only serve the poor, but to determine the most effective and efficient models for doing so,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “Through programs like LEO, the Alliance will provide guidance to not only social service providers across the country regarding best practices for poverty relief programs, but will allow us to educate our nation’s policymakers on outcomes of the research enabling them to, in time, alter the way we address poverty as a nation.”
The four core focus areas of the Alliance include:
Academic: Generating solutions through research by the University’s Lab for Economic Opportunities.
Business: Applying the problem-solving acumen of the University’s Mendoza College of Business to the social service field.
Church in Action: Utilizing the University’s Career Center, Alumni Association and Center for Social Concerns to connect its vast network of talent and experience to CCUSA’s local agencies across the country.
Policy Development and Advocacy: Leading initiatives that will inform the development of poverty-reduction solutions and policies through advocacy and educational outreach.
Contact: Rev. William Lies, C.S.C., vice president for mission engagement and Church affairs, Notre Dame, 574-631-1212, firstname.lastname@example.org