Catholic Bishops’ Agency Admits to Deceptive Funding Scheme

News: Commentary
by Michael Hichborn  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  March 18, 2021   

Breaking own grant rules

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We have reported on Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants since 2009, first as part of the Reform CCHD Now Coalition, and more recently as part of our mission as the Lepanto Institute. While there have been plenty of grants to horrible organizations, and not much transparency from CCHD leadership in their responses to our reports, one thing has not been at question; namely, that the organizations listed on CCHD's own grants list are the recipients of the grants, and that no grantees were hidden from the public.

This has changed!

The CCHD's current and only response to our recent report on its grants to the Workers Dignity Project (WDP) is that CCHD hasn't funded WDP in three years, meaning the $50,000 CCHD indicated that it granted to WDP on its 2019–2020 grants list didn't actually go to WDP.

Here's what we know.

LifeSiteNews forwarded us an email chain it received from a concerned Catholic who had contacted the CCHD. This individual asked the CCHD about its grant to WDP, which had been caught promoting abortion and Planned Parenthood. Randy Keesler, a CCHD grants specialist, claimed that CCHD hadn't granted money to WDP for three years and accused LSN of racism and bad journalism.


 

In response, this concerned Catholic pointed out that WDP is listed on the CCHD's grants list for 2019–2020 for $50,000. Keesler then claimed:

[Workers Dignity] received the funding for PATHE [People's Alliance for Transit, Housing, and Employment] which was a coalition of groups working on housing and transportation issues. Workers Dignity was a part of the coalition and had a 501c3 and could receive the funds. Then they wrote a check to PATHE. PATHE, being a coalition of groups had no corporate status and could not receive grants directly. Had Lifesite contacted us or the group they would have discovered this. Sloppy misleading reporting. (emphasis added)

Surprisingly, the email exchange didn't end there. Keesler was asked if granting money to WDP for the purpose of giving the money to another organization was a violation of the CCHD grant guidelines. The guideline quoted to Keesler was this:

"The following organizations are not eligible for CCHD Community Development funding: Organizations that would use CCHD money for re-granting purposes or to fund other organizations." (emphasis added)

Keesler's reply was very telling:

Technically it is not a re-grant. It is a pass through. The group has no choice of who the money goes to. They agree to be the fiscal agent so that the money will go to the approved organization. They cannot do otherwise.
Thanks for you [sic] interest.

We are very careful in our reporting, and if anything in our reports is found incorrect, we will issue an immediate and public retraction. However, to face the accusation that our report was flawed from its very premise — that CCHD even made a grant to WDP — left us dumbstruck. We double- and triple-checked CCHD's own grants list, and sure enough, as plain as day, WDP is listed as having received a grant of $50,000. We double-checked CCHD's own Poverty USA map of CCHD funded groups, and again, WDP is listed as a grantee.

So, what is going on here?

Read the rest at the Lepanto Institute

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