Catholic Charities Lowers Goal for Drive after Donations Drop

By Susan Ruiz Patton
The Plain Dealer [Cleveland OH]
May 3, 2003

Catholic Charities' annual appeal, which did not reach last year's $11.4 million goal, has lowered its sights this year by nearly $1 million to reflect decreased giving.

The $10.5 million appeal - which taps parishioners throughout the Cleveland diocese for donations through December - officially kicked off yesterday when volunteers passed out candy and brochures outside the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland.

Last year, 10,000 fewer parishioners gave money than in 2001, with donations totaling $9.6 million, said diocese spokesman Ed Mayer.

The 2002 campaign was hampered by the sour economy and accusations of child sexual abuse against some Catholic priests in Northeast Ohio, said John Klee, executive vice president of Catholic Charities Corp.

This year's news of problems at two Catholic Charities agencies also have the potential to affect giving, Klee acknowledged.

"But I think our donors recognize the good work Catholic Charities has done and I think they'll come through," he said.

In December, Cuyahoga County's child welfare department refused to send any more troubled teens to Catholic Charities' Parmadale center. Four former and two current workers had been indicted on charges of sexually abusing teens who lived in treatment cottages at Parmadale, off State Road in Parma.

The employees were fired, new safeguards have been instituted and the ban was lifted in March. But county employees will continue to make unannounced visits to ensure that the teens are safe.

Catholic Charities announced in March that it would quit running a shelter for homeless women on East 18th Street in Cleveland. That came after allegations of sex and drug abuse in the shelter. Catholic Charities had been under contract with the county to run the shelter.

Catholic Charities runs more than 100 agencies that provide services to children, older adults, people with disabilities and the hungry.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4937


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