Portland’s organization of day laborers has removed itself from consideration for a major grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Voz chose to maintain close ties with the National Council of La Raza, a group that promotes same-sex marriage, in contradiction to Catholic teaching.
That means Voz, the organization that runs a day labor center in Northeast Portland, is ineligible for a possible $75,000, almost a quarter of its proposed annual budget.
The Catholic Campaign, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ anti-poverty program, has funded the project for year, including local grants in  2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. They received national grants in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. As a program of the Workers Organizing Committee, they received grants in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
“The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is disappointed that Voz withdrew its consideration for a national and local grant,” says Matt Cato, director of the Archdiocese of Portland’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace, which administers campaign grants in western Oregon.
Cato says Voz’s choice will not diminish the Office’s “public and active support” of other causes that Voz also promotes. Cato says those objectives include seeking comprehensive reform for immigrants, reaffirming the Oregon law that authorizes drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants, strengthening state laws on wage theft, securing a permanent site for the day laborer center and eliminating unnecessary detention of immigrants.
Any time an organization applies for a grant, the grantor will expect the applicant to meet its criteria. A CCHD grant has nine criteria: To be eligible for a grant from the program funded by the U.S. Catholic bishops, non-profit organizations are told in writing that they “must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church and must in no way work against the bishops' priorities to defend human life and dignity, strengthen family life and the institution of marriage, and foster diversity.”
CCHD says that organizations also must not take part in campaigns for or against candidates for public office, must benefit people living in poverty, and must see to it that people living in poverty have the dominant voice in the organization. Organizations must demonstrate ongoing leadership development and show a capacity to work toward the elimination of the root causes of poverty and to enact institutional change.
Organizations are required to foster diversity across racial and economic lines, but, grant instructions say, “CCHD cannot fund groups that are part of coalitions or other organizations with purposes or agendas that conflict with fundamental Catholic social and moral teaching.”