FREE SPEECH ZONE | An Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops from Headwaters Foundation, Philanthro-Fund and Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

An Open Letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and its Catholic Campaign for Human Development:As foundation leaders, we are taking a stand against the overreaching philanthropic practice employed by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), an office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Catholic Bishops). CCHD is a grantmaking institution that we believe has gone beyond simply upholding the values of the Catholic Church, to encroach on aspects of community life that fall outside of the appropriate role of a financial supporter of community organizations.A case in point is that of the Land Stewardship Project (LSP), which recently lost its CCHD funding.  LSP exists to promote farmland stewardship, sustainable agriculture and sustainable communities. In July, the Catholic Bishops notified LSP that they had been approved for a $48,000 grant for rural organizing in southeast Minnesota. Two weeks later, they were informed that CCHD was reversing that decision unless LSP resigned its membership in two organizations: TakeAction Minnesota and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. The reason given for withdrawing the funding was because of these organizations’ stated positions against the constitutional amendment to limit marriage on the Nov. Continue Reading