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Catholic Social Betterment League 1939.J
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Historic Highlights


Catholic Social Betterment League began when representatives from eight parishes met at Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral to explore working together. Priorities were assistance with food, clothing, shelter, and medication.


1940: League reorganized as Catholic Charities; Articles of Incorporation filed 1944.

1941: First Christmas collection is held.

1944: Catholic Charities counselor began to provide services in Walla Walla and Pasco.



1957: Catholic Charities opened the first branch office in Walla Walla. Pasco office opened in 1962 and consolidated with the Tri-Cities in 1991.

1958: House of Charity began operating at 526 N. Washington. To make room for Expo 74’ House of Charity moved to 35 W. Trent, and then to 9 W. Main Avenue in 1975. Sacred Heart Medical Center Outreach Clinic was inaugurated in 1976.

1959: DePorres Manor Maternity Home opened in May and provided residence to 8 expectant mothers.



1960: In early December, Christmas Exchange had 45 families registered with only 7 donors. Board Legislative Committee worked to eliminate the Washington State three-year residency requirement for people needing emergency assistance.

1961: St. Margaret’s Hall opened for “homeless, destitute women” at 707 S. McClellan. The community thought this was a “marvelous response.” There were three main concerns: daily operations including rules and policies, refurbishing the building, and long range financing.

1962: Catholic Family Service began as the umbrella agency for counseling and child welfare services in Spokane County. Cuban Children Refugee Program began.

1964: In cooperation with St. Vincent de Paul, a study on poverty in Spokane was released. Spokane Neighborhood Centers opened in 1965-66, and transferred to Community Action Council in 1969.

1966: Cuban Children’s Program closed.



1970: Opening of senior apartments: Cathedral Plaza in 1970, Fahy Gardens in 1970, Fahy West in 1971, and the DeLaney in 1972. The O’Malley opened in 1977, Pioneer Square in 1979, and Garden Court was built adjacent to Mike Foye in 1986.

1973: At City/County request, Catholic Charities again assumed responsibility for the Spokane Neighborhood Centers, independently incorporated in 1985, currently operated as Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs (SNAP).

1974: Parish Social Ministry began with staff training at Catholic University.

1975: The Refugee Resettlement program began with the fall of Saigon.

1979: DePorres Manor Maternity Home Closed.



1981 Emergency Assistance networks formed in geographic regions of the diocese. A branch Office opened in Mount Carmel hospital, Colville.

1983: Counseling program added on-site services in Spokane County parishes.

1984: Senior Services expanded to include: four nutrition sites, telephone reassurance, friendly visits, Volunteer Chore Service provided services in 13 counties.

1985:The Childbirth and Parenting Assistance (CAPA) Program was formed to provide extensive, wraparound support services to low-income single pregnant women, and low-income single parents with very young children. CAPA replaced long-standing maternity support services provided by Catholic Charities, which had primarily focused on adoption services.

1986: Parish Social Ministry reorganized ecumenically. Our Place Center opened in 1987, Cheney Outreach and Medical Lake Centers opened in 1990, Valley Center in 1991, and Caritas in 1992. The Refugee Resettlement program expanded for a two-year period to assist 1,300 people obtain citizenship through offices in Brewster, Pasco and Spokane.

1987: Walla Walla Catholic Children and Family Service office moved to the third floor of the Drumheller building with three counseling staff members.

1988: Diocesan sponsored Rockwood Lane opened for seniors and retired priests, Rockwood Lane Court was completed in 1992.



1991- CAPA House opened – Childbirth and Parenting Assistance.

1992- St. Margaret’s residents transitioned to Partners for Community Living. St. Margaret’s Shelter refocused programs to provide services to homeless women and their children.

1993- CAPA Doula Mother-Helper mentoring project initiated.

1994- Spokane hosted Catholic Charities USA Annual meeting. Guse Summit View Apartments opened for 28 single parent families, Counseling Programs initiates first PREP Series- Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program for marriage enrichment.

1995- Housing Social Service Coordinators placed in apartment complexes.

1996- Austen Manor apartments for seniors dedicated in Clarkston, Catholic Relief Services, “Harvest for Hope” project inaugurated in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

1997- Catholic Charities produced an 8-episode series, “A time with the Bishop,” which aired on local network television, Rhodena apartments for families opened in Colville.

1998: Catholic Charities and Spokane Catholic schools partner with, “100 ways in 100 Days,” project. “Shelter 2000,” campaign with a goal of raising $5.5 million to relocate St. Margaret’s Shelter and House of Charity launched, St. Anne’s Children and Family Center expands CAPA and provides childcare. CAPA House closed, Okanogan regional office opened in collaboration with the Diocese of Yakima Catholic Charities.



2000: The St. Margaret’s Shelter opened in their new location with transitional shelter for homeless women and their children, and short-term post-delivery residence for low-income mothers with high-risk infants. The House of Charity opened at 32 W. Pacific. The Refugee Resettlement program celebrated its 25th anniversary with over 5,200 people sponsored through Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities began the process of becoming accredited by the Council on Accreditation.

2001: Bernadette Place, a supported living program for adult women with developmental disabilities was relocated to its final destination.

2002: The Refugee Resettlement Program was rebranded as Immigration Services Program offering comprehensive immigration services in Spokane, Pasco, and Walla Walla.

2003: Council on Accreditation visited Catholic Charities in February with Accreditation awarded in October, “Cherishing Children Embracing Families” campaign for $3.5 million to relocate, and rebuild St. Anne’s Children and Family Center was launched.

2004: Desert Haven housing complex for 26 farm worker families opened in Othello, St. Anne’s Children and Family Center opened at 25 W. 5th Avenue with 75 children enrolled.

2005: On September 23rd, Catholic Charities lost Donna Hanson, its devoted and beloved leader of 27 years to cancer, the new St. Anne’s Children and Family Center achieved record enrollment (206 children) in its state-of-the-art childcare. Catholic Charities served over 44,000 vulnerable individuals.

2006: On January 12th, new Executive Director Rob McCann was installed as president in a ceremony at the House of Charity. The agency’s re-accreditation process with the Council on Accreditation began. The House of Charity Emergency Winter Sleeping Program received funding from the City of Spokane and Spokane County to become open year-round. The Catholic Charities Walla Walla regional office was relocated to a renovated office space. The office provided Immigration Services, Catholic Children and Family Services, Counseling and Housing (Garden Court, Mike Foye apartments) and Senior Services.

2007: Catholic Charities is re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation. Architects and contractors begin work on the new Catholic Charities Spokane Family Services Center. Catholic Housing Communities is formed and Catholic Charities begins to self-manage its 800+ senior and family affordable housing units. Tepeyac Haven, 45 units of farm-worker housing is opened in Pasco.

2008: St. Margaret’s Shelter received the, “ Annie E. Casey Foundation Family Strengthening Award” from Catholic Charities USA. Over 1,500 area Catholic elementary and junior high school students gathered at Martin Center at Gonzaga University to celebrate the,” 100 Ways in 100 Days Mass,” a celebration of their work to collect donations for Catholic Charities during the first 100 days of the school year. St. Anne’s Children and Family Center maintained full capacity in its child care program for children ages 4 weeks to 6 years, with waiting lists in virtually every classroom. Catholic Charities Spokane achieved full re-accreditation from the Council on Accreditation and received a fourth-consecutive four star ranking from Charity Navigation, an independent charity evaluator.

2009: The dedication and blessing of the Catholic Charities Family Services Center at 12 E. 5th Ave was held in May. The renovated facility houses eleven Catholic Charities programs and features the Donna M. Hanson Memorial Atrium, honoring long-time Catholic Charities Director, Donna Hansen. The first annual Gala hosted a sell-out crowd at the Davenport Hotel.



2010: The second annual Gala, “A Show of Support,” was hosted at the Davenport Hotel. This fund/friend raising event was sold out and a great support to programs of Catholic Charities. The ground breaking blessing of the new Farm worker housing project, Bishop Topel Haven is held in Pasco. This housing project consisted of four townhouse buildings adding up to 43 units, one community center and a playground.

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