Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Restructuring Catholic Charities Programs in Onondaga County

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

October 12, 2009


Central NY






Catholic Charities of Onondaga County (CCOC) is a faith-based human service organization that has addressed the needs of low-income populations since 1923.

The agency offers two homeless shelters; education, youth, and family development programs at five neighborhood centers; a nutrition program for youth and seniors; refugee resettlement services; mental health programs; emergency services; and child abuse prevention programs. CCOC serves nearly 30,000 people each year across 50 different programs and is an important provider of social services in this region. The economic downturn of 2008 resulted in a growing demand for services at CCOC, but the organization was confronted by a significant reduction in key revenue areas as well as problems with its organizational structure. Certain functions at the organization overlapped, creating redundancies among services, while programs failed to focus on programmatic results. In October 2009, NYHealth awarded CCOC a grant to streamline the organization from 50 loosely organized programs to a concentrated number of programs that are responsive to current and emerging community needs and that can focus on specific results.

The existing 50 Catholic Charities programs operate like separate agencies, creating redundancies and inefficiencies in such administrative functions as human resources, purchasing, and communications. This fragmentation has resulted in a confused brand, which weakens fundraising efforts. On a practical level, the restructuring will move Catholic Charities from a three- to two-division structure. Catholic Charities has already taken important steps to accomplish its restructuring goals with a new executive director and a revamped leadership team fully engaged in the restructuring effort and laying the groundwork for these changes.