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Catholic Charities fulfills the Church’s role in the mission of charity to anyone in need by providing compassionate, competent and professional services that strengthen and support individuals, families and communities based on the value and dignity of human life. In order to remain faithful to our mission, Catholic Charities is guided by these core values: Respect, Compassion, Competence and Stewardship.
Catholic Charities began in 1917, when a group of Catholic businessmen petitioned Cardinal Mundelein to create a central Catholic charity in Chicago to relieve the burden on Catholic parishes, which were struggling to meet the needs of the poor in their communities. World War I had just ended, the Spanish Influenza Epidemic was sweeping the globe, and immigrants were arriving daily in a city growing by leaps and bounds. The organization was chartered in January 1918, and Cardinal Mundelein addressed the 200 board members at their first annual meeting in April of the following year. He reported on the agency’s immediate success in raising funds and serving the poor.