We live in one of the wealthiest and most innovative regions on the planet. Yet one in seven children is poor. We have one of the country’s largest homeless populations, and yet many still struggle to make ends meet. Recognizing that 380,000 county residents still struggle in poverty, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County convened a Social Policy Breakfast and Out of Poverty Action Summit on October 14 – to develop a community-wide, anti-poverty action plan including education, housing, employment and asset development, healthcare, and nutrition. Strategies aligned along three paths: poverty alleviation, prevention, and reduction. These events were part of an all day celebration commemorating Catholic Charities’ 60th Anniversary.
Key speakers at the Social Policy Breakfast and Out of Poverty Action Summit, which was held at the Tech Museum, were: Sr. Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA; Emmett Carson, PhD, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Miriam Rivera, JD, Managing Director, Bay Area Growth Fund; Randy Pond, former EVP, Operations, Cisco Systems; Dave Cortese, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors; and Cindy Chavez, Supervisor, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
The City of San Jose recognized October 14 as “Catholic Charities Day,” with Mayor Sam Liccardo presenting a commendation to leaders of the social services agency. Assemblymember Nora Campos, District 27, also presented the agency with a resolution.
Catholic Charities provides a spectrum of social services to residents in need in Santa Clara County. The agency also convenes partners to advocate for, and incubate social change through Step Up Silicon Valley and Parish Partnerships.
The 60th Celebration concluded with a Mass at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph and a Gala at the San Jose Marriott. The Gala honored three couples for their outstanding years of service at Catholic Charities. Longstanding members of the Caritas Society were also recognized that evening. The three honoree couples – Carol and Bob Peters, Andrea and Joe Thomas, and Susan and Ray Triplett, will receive the first-ever Matthew 25 Award – “Whatsoever you do for the least of these, you do unto me.”
Carol and Bob have been volunteers with Catholic Charities since the 90’s. Carol worked with the Independent Aging program serving seniors in our community, then Bob joined the Board of Directors from 1992 to 1997. Throughout the years, they have volunteered their time and talents on Catholic Charities committees and the Caritas Society. Bob leverages his business expertise as Chair of the Major Gifts committee, raising funds for agency programs and services. Both Bob and Carol continue to stay involved in Caritas and Catholic Charities committees.
Andrea and Joe Thomas
Andrea and Joe were inspired to get involved with Catholic Charities after hearing a phenomenal explanation of why one should donate to the May Appeal. That was 40 years ago. Soon after, they became Caritas Society founding members. Joe was a Board member from 1987 to 1993, Chair of the Development Advisory Board, founding President of Charities Housing, and was instrumental in the Zanker headquarter building purchase. Andrea was an active member of the Development Committee since it began in the early 90’s and has always lent a hand when there is a need, from contributing ideas as a development leader, to being hands on.
During the early years of the Caritas Society, Andrea and a small group of dedicated volunteers established a strong foundation for the Society by producing the Caritas Receptions at no cost to the agency. In just a few years the size of the group more than doubled to 100 members. Andrea and Joe continue to participate as hosts today and are active in many committees. They also spend time with other volunteers serving meals to low-income seniors at our John XXIII Multi-service Center, which helps the Center receive continued funding.
Susan and Ray were drawn to support the work of Catholic Charities 30 years ago as a response to their faith. Their commitment began when they joined the Caritas Society. Ray volunteered for numerous committees and served on the board, most recently as Board President from 2012-2014. Over the years, Ray and Susan have helped with the May Appeal at their parish, and have hosted Catholic Charities functions. They continue to back the agency’s mission with their Family Endowment Fund and membership in the Domus Council, and by their encouragement of others to support vital programs and services.
For more information regarding Catholic Charities, please visit www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org