By Gregory Kepferle
CEO, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and President,
Charities Housing Development Corporation
In our fast paced lives in Silicon Valley, it is easy to become so focused on what we have to get done, that we forget why we do what we do and the very community we live and work in.
For a few minutes, I invite you to come up for air and join me in reflecting on where we live and to envision what sort of valley we want to live in. I don’t mean just how we steward the land we live and work and play in, but how we form community and how we care for those who are struggling and most in need.
I invite you to envision a valley where every child has the opportunity to learn from cradle to career and lives in a neighborhood free from fear, where families can afford to live in safe and decent housing and eat nutritious food, where enterprising workers can earn enough to make ends meet and save for the future, where immigrants and refugees are welcome, and where those who are imprisoned, physically and mentally ill, elderly and vulnerable can find healing and hope.
This is our vision at Catholic Charities. But to realize this vision is daunting. Macroeconomic, psychological, social and political forces push against this vision. We see the effects every day: poverty, income inequality, geographic segregation, homelessness and the lack of affordable housing, struggling students, hungry and isolated seniors, broken families, people with mental illness stigmatized, and families struggling to make ends meet in our high cost valley.
We can’t achieve a new vision for the valley by ourselves. Nor can we provide all the services needed to make this real. It will take all of us working together in coalitions and partnerships including the faith community, neighborhoods, the business community, governments, academia and philanthropy. Many groups are tackling pieces of the puzzle. We need to find ways to strengthen and unite those efforts and find creative solutions to the harsh reality of poverty. It needs to include, not only services, but also advocacy, community building, bridge building between different cultures and economic strata, and the willingness to test new methods of social innovation.
Finally, none of our work is possible without God’s grace, as John wrote in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.”
I invite you to join us at Catholic Charities in this quest to create a new vision for our valley. You can contact me directly at
gkepferle@CatholicCharitiesSCC.org or visit www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org.