Catholic Charities is a 501(c) 3 organization which was founded in 2004 and is chartered by the diocese to be a provider of social, legal, and economic assistance to people in need regardless of faith, belief, ethnicity or cultural background. Catholic Charities is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and its operations include a legal services program, financial literacy and interdenominational Families First Initiative, annual fundraising appeals for the poor, and a retail thrift store. Our vision is to help meet the basic needs of individuals and families, address the roots causes of poverty, eliminate oppression, and build a more just and compassionate society. Catholic Charities’ service area is approximately 55,000 square miles with a target population of 542,086, which includes the ten southern counties of New Mexico.
Poverty in Southern New Mexico
From 2009 through 2013 ten Southern New Mexico communities experienced some of the highest poverty rates in the United States. Unfortunately, large portions of the population lived at or below the federal poverty level, which in 2013 was a family of three earning less than $19,350 per year.
Poverty Rates by New Mexico County:
The causes of poverty in Southern New Mexico are complex but a number of key factors play a role:
high unemployment and school drop-out rates;
insufficient capital, job training programs, and networking opportunities to help individuals who want to start a business;
lack of well-paying jobs as well as assistance programs, taxes, and regulation that often discourage entrepreneurship and job creation;
high teenage pregnancy and divorce rates.
Catholic Charities seeks to address the root causes of poverty in our community. We believe solutions can be found through cross sectorial problem solving — business, nonprofit, and public sector collaborations to help the poor, vulnerable, and less fortunate lead more productive and fulfilling lives.