Over the past three years, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) has worked on both

sides of the aisle to introduce policy reform concepts to revolutionize the way poverty
reduction is approached in the United States. Tese concepts, which emphasize that
reform must be systems-changing, market-driven, and results-based, were first em-
bodied in a legislative vehicle developed by CCUSA, the National Opportunity and
Community Renewal Act (NOCRA).
In 2010, NOCRA was introduced by Senator Bob Casey and Congressman Jim
McGovern on the occasion of CCUSA’s Centennial. During the 112th Congress that
followed in January 2011, NOCRA was reintroduced in the Senate only by Senator
Casey. Trough legislative visits and outreach, CCUSA has built a foundation on
Capitol Hill for the concepts of NOCRA, but continued political polarization leaves
little possibility of moving this significant legislation in its entirety at this time.
In light of this political reality, CCUSA has identified six local Catholic Charities
agencies with whom they will work to launch or expand innovative social services
programs and initiatives that exemplify at least two of the principles outlined in
By testing these principles in local “laboratories” of innovation, CCUSA hopes to
build a body of evidence to support implementing these policy changes more holisti-
cally. Accordingly, all pilot programs must include a research and evaluation com-
ponent. Selected pilot programs must also demonstrate either a systems-changing or
market-driven approach to poverty reduction:
• Systems-changing programs are those that embody a holistic approach and call
for breaking down government funding silos in order to deliver services efficient-
ly and effectively.
• Market-driven approaches include founding social enterprises that generate
employment opportunities and revenue streams, creating new capital markets
for nonprofits, expanding tax credits that promote job retention, education, and
financial literacy, and monetizing the savings of successful programs.
Te results of these local pilots will inform the strategic direction of CCUSA’s policy
work, with positive outcomes creating a compelling case for broader policy reform
efforts and scaling up successful program models.
Te timing of this effort presents a unique opportunity, as it coincides with the 50th
anniversary of the War on Poverty. Tis year will be marked by divergent voices, with
some leaders insisting the War on Poverty has been a failure in light of persistently
high poverty rates, while others adamantly defend keeping the programs designed 50
years ago in place. CCUSA is uniquely positioned to have a persuasive voice in these
conversations, urging thoughtful reform of War on Poverty programs, because of the
long-standing commitment to innovative poverty reduction policy.
For more information, contact us: SocialPolicy@CatholicCharitiesUSA.org
For the latest updates, follow us on Twitter: @EndPoverty
2050 Ballenger Avenue Suite 400 Alexandria, VA 22314

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