Economy to blame as ShareLife slashed funding to D&P

  • April 29, 2010
ShareLife and D&PTORONTO - The archdiocese of Toronto is giving 20-per-cent less to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace this year because ShareLife fell short of its fundraising goal last year and the recession has hit local Catholic agencies with increased demand for services.

The ShareLife advisory board cut its allocation to Development and Peace to $900,000 this year, a $225,000 reduction from last year’s contribution of $1.125 million.

“That has everything to do with the economy here,” said ShareLife spokesman Bill Steinburg.

ShareLife is not punishing Development and Peace for last year’s controversy that saw the Canadian bishops’ development agency accused by of funding pro-abortion advocacy in Mexico and beyond, said Steinburg.

The ShareLife campaign raised a total $13.7 million, but fell $300,000 short in its $12-million parish fundraising goal in 2009. At the same time Toronto area Catholic social service agencies have identified $800,000 in unfunded, unmet need locally.

“The advisory board of ShareLife felt we needed to focus on the social services here at home, given the economy we’ve been through,” Steinburg said.

Toronto’s contribution to Development and Peace will go to projects in Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Brazil, Honduras, Peru, Congo, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, the Philippines, East Timor and Pakistan.

Each of these was approved last year after receiving an endorsement letter from either a national bishops’ conference or the local bishop where the project is based.

Since all the projects approved last year spanned at least two years, new endorsements were unnecessary before releasing this year’s funding, said Steinburg. editor John Henry Westen called the continued use of letters of endorsement before Development and Peace funding is released “a very positive development.”

“It is what we had hoped would happen right at the beginning of the whole investigation we did into Development and Peace in the first place,” Westen said. hopes the Toronto protocol will be adopted nationally, said Westen.

“There are, as this venture shows, lots of good, pro-life Catholic groups to fund out there without having to resort to giving funding to groups that advocate for abortion and things that are against the teaching of the Church,” said Westen.

An investigation by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops last year found that none of the Mexican partners of Development and Peace had been involved in advocating for abortion.

Development and Peace was unable to comment for this story at press time.

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