The Solidarity Fund

A call to action to support immigrant & social justice groups
defunded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Make an online donation to the Solidarity Fund

The Solidarity Fund was established by a group of Chicago and national foundations to provide support to local groups whose work is grounded in advancing social justice, racial equity and immigrant rights, and who recently lost funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), an arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. CCHD based its decision to defund these groups on their membership in a coalition of advocates for immigration fairness and reform, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), which in May 2013 expressed support for marriage equality in Illinois. Gay marriage was signed into law in Illnois in November of 2013.

Make an online donation to the Solidarity Fund

 ICIRR’s public support of marriage equality states:

”As an organization dedicated to the full inclusion of all Americans, whether foreign-born or native-born, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights supports marriage equality.  ICIRR believes that full equality and civic participation should extend to recognition of all families, including those involving same-sex partnerships.  Such recognition should extend to our immigration laws, our family laws, and to other areas of law that affect our families.  While we recognize that there are differences of opinion within immigrant and faith-based communities regarding same-sex marriages, including among our members, the majority of our members - and therefore our organization - believe that a full respect for our state’s and our nation’s diversity demands that we not discriminate based on whom we love, and that we call upon an end to such discrimination in our local, state, and federal laws.

Immediately after this statement was released, the Chicago CCHD office contacted several ICIRR members receiving funding and were asked to disassociate themselves from ICIRR which it views as holding a position contrary to Roman Catholic doctrine…or lose their grant money. These organizations, however, do not directly advocate for marriage equality or for LGBT communities.  Nevertheless, the groups have been penalized by CCHD simply because of “guilt by association.”

A majority of these groups have chosen to remain members of ICIRR.  We believe that they have taken this stand because to do otherwise would betray their values and standing as advocates for social justice.  Furthermore, advancing immigrant rights is not done in a vacuum and ICIRR is a significant ally in the pursuit of their mission.

Many prominent members of the local Catholic community have publicly asked leaders of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago to reverse their decision to punish immigrants and the groups that serve them because of their coalition’s support for marriage equality in Illinois.  Despite public pleas from these concerned citizens, CCHD discontinued funding to a group of ICIRR members that chose to stand with ICIRR.

CCHD’s action has created significant gaps in the budgets of these organizations and threatens the progress of their work.  In some instances, this threatens the very viability of the organizations themselves.

The need to support these organizations is critical.  We urge you to make a generous contribution to this fund so that these groups may continue to advance their work grounded in the pursuit of social justice. Make a secure, online donation today.

Press Coverage of the Solidarity Fund:

Chicago Sun-Times - Progressive charities to help groups Catholics penalized over gay marriage

Chicago Tribune - Groups lose nearly $300,000 from Catholic charity over gay marriage issue

National Catholic Reporter - Chicago charities work to fill gap left by loss of bishops' funding

Windy City Times - Foundations to support groups denied Catholic Campaign funding

Why give to The Solidarity Fund:

The initial fundraising goal is $300,000, the approximate aggregate amount of funding that was withheld by CCHD from these social justice groups for this first year alone.

Many of these groups have received CCHD funding for a number of years and the very sudden loss of this money has created severe financial strains on them.  With CCHD no longer a viable source of funding, these groups must now look to other supporters to help them advance their work now and into the future.

Funders who have contributed to this fund (as of October, 2013):

  • Alphawood Foundation Chicago
  • Chicago Foundation for Women
  • Crossroads Fund
  • Gill Foundation
  • May Fund
  • Pierce Family Foundation
  • Woods Fund of Chicago
  • Individual Donors

For further information about The Solidarity Fund and affected organizations, please contact Jane Kimondo at