Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio was created in 1916 by Archbishop Henry Moeller as the Bureau of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Catholic Charities was created as a result of duplication of the numerous Catholic agencies in service in Cincinnati. Based on the Catholic Charities model established in other dioceses, the Bureau focused on immediate relief work and served as the clearing house for those needing charitable aid. The Bureau received applications for aid and assigned them to the appropriate organization. The first location was at 107 West Ninth Street in downtown Cincinnati and the first director was Fr. Francis Gressle.
The Bureau became incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in February 1924.
A Dayton branch office was established in 1921. Other branches were developed to serve the 19 counties of the Archdiocese, including Hamilton in 1954 and Springfield in 1957.
In 1967, the service area for the Archdiocese was officially split between Cincinnati and Dayton. Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley was incorporated and took responsibility for the northern part of the Archdiocese, while Catholic Charities maintained responsibility for the southern part. In the 1970s, the Springfield region was transferred to Catholic Charities.
The agency has undergone several name changes in its history. In 1931. the agency changed its name to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In 1976, the agency adopted the name of Catholic Social Services of Southwest Ohio. In 2008, the agency again took the Catholic Charities name as Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio.
Catholic Charities has provided a broad range of services since its inception.
In the early years, the staff worked closely with St. Vincent DePaul volunteers in providing material assistance for the poor and providing services for immigrant families coming to the new world. The agency moved from that foundation and started programs to meet new needs of society, while discontinuing some programs that had outlived their need.
Catholic Charities’ services have always been open and available to people of all faiths. One of our favorite sayings is that “we don’t serve you because you are Catholic; we serve you because we are.”
We are proud of the hundreds of thousands of people served in our almost 100 years of existence. Catholic Charities has stayed true to the vision set out by Archbishop Moeller and Fr. Gressle. From the children who have been adopted, to the families fed, to the vulnerable who have experienced the hope of a better tomorrow, Catholic Charities has always been there to enlighten, serve and empower.