Catholic Charities provides and advocates for the physical, emotional, and social needs of the poor and vulnerable in the four counties of the Diocese of Gary.
Through its three area offices and the central administrative office, the agency reaches out to a population of about 735,000 persons with very diverse racial and ethnic characteristics, occupations, experiences and income status.
Established in 1937 as an official activity of the Diocese of Fort Wayne, Catholic Charities has continued as part of the Diocese of Gary since 1957. The original purpose was to serve the poor and needy through an agency that would meet the professional standards of Social Work. Through the early years the emphasis was on child welfare services.
Monsignor W. Edward Sweigart first organized the agency and served as Diocesan Director until his retirement. Monsignor Joseph Semancik began working with Catholic Charities as Executive Secretary in 1960, was appointed Diocesan Director in 1962, and served in that capacity for the next 36 years. Michael Husted was hired as the Diocesan Director following Msgr. Semancik's retirement and provided leadership during the next two years. Kenneth M. Flanagan, Ph.D. served as Diocesan Director from 2000 – 2007. Sister Barbara Sable, SS.C.M. worked as interim Director from December 2007 until September 2008 when Sister of Charity, Jean Augustine, MBA, MSW, ACSW assumed the position of Executive Director for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Gary, Inc. Duane W. Dedelow, Jr. was appointed by the Board of Trustees as the agency's Executive Director in January 2011. In June 2014, Ed Verbeke was named Interim Executive Director. In November 2014, Jennifer Dyer was named Executive Director.
During the past 75 years, Catholic Charities continues to broaden its base of programming and shift its emphasis depending on the needs of the community. Counseling, volunteer programs, programs for the elderly and family life ministry have developed in recent years in addition to material aid to the poor.
The effectiveness of Catholic Charities is derived from the dedication of its staff, board members, volunteers and donors.
Focus is on individuals and families who are at the edge between poverty and basic subsistence level and/or those who are marginalized in our society and community, and can encompass more than the financial situation. Services are provided to those who need support in order to move above their current situation.
Catholic Charities USA, since its founding in 1910, has always seen as part of its mission the importance of advocating...speaking out for...writing in support of...making recommendations to governmental agencies. This activity, integral to Catholic Charities, urges attention and resolution to the needs of the poor. Catholic Charities, Diocese of Gary carries on this vital effort as we call, not just for funding for the services we provide, but for programs that help poor people directly - Social Security, housing subsidies, and food stamps. Advocacy may take a number of other forms including community organizing, supporting or opposing proposed legislation, and urging changes in governmental policies that may affect the poor either positively or negatively. We, at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Gary, cooperate with the US Catholic Bishops in fulfilling our political responsibilities in conjunction with the Social Justice Agenda of the Church.
Catholic Charities has a commitment to ensure the highest quality service. In response to this we have established a Performance Quality Improvement (PQI) process to assess and improve the performance of programs and services and meet standards that promote excellence within Catholic Charities. The PQI Committee is comprised of staff, board, volunteers, and diocesan representatives who meet on a quarterly basis. In an ongoing effort to support and improve Catholic Charities you are encouraged to share any concerns, feedback, or recommendations with the PQI Committee regarding the agency. You may do so by emailing Kay Hosmer.