Giving of one’s time, talent or treasure is perhaps one of the most selfless acts an individual can do. Because of that, Catholic Charities strives to ensure that its donors feel confident in supporting its mission and entrusting in the organization to provide help and create hope for those in need.
Dr. Mark Ashley has seen this first hand. He first became involved in Catholic Charities in the 1980s when he was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for a period of time. Today, he is the founder and President/CEO of Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS), which operates post-acute brain injury rehabilitation programs at facilities in Bakersfield, CA; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Fort Worth, TX; and Houston, TX.
“By all appearances, Catholic Charities in Bakersfield was held together by a prayer and a promise when I first became involved,” Dr. Ashley said. “Father Ralph was the glue to it all, along with a few dedicated staff members and some volunteers. It was ragtag at best, simply no frills anywhere. Everything was geared to helping the people who came through the door.”
Though much has changed since then, the organization remains dedicated to helping those in need before all else. In fact, recent audit findings confirmed that $0.90 of every dollar donated to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fresno goes directly to programs and services, which is a number often unheard of.
“The organization delivers such a high percentage of funds received in direct aid or support for the people who need it. I give to Catholic Charities because I believe it is the right thing to do. I don’t worry about where the money goes or how it is used because I have seen that process in action.”
With over 230,000 units of service completed throughout the diocese last year alone, Catholic Charities continues to approach the challenge of greater need and shrinking resources by using its mission as the cornerstone of their work. With programs ranging from a food pantry to a career & education Center, they’re focused on connecting families in crisis with all of the available resources for which they are eligible for.
“I believe Catholic Charities is one of the best kept secrets out there. Few people understand the breadth of its mission, the very simple ways it helps people every day or the potential to use Catholic Charities as a means to meeting our obligation to help the sick, the poor, the incarcerated, the less fortunate…”
Among all those served by the organization, there is one common theme: human need. Catholic Charities is a place where people can go when they feel they have nowhere else to turn, when they feel scared and alone and when they’ve lost all hope. So much more than assistance, clients leave grateful and working towards brighter future. Dr. Ashley recommends that others get involved to be a part of that.
“I would encourage others to volunteer, donate or both if at all possible. Financial support provides for the organization’s mission to be accomplished and it’s also soul mending to provide more of oneself to a cause through volunteerism.”
**Remember, Catholic Charities has three sites throughout the Diocese – Fresno, Merced and Bakersfield. Because each community is so special and dedicated to helping their neighbors in crisis, Catholic Charities guarantees that all gifts stay within the community to which they are given.