August Virtual Coffee

Dear Friends,
I wish I could sit down in person with you, have a cup of coffee, share our progress in serving the marginalized, and hear what we could be doing differently or better. Until then, I’d like to introduce you to a Virtual Cup of Coffee. This is my new monthly communique about the business and mission moments of Catholic Charities. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to your feedback.
All my best,



In 2014, Catholic Charities of the East Bay decided to seek accreditation through the Council on Accreditation or COA, a human services organization that has accredited over 2,000 social service organizations to improve and maintain high standards of care delivered to clients.
Our goal is to become accredited in 2017.
So why do this? Well…the benefits are many. For Catholic Charities, it builds a strong infrastructure supporting excellence in performance, accountability in management, and implementation of best practices.
For clients, it reflects a commitment to high quality services, positive outcomes, and well-trained staff who meet client needs.
For donors and grantors, it confirms we are efficient and have sound financial and risk management practices in place.
For the board of directors, it ensures that fiduciary responsibility and ethics are in practice; and that performance, quality improvement and strategic planning are in place.
Lastly, for staff it improves morale by knowing all of the above are occurring and we’re promoting excellence in everything we do.
COA is scheduled to conduct their review of Catholic Charities in February 2017. Our COA team, led by Kathryn Lee, Director of Data Analytics and Quality Improvement, is making sure everything will be ready for review: files, policies, procedures, reports, plans, and interviews with clients, staff, board, and community leaders.
We will be ready.


In 2017, we are opening Claire’s House, a 6-12 bed home for young girls who have been trafficked for sex. It’s desperately needed. Of the estimated thousands of children who are trafficked every year, fewer than 500 beds are available when they’re able to leave the streets, and fewer than 40 of those beds are in California.
I recently returned from a five-day training on sex trafficking: what it is, its extent across the nation, and the complexities in counseling these children whose lives have been shaken by abuse, trauma, and exploitation.
Case management will be a big part of our counseling process. Professionally licensed staff will assess multiple needs, coordinate care, monitor progress, and advocate for their rights, as many are not able to speak up on behalf of their own needs.
Case management is difficult stuff. The girls are deeply wounded and don’t know what a “safe place” is and who they can trust. Most have not experienced real love. As I listened to the training instructors, I realized that working with these victims will take lots of time. Author and Catholic priest Father Gregory Boyle calls case management “the slow work of God.”