CLEVLAND, OH, July 5, 2001 (LSN.ca) - Pro-life U.S. Catholics were distressed on learning that the Cleveland Diocese donated $30,000 last year to an Ohio community organization affiliated with the National Abortion Rights Action League. Several Catholics had contacted the Diocese to protest last year’s funding. However, the diocesan newspaper, the Cleveland Catholic Universe Bulletin, reported June 22 that the Cleveland Diocese’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants for this year once again include $30,000 to the same organization - Organize! Ohio - Grassroots Leadership Development Program.

Organize! Ohio’s (OO) list of member organizations last year included the National Abortion Rights Action League of Ohio (NARAL). OO’s website described NARAL as “the political arm of the pro-choice movement in Ohio. (Whose) mission is to ensure every person’s right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices including preventing unintended pregnancies, bearing healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion.” While NARAL does not appear on OO’s member list this year, Kate Pilacky, Project Director for OO, told LifeSite that NARAL had not yet responded to OO to get placed on its list. Pilacky assured LifeSite that NARAL was definitely not off the list because of “any controversy going on with right-wing groups.”

OO’s mission, according to its website is “to build a system of support for community organizing by providing training, increasing communication, and advocating for resources to strengthen local organizing efforts around the state. The project also provides an avenue for local organizing groups to act on a statewide level on policy issues of common interest.” The training work has already benefited members of the “family planning” community in learning to acquire funds. Patricia Lynn Berger, Director of Client Services Family Planning Services of Lorain County, praised the OO’s program saying, “I feel the program helped me become a better leader of a well-established, thirty year old organization. I highly recommend this program to anyone who wishes to learn more about proposal writing and funding opportunities for non-profit organization.”

Calls to the Clevland Diocese were not returned by press time.

See the evidence for last year’s $30.000 donation on the USCCB website:  http://www.nccbuscc.org/cchd/99fund.htm#OH/

See Berger’s testimony:  http://www.grassroots-leadership.org/quote.html

See a current list of OO’s members:  http://www.organizeohio.org/memberorganizations.html

Cleveland’s Bishop Anthony Pilla (216) 696-6525 1-800-869-6525 Fax: (216) 621-7332   http://www.dioceseofcleveland.org/