Catholic Charities is a worldwide network of charities whose aim is to "reduce poverty, support families, and empower communities." It is one of the largest and most respected charities. Catholic Charities traces its origin to an orphanage founded in 1727 in New Orleans, Louisiana by the French Ursulines Sisters.
Catholic Charities, USA (CCUSA), with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, is recognized as one of the nation's largest voluntary social service networks. It was founded in 1910 as the National Conference of Catholic Charities. More than 1,400 agencies, institutions and organizations make up the Catholic Charities network - including individual organizations of the dioceses, such as the Archdiocese of Chicago. Nearly 90 cents of every dollar donated to Catholic Charities agencies goes directly to programs and services.
Together, with the local, diocesan Catholic Charities affiliates, Catholic Charities is the second largest social service provider in the United States and it is only surpassed by the US Federal Government. Often, this means that the CCUSA network is able to provide assistance which other agencies are simply unable to provide or in circumstances where the other assistance is insufficient to provide the necessary aid.