Nonprofit Highlight: Catholic Community Services of Utah

Introduction:  Catholic Community Services of Utah (CCS or the Organization) is a remarkable organization that serves the Utah community in many ways.  From serving hot meals to helping refugees adjust to their new home, CCS does extraordinary work helping those in need.  

History: CCS was founded in 1945 by Most Reverend Duane G. Hunt as an agency affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City.  It began with adoption services, foster care, poverty assistance, and family counseling.  Since then, CCS has added many more programs to help people in the community.  CCS is a member of Catholic Charities USA, a network of charities that have a profound impact where they serve.

Impact: CCS has several great programs helping those in need, but I will highlight two.  First, CCS runs the excellent St. Vincent de Paul kitchen in downtown Salt Lake City, where I’ve volunteered several times.  The Dining Hall serves over 2,000 meals a day (two daily meals at the Dining Hall itself and two meals to six other Homeless Services Providers) to those in need, especially those who are homeless. Working in the kitchen, I’ve been able to see how well-organized that operation is, and the food that is served is always excellent. 

Second, CCS also has a strong refugee support program.  When Utah accepts refugees, CCS is one of two main organizations that works to help these people from around the world get settled in the valley.  Last month, CCS managed 858 refugee cases. These are people who often don’t know a lot of English and have been through challenging and traumatic experiences, so the assistance is greatly needed.

Financial Accountability and Insights:  The Organization has a Bronze Transparency 2023 award from Candid by Guidestar. CCS shows financial responsibility by obtaining an annual financial audit, and the financials are easily accessible on the Organization’s website, which shows a commitment to transparency.  The 6/30/2022 financial statements show $31.3M in total assets, $1.7M of which is held in cash.   While that may not seem like much financial cushion, CCS operates with no debt, a low level of liabilities, and earns a healthy profit (important for reinvesting into the cause). Annual revenue was $22.5M, which included $6.7M of in-kind donations (lots of non-cash donations to food pantries and other programs) and $6.9M from private donors.  CCS raised $500k from special events, one of which is its annual Empty Bowls fundraiser which I attended last year.  I loved seeing all of the beautiful, hand-crafted bowls available for purchase there.  Program expenses made up 91.3% of total expenses, which is great to see (though remember not to put too much emphasis on that metric).

The variety of programs run by CCS means there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and contribute.  Catholic Community Services of Utah – Become a Volunteer (ccsutah.org)

As an auditor at Tanner LLC, I’ve had the chance to be very involved in the nonprofit sector, and I am passionate about the world of charities, nonprofits, and philanthropy.