real community impact

fighting the cycle of poverty & violence

. . . all at once . . .

  • youth programs

  • violence prevention

  • tutoring

  • leadership development

  • health

  • housing

  • scholarships

  • job & life skills

  • schools

a powerful why.

Community Development in high-poverty urban neighborhoods.

  • trust of the people

    The Claretian Initiative (tCI) programs directly impact the people . . . the children, the teens, the families, the elders, the community. The Claretians have the trust of the people and they live in the communities as neighbors.

  • 95%

    Our outreach is real and effective. Claretian Initiative programs are unique because they’re designed in recognition of the layers of harsh realities the people face daily. 95% of every donation goes directly to the programs in the neighborhoods.

  • choose the impact

    Your donation goes further. Our programs address multiple issues simultaneously. Every donation improves lives on multiple levels. You choose. Direct your impact . . . be specific or general, both matter!

a powerful what.

holistic Community Development . . . improving multiple issues at a time.

what's unique about our programs

  • Multiple issues are impacted with each program.

  • Programs are designed to fit the culture of the community and to inspire the people’s commitment to a better reality.

  • Claretians are part of the ongoing community leadership 24/7.

  • The Claretian Initiative program network targets sustained change, developing leadership from within the community to build positive futures—replacing the cycle of violence with a cycle of growth and a culture of achievement.

  • The network builds safe neighborhoods where people can live with dignity amid urban challenges.

Little by little, the change is real.

Impact Blog

who we are.

The Claretian Initiative (tCI) is a network of Community Development programs in high-poverty urban neighborhoods in the U.S. Its impact is positive, ongoing change through youth development, violence prevention, tutoring, sports, and arts initiatives.

The Claretians are a congregation of Catholic priests and brothers committed 
to social justice who work to improve people’s lives by addressing the very 
real secular problems of their communities.  The Claretians live in the communities as neighbors.  They are trusted because they work with the people—developing programs to address immediate needs while also building healthier communities. The Claretian Initiative’s programs break generational cycles of poverty and violence—enabling immediate relief while also building sustained change.

The Claretians established the St. Jude League in 1929 to be a nonprofit organization of non-Claretian teams committed to expanding the Claretian programs of hope and change.  The League has a long history of effective, audited financial management of donated funds.  Its teams remain engaged in the outreach to the communities through the openness of the Claretians.  The League maintains the management of all donations to the Claretian Initiative to ensure each reaches the donor’s designation.


  • 1902


    The first Claretians come to the United States from Spain at the invitation of the bishop of San Antonio, TX, which became their first U.S. community.

  • 1908


    The Claretians arrive at San Gabriel Mission, the mother of California Missions, which was founded in 1771.

  • 1924


    To minister to the families working in the steel mills, the Claretians come to Chicago, build a new church, and establish the National Shrine of St. Jude.

  • 1929


    The St. Jude League is founded by the Claretians to support their programs for the urban poor through outreach and resources.

  • 1950s


    The Chicago Police form their CPD St. Jude League from 1932-81. Claretians serve as chaplains. Fr. Pat McPolin (shown here) served from 1943-1965.

  • 1960s


    Danny Thomas leads annual events to raise support for the Claretians in the 50s and 60s. Famous stars and politicians, including the mayor, attend.

  • 1977


    Fr. Jim Maloney presides as the Claretian Medical Center opens, providing quality healthcare for medically underserved, poor families.

  • 1978


    The Claretians form Claretian Associates, which continues to offer affordable, safe housing in South Chicago.

  • 1978-2


    The Claretians start Little Ones Preschool in Georgia. Many of the students today are refugees, coming from as many as 12 countries. 

Image Credits: 1902-1977 are ©Claretian Missionaries---U.S.A. Province, Archives; 1978a is ©Claretian Associates; 1978b is ©Corpus Christi Parish.

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