Light of Hope Fund/Helping Our Neighbors


12/16/2021 The Importance of Living Your Mission

Bringing hope to life. That is our mission statement here at Catholic Charities. Actually, that’s only part of the mission. The full mission is Motivated by Christ’s love, we bring hope to life, especially for those most in need.

Some may be concerned that a mission statement rooted in faith could impede attracting employees outside that faith, but we’ve found being true to who we are as an organization has appealed to employees who want to make a difference—regardless of their faith background.

“We are definitely tied to Catholic social teachings while at the same time, serving anyone regardless of gender, faith, background, or religion. We are here to serve those most in need,” says Manuel Villafan, Chief Operating Officer here at Catholic Charities. “When we say we live our mission to bring hope to the lives of those most in need, that includes how we approach our employees. We look at our staff, at what different needs they may have, and try to be as responsive as we can with flexible schedules, opportunities for growth, and support around education—encouraging people to develop themselves. We are really fostering that kind of a culture.”

It’s that commitment to the mission—even for employees—that attracted Laura Dow, a kinship navigator at the Catholic Charities office in Richland.

“When I first applied at Catholic Charities, it was a concern of mine that I wasn't Catholic, and I wanted to be sure that the community I would be working with wouldn't be limited to just the Catholic community,” says Dow. “That is exactly what I have found here. We serve people of all faiths, and that's not a barrier to the services that we provide. I am not Catholic, but I do feel very welcomed here. I feel very supported here.”

But more than just feeling supported, Dow says that working for an organization structured around charity keeps employees focused on what matters most.

“I enjoy working for a Catholic agency because there's a greater purpose to the work that we do, and I think that is what grounds all of us in our purpose. I love the fact that this is an organization that is so people-centered and so community-centered. Working here at Catholic Charities offers real, tangible resources for families in need.”

Villafan says that commitment to the mission not only attracts employees, but also sustains and retains them.

“We have individuals come in every day just to see what we're about, not even as employees, but as volunteers, and then because of the culture, they stay. We have employees that have been with us for 40 years—their entire careers,” says Villafan. “They see the support, the benefits of the services we deliver, and the impact we have on those that are most in need. They get to make tangible differences in people’s lives—every day.”

Villafan says a job at Catholic Charities is working to bring hope to others and that is a career benefit that is hard to quantify.

“I think human kindness is natural to everybody. So a job at Catholic Charities is really being yourself. It's being able to act out those acts of kindness that bring you joy. We've all experienced that. You don't get that everywhere. You don't get that in a for-profit and you don't get that necessarily in all non-profits. But our work is so structured around the needs of our clients. When you visit our facilities and talk to our employees, most of them will reflect on that one story within their work in our organization that really impacted them and that's kept them here. I believe it's a place where you can come and be yourself, be that kind of human being we all are at heart, and take joy out of seeing what our kindness and our mission can produce.”

If you or someone you know is looking for a new or different career opportunity that allows you to give back to our local communities, check out openings now on our careers page.