Monsignor Thomas F Collins in 1954
Monsignor Thomas F Collins in 1954

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada began in 1941, Bishop Thomas K. Gorman acknowledged the need for a social service organization that would benefit Nevada.  He assigned Father Thomas F. Collins as the first diocesan director of the Catholic Welfare Program.  Through boundless efforts and dedication, Father Collins organized programs for the homeless and needy, family programs, adoption services, special legislation and provided services to the United Service Organization (USO).  By 1945, the agency was incorporated under Nevada statutes and acquired a nonprofit status under the name of Nevada Catholic Welfare Bureau.  The agency was known as Catholic Community Services of Nevada
until 1995.

As the southern Nevada community began to grow, so did the need for additional programs and services for our residents.  The 1960s were a time of development for the thrift stores, a child care center and the St. Vincent Dining Facility.  During the 1970s and 1980s the population growth doubled requiring programs for senior citizens, refugee and immigration services, a home for girls in crisis, an emergency shelter, a work program for homeless men and an employment services center.  In 1985, Catholic Charities acquired the Vegas Valley Shopping Center (St. Vincent Plaza) to accommodate the expanding agency.

In 1995, the name Catholic Community Services of Nevada was changed to Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, reflecting our outreach to Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Nye, and White Pine counties. The southern Nevada population had tripled to more than 700,000 residents.  As more seniors migrated to southern Nevada, so did the need for additional services, Respite Care and Supportive Services, Marian Residence for Senior Women, Crossroads Transitional Housing for Senior Men, and Telephone Reassurance were founded.  In addition, the Social Ministry program was established to provide assistance to outreach programs and the community through resources and program development.

A Time To Rebuild
Catholic Charities began the process of a five-year plan to rebuild St. Vincent Plaza in 1996.  With the help of a $2.5 million grant from the Lied Foundation, the new St. Vincent Lied Dining Facility was completed and a $1.5 million grant from the Fertitta Foundation built the Fertitta Community Assistance Center.  In 1998, a 120 room apartment building for individual residents was finished through a partnership with New York based HELP USA and a $2.7 million HUD Grant.  The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation provided a grant for $10.4 million, to rebuild additional structures for Social Services, Migration and Refugee Services and Immigration Services, Employment Services Program, Crossroads Transitional Housing for Senior Men, The Resident Work Program and the Administration offices.  By the end of 2001, the construction of the new Catholic Charities Donald W. Reynolds St. Vincent Plaza was complete.

Twenty First Century and beyond…

Today, the Las Vegas valley population has now grown to 2.6 million residents and counting.  Once again we’ve added necessary programs to accommodate the needs of our community.  Community Food Pantry, Women, Infant and Children (WIC), Tenant Based Rental Assistance, Foster Grandparent, Senior Services Medical Nutrition Therapy and Senior Medication Programs have been created to better serve our clients.

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada continues to be one of the largest private nonprofit social service providers in the state, offering the most comprehensive range of human services.  Catholic Charities diverse social service programs are designed to help people from infants to seniors.  Catholic Charities strives toward attaining the goal of each individual who is seeking help to gain self-sufficiency and independence with dignity.

In order to promote our mission, Catholic Charities employs more than 230 full and part-time employees and utilizes volunteers whenever possible.  With their generous gift of time, volunteers enable Catholic Charities to help more people.  By blending the help of the government and benevolence of the community, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada will continue vigilant planning and vision
as it has done for the past eight decades.