New Name . . . Same Great Agency

We are pleased to announce that, as of June 1, 2012, Catholic Family Services will begin doing business as (dba) “Catholic Charities, Diocese of Kalamazoo.”   We’ve been known as Catholic Family Services since 1975 and have been serving our community in some form since 1915.  We’ve got a strong history, a good reputation, and a great community of supporters.  So why the change?

First of all, we want you to know that this something we’ve put great thought in to, not a “spur of the moment decision.”  A name is more than just a few words . . . it’s an identity, a brand, and a representation of the organization within the community.  It’s typically the first thing people know about an organization — and it should tell the community what that organization is about.

We’ve been testing the new name with our board, stakeholders, and others for quite some time and have received very positive feedback.  If this is the first time you are hearing about the new name (and even if it’s not), we’d love to know what you think about the new name.  We are still the same great agency serving our community with compassion, care, and concern for justice.

In short, there are four main reasons to explain why we are making the change:

  • to build community awareness and prepare for future growth of our agency and its programs and services, which have expanded in scope, not only reaching families but also into the life of the broader community
  • to distinguish our agency from others with names that are similar to “family services” and to include in our name the sponsor and service area, the Diocese of Kalamazoo
  • to recognize our affiliation with the known and respected national association of Catholic social service providers, Catholic Charities USA
  • to connect our mission and our works to the virtue of charity, the love for all people

Some of the intial feedback expressed concern with the word “charity.”  We want to be clear in our understanding of the word, which has its roots and meaning in “love.”  In short, we do what we do out of love.  Our donors, volunteers, stakeholders, and partners join us (and bless us) in this Mission, serving others out of love.  The Bible speaks of “faith, hope, and love (charity).”  Christians recognize these as virtues to be practiced to grow closer to God.  Catholic Charities is an expression of our love (caritas), an opportunity for Catholics and others to develop the habitual and firm disposition to do good works and love our neighbors.

We hope the new name will increase the community’s awareness of our agency and inspire all people to join us in building a community that supports the human dignity of each person.

We invite you to join us at a Name Change Reception at the Kalamazoo Institue of Arts on May 1 from 4 PM to 6 PM.  If you are interested in attending or would like more information, please contact Ellie Clark at 269-381-9800 or via e-mail at


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