Giving supports refugee resettlement and support

Dear Friends,

As a friend of the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC), you know that our refugee and immigrant neighbors are finding valuable connections at CMC. But did you know that last year, 260 refugees made Eastern Iowa their home with the Center’s help? These neighbors who have experienced untold violence in their lives now have housing, medical care, education, and employment right here in our community.

While this is something to celebrate, recent federal changes and executive orders threaten the ability of some of our newest neighbors to reunite with family members who are still living abroad in refugee camps.

  • A recent executive order allowing states and municipalities to opt out of resettlement continues to create a culture of mistrust and can send a message that refugees are not welcome in our communities.
  • No more than 18,000 refugees will be admitted to the U.S. this year, down from 110,000 in 2017. This is an all-time low in the history of refugee resettlement in the U.S.
  • A week-by-week moratorium on all refugee resettlement in late 2019 meant CMC went without resettlement revenue for nearly three months.
  • The recent expansion of the 2017 travel ban restricts immigrant visas for individuals from six additional countries, preventing some clients at CMC from reuniting with their families.

Mother and child reunited

In the face of this unpredictability and uncertainty, individual giving is more important than ever. Will you take a stand for the dignity of our neighbors, here and abroad, and give?

While changes to the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program are out of our control, you can bolster the educational and supportive services available to all CMC clients—refugees, immigrants, adult learners, and women experiencing crisis. Together, we can work together for an inclusive community in these volatile times.

With hope,

Give button

Paula Land signature

Paula Land
Executive Director

P.S.  Setting up a monthly gift offers hope and opportunity to our neighbors all year long.

100+ Corridor Women Who Care- about CMC!


We are very excited to announce that the Catherine McAuley Center has received a generous donation from the 100+ Corridor Women Who Care organization. 100+ Corridor Women is an organization of women who support the growth of our local community by pooling resources to make focused, effective contributions to local charities. The mission is to bring together 100 or more women, each willing to contribute $100 four times a year to help the community and local charities.

The generous donation on behalf of 100+ Corridor Women Who Care will go to support the needs of the growing Adult Basic Education program, which proudly serves more than 400 adult learners who are working hard to brighten their outlook for the future by learning English, studying for the U.S. citizenship exam, or improving other basic academic skills. Many thanks to Kim Hillyard, CMC board member and volunteer tutor, for sharing about the CMC mission with the 100 Plus Corridor Women Who Care!

Because we were selected as the beneficiary of this quarter’s 100+ gifts, CMC will receive 40% of proceeds of the products sold through the 100+ Corridor Women’s One Mission fundraising campaign!  One Mission is a local business based in Mount Vernon devoted to “changing the world, one mission at a time”. Browse their online shop for soaps, candles, graphic prints, apparel, home décor and more—and be sure to click “Support this Cause” on the 100+ Corridor Women Who Care page so that your purchase benefits the students of the Adult Basic Education program!

one mission

Emma, 10, Donates Birthday Money to CMC

Emma McCormick

The Catherine McAuley Center thrives on the graciousness of our community who contribute to our mission through volunteerism and donations.This month we were surprised by a young lady who is a CMC volunteer and, now, a donor– and she’s just 10 years old!

What did you ask for on your 10th birthday?

Thank You, Emma!

Emma McCormick volunteered in the CMC food pantry with her mom and the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls in January. She thought so much of her experience that she wanted to do more, but a 9 year old has limited resources.  Of course, that didn’t stop her. When Emma’s 10th birthday rolled around, she made a big decision. Instead of asking for gifts, she asked her friends and family to donate money.

All together, she received $130. A girl could do a lot with that much money, but chose not to buy anything for herself. Emma donated the money she received to the Catherine McAuley Center!

The Catherine McAuley Center can purchase half a month's worth of food (600 pounds!) with the money she donated.

The Catherine McAuley Center can purchase half a month’s worth of food (600 pounds!) with the money she donated.

We get far more than a financial benefit from her gift. Emma demonstrates the kind of empathy and advocacy that are necessary to help us keep doing what we do. She saw a need, found a way to help and through her efforts more people learned about our mission.

CMC staff celebrate with Emma.

CMC staff celebrate with Emma.

We transform lives by building, embracing and serving our community. As Emma clearly knows, we can only do it together.

Thank you, Emma!

Alternative Gift Market Offers Unique Gift Opportunities for this Giving Season.

Do you struggle to come up with a holiday gift for the person who has everything?

Every gift buyer worries that the gift they give might not be useful or appreciated. At the Alternative Gift Market, relieve the stress of gift buying and hit the mark every time. Shop at the Alternative Gift Market at Echo Hill Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 Pay it forward.

You’ll be able to choose unique gifts for those in need locally and around the world. The people on your list will receive a card notifying them of your gift. They will be honored to know you carefully selected a gift in their honor that will make the world a better place.

Gift buyers browse handmade jewelry by Empowered Designs

Empowered Designs (a small business created and operated by the women of the Catherine McAuley Center) will be offering handmade bracelets, lanyards, and buttons.

  “The Alternative Gift Market is a wonderful opportunity to look beyond our own lives at this time of year. Each year my friend Sandy Ashley and I purchase our Christmas gift for each other at the Alternative Gift Market.  One year we bought a wheel chair made out of a plastic lawn chair and another year we decided to purchase a bicycle for a woman in Tanzania—she will use it to carry firewood and supplies in her Village.  Of course we will never see these gifts, but we know in our hearts that we have tried to help someone else in need, at least in this small way.  It’s the best Christmas present I receive each year.” -frequent shopper Vicki Hughes 

Help those in need build a better future for themselves and their families.

  • A bicycle for African medical workers
  • Books for school children in Nicaragua
  • Blocks to build permanent homes in Haiti
  • Solar heating panels for tribal families in southwestern United States
  •  Chickens or goats to sustain a family in many rural parts of the world
  • Food for a month for a local family in need.
  • Blankets, nights of shelter, medical care and disaster relief to those right here Linn County

Join us at the Alternative Gift Market December 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Celebrating 15 years of raising nearly $270,000 for thousands of people locally and around the world.

 Where: Echo Hill Presbyterian Church is located at 9000 C Avenue NE—north of Robbins Road and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. There will be ample free parking and lots of open shopping space inside the church.

Lunch:  From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., enjoy loose meat sandwiches and vegetarian vegetable soup.

Other gift offerings:

  • Bake Sale: Enjoy yummy goodies donated from talented local bakers.
  • The SERRV Store from the Ecumenical Community Center will be offering a variety of handmade gifts and Divine chocolate bars.