Catholic Charities CEO to Retire in April: Bergh’s Tenure Brought Program Expansion and New Services
by Eileen Connelly, OSU
When Ted Bergh retires from his position as CEO of Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio (CCSWO) on April 3, he will do so knowing he responded to God’s call, along with making an indelible impact on the lives of those experiencing poverty.
Bergh, who ministered with Catholic Charities for eight years, came to the organization after serving as CFO of The Cincinnati Enquirer, CFO of SORTA (Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority), and interim executive director of Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority.
The position was a perfect fit for Bergh. “I found my calling,” he explained. “I’d done financial things for my whole career and brought those skills with me to a role that has enabled me
to welcome the stranger, work with the poor, and serve local families. It seems like God put me here to use my skills.”
And use them he did. During Bergh’s tenure at Catholic Charities, existing services combined or expanded and new programs developed. A major change for the agency was the relocation of Catholic Charities’ main office to Bond Hill/Roselawn after 99 years in downtown Cincinnati.
“Our client base had changed, so we moved and consolidated four offices into one location to improve efficiency,” Bergh said. “We took the opportunity to remove barriers between programs and
to focus multiple services on the needs of families being served.”
Over the years, the Su Casa Hispanic Center, Refugee Resettlement, Legal Immigration Services and Accuracy Now Language Services have grown to make Catholic Charities the largest provider
of immigration services in the region. Services include emergency case management, English and Spanish language classes, healthcare screenings and referrals to providers, job and career skill development, and tutoring and student summer enrichment.
In 2016, CCSWO celebrated its centennial, 100 Years of Mercy, by honoring 100 Champions of Mercy at an anniversary gala. Champions of Mercy, such as parishes and faith communities and individuals continue to be recognized annually, Bergh said.
Last year, he said, the agency partnered with 80 parishes on subjects “that need to be talked about,” specifically immigration, racism, mental health, hunger and care for God’s creation. “We’re trying to work with parishes on serving the poor so they don’t have to start from scratch.”
With an increase in funding from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign, CCSWO followed Pope Francis’ initiative in 2016 and began a Catholic Charities CEO to Retire in April Bergh’s Tenure Brought Program Expansion and New Services local Food for All program to deliver food in rural and urban food desserts in the archdiocese. “We hadn’t been doing adequately in the five eastern counties: Clermont Clinton, Highland, Brown and Adams,” Bergh acknowledged.
In collaboration with various local social service agencies and parishes, CCSWO now travels to these counties monthly and sets up a food pantry for the day. Food is both purchased from and donated by the Freestore Food Bank, with dedicated volunteers setting up for distribution at each site, serving an average of 100-150 people. In 2019, some 250,000 meals were distributed in
the five counties.
Joel Handorf, Catholic Charities board chair, said of Bergh, “He was the right person with many talents that advanced the mission of Catholic Charities and implemented change to continue to expand and strengthen the mission.”
“I’m just at a loss for words,” Bergh said, reflecting on his time with Catholic Charities. “The experience of working with our volunteers, staff and local families has been a real blessing. I
felt like I was doing good, doing God’s work. I know the committed Catholic Charities team will continue to expand and strengthen the mission.”
“My plan is to continue to stay engaged in immigration issues and care for creation, where I can encounter people to serve and promote justice,” said Bergh. “There are plenty of opportunities around the archdiocese to do that.”