Launch of the Lab for Economic Opportunities


Leadership from Catholic Charities USA and leading researchers from the University of Notre Dame took the stage at the Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering in St. Louis, Missouri to announce a joint partnership. These two preeminent Catholic institutions have formed the Lab for Economic Opportunities, which is dedicated to helping those in need through research.

The Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) is an unprecedented collaboration between academics and practitioners, bringing together researchers from leading academic institutions with one of the nation’s largest networks of social service providers. 

Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, and Professors William Evans and James Sullivan from the University of Notre Dame, first announced the Lab to Diocesan Directors of Catholic Charities agencies. They emphasized how LEO will serve as a vehicle for service providers and academics to exchange ideas about evaluating the impact of innovative programs and improving program design. Evans and Sullivan explained current research initiatives, and invited Diocesan Directors to partner with LEO. Slides from their presentation are available here.

LEO brings academic researchers and practitioners together to design program evaluations, which identify best practices in poverty relief services across the Catholic Charities network. This is unlike any other research network in the country.

Please see our Service Providers page for more information on how local agencies can work with the Lab. Agencies are encouraged to submit an innovative program for consideration to our "Call for Evaluation Partnerships." More details about the Annual Gathering are also available.