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New Catholic Charities WM CEO named

Photo: Kathleen Allen, new CEO of CCWM, April 2017April 19, 2017

Attorney Kathleen Allen named Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities West Michigan

Grand Rapids, Mich.- Kathleen M. Allen, an attorney with a long history of working with the disadvantaged and in family law, has been named the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Catholic Charities West Michigan (CCWM).
Allen, who has been serving as vice chair of the nonprofit human service agency’s board of directors, is currently a staff attorney for Legal Aid of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids and will begin her new duties on May 1. Pamela Cohn Hammer, CCWM’s chief operating officer, has been acting as interim president and CEO.
Juan Salazar, chair of the CCWM board, said: “I know Kathleen very well and know that she will bring the needed expertise and energy to the highly challenging job of leading this agency in the years ahead.”
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, welcomed Allen to the position. “Catholic Charities West Michigan is a vital organization which allows us to live out the call of Christ to care for the poor, clothe the needy, and feed the hungry throughout the 11 counties we serve,” he said. “I welcome Kathleen and look forward to partnering with her, the Catholic Charities Board of Directors, and staff to continue to serve the community in a compassionate way.”
Allen, who has a bachelor of arts degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Valparaiso School of Law in Valparaiso, Ind. said: “My more than 20 years of practicing as a Legal Aid of Western Michigan attorney gave me the opportunity to serve, one on one, many area vulnerable poor and low income persons and families.”
Prior to beginning work at Legal Aid of Western Michigan in 1997, Allen was affiliated with three Grand Rapids law firms as a law clerk and associate. Former President and CEO Terry Walsh left the agency in July 2016.

About Catholic Charities West Michigan

For seven decades, Catholic Charities West Michigan has been feeding the hungry, counseling those who struggle and building strong families. Through a broad spectrum of social service programs focused on the needs of children and families, CCWM serves residents of 11 counties in West Michigan. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, CCWM has more than 275 employees who work from 11 locations and last year touched the lives of more than 21,000 individuals from Traverse City to Holland and points in between. CCWM operates the God’s Kitchen meal site on Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids and a food pantry on Third Street in Muskegon. For more information, visit


Annalise Laumeyer, director of communications
Phone: 616-551-5629 | 616-307-3474 cell