How did CRS come to be headquartered in Baltimore?

Ken Hackett’s daughter, Jenny, was born in the Philippines, and his son, Michael, in Kenya. Hackett and his wife, Joan, however, raised their family in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and sent their children to St. Louis School in Clarksville and then Mount de Sales Academy and Loyola Blakefield, respectively.

How was it that the agency he directs, Catholic Relief Services – and more than 360 of its employees – came to be headquartered in Baltimore?

Founded in 1943, CRS was headquartered in Manhattan until the mid-1980s.

“We had outgrown office space in New York,” Hackett explains. “Manhattan was fun, but we couldn’t afford to keep our staff living there. Somebody coming in from an overseas assignment, making $40,000 a year, couldn’t afford an apartment.

“We looked at Baltimore being the Primal See of the church in America, the convenience of BWI Airport, and being close to D.C. and the bishops conference (the USCCB). We’ve got a user-friendly space, and we’re very happy in Baltimore.”

Hackett is now a parishioner of Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.