The annual Catholic Multicultural Center Radiothon hosted by La Movida Radio

The Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) annual Radiothon Community Celebration & Fundraiser commemorated the 10th anniversary of their reopening on Dec. 13.

“More than raising money, it just builds community. It’s sort of a way to get together and have a fun time,” CMC Director Andy Russell said.

The seven-hour fundraising event staffed by those who work for the center and volunteers annually brings together members of the community for food, performances, community resource tables and family fun. Listeners tuned into the live broadcast on La Movida Spanish radio, who host the Radiothon.  

Singer-songwriters Angela Puerta performs at the Radiothon Dec. 13.
(Photo by L. Malik Anderson)

Those who visited the center had the opportunity to experience Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass in Spanish at noon and watch performances from singer-songwriters Angela Puerta and Clare Norelle alongside other acts including El Ballet Folklórico México de Carlos y Sonia Ávila.

“We used to practice here in Centro Guadalupe [Catholic Multicultural Center] in the basement,” Carlos Ávila said.

Ballet Folklórico also performed at last year’s Radiothon. Avila said the group began in the center. Like many events at the center, the Radiothon provided a space for patrons to gather and spend time together even before reopening. 

The CMC has been around since 1946 but closed down about a decade ago due to tough economic times. Fortunately, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish on Madison’s west side stepped up to the plate to save the Center, re-opening its doors.

“We’ve been around for about 70-plus years and about 10 years ago we were temporarily closed under the Diocese of Madison when they had financial problems,” Russell said.

He said the organization opened its doors again after about two months under Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish. The Catholic Multicultural Center has always provided resources to community members. Today, the organization offers programs prioritizing basic needs, education, employment, immigration legal services, and includes community engagement. 

“Our budget when we closed was about $250,000 and now it’s $1.7 million in just 10 years that we were able to grow that,” Russell said.

He said this effort required a lot of fundraising and opportunities for the Catholic Multicultural Center to tell their story. Russell said people like to get involved in the center, donating resources to help sustain the programs offered. 

Children perform at the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) annual Radiothon Community Celebration.
(Photo by L. Malik Anderson)

“Our main focus is to care for our brothers and sisters in need,” Russell said. 

Patrons have access to food pantry, personal hygiene products, free meals and shower and laundry facilities. The organization also offers programming for families, including youth activities, a public computer lab, language and citizenship classes and employment search assistance. 

“Our reach goes way beyond this neighborhood,” Russell said. 

The Catholic Multicultural Center has locations on both the south side of Madison and Fitchburg that are open Monday through Friday from 9-5 p.m. Russell said the organization will continue to offer services in both locations while working with other organizations to expand the work they do.

“Collaborations are very important. You can only do so much as an organization, but together you can do a lot,” he said.