"Community benefit" is the measurable contribtution made by Catholic and other tax-exempt organizations to support the health needs of disadvantaged persons and to improve the overall health and well-being of local communities. Community benefit activities include outreach to low-income and other vulnerable persons; charity care for people unable to afford services; health education and illness prevention; special health care initiatives for at-risk school children; free or low-cost clinics; and efforts to improve and revitalize communities. These activities are often provided in collaboration with community members and other community organizations to improve local health and quality of life for everyone. Since 1989, the Catholic health ministry has utilized a systematic approach to plan, monitor, report, and evaluate the community benefit activities and services it provides to its communities. This approach, first described in CHA's Social Accountability Budget, was updated in the recent Community Benefit Reporting: Guidelines and Standard Definitions for the Community Benefit Inventory for Social Accountability. By using credible and consistent information, health care organizations can improve their strategic response to demands for information that demonstrates their worth.