Bishop Sullivan Center was created in 1972 under the name of Cooperative Social Services. Three Catholic parishes in the northeast part of Kansas City created the Center in response to the growing numbers of people living in poverty in their neighborhood. In 1994 it was named after Bishop Sullivan, a former bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese, who was particularly concerned about the poor.
Originally, the Center offered a food pantry and limited utility assistance to needy families. Over the years, as the needs of people grew so did the services of the Center. The Center now operates two food pantries, a community kitchen, employment services, a clothes closet, elderly services and financial emergency assistance.