By Peter Finney Jr., Clarion Herald
The numbers are awe-inspiring – $1.6 million raised locally and $5.6 million raised nationwide for participating ministries, parishes, schools and nonprofits during the 24-hour, #iGiveCatholic online giving campaign on Nov. 27.
But what is even more astounding to Cory Howat, executive director of The Catholic Foundation, is that the record number of donors proves people continue to trust the Catholic Church with their gifts despite the difficult challenges facing the church in recent months.
“It’s crystal clear,” Howat said. “We had a hesitation that maybe we wouldn’t raise as much, but despite the challenges in the church, people continue to give. Even in our fourth year, where you might think things would level off, we continue to grow in our giving. People really responded and showed how much they love the church, and they showed that in a very tangible way.”
Record in amount, donors
The $5.6 million collected for entities within 29 archdioceses and dioceses – including the Archdiocese of New Orleans – was the highest Catholic crowdfunding event ever.
“There’s no better way to show our faith in action than to be able to show all of our ministries in one place and show how we impact the world,” Howat said. “There’s something just spiritually connecting about it to see the great work that’s done.”
There were more than 23,000 individual donors, with more than 3,700 in New Orleans alone, at the close of the 24-hour period. Gifts to 1,354 ministries came in from all 50 states, as well as six countries, including Afghanistan, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Small and large connected
“You could see the gelling of the churches coming together,” Howat said. “In time of toughness, you have to look creatively at new ways to connect, and technology allows that. The smallest parish in Juneau, Alaska, can take control of its future. It shows the universality of the church. We saw more and more parishes seeing the benefit of participating. When you have a parish or a school in New Orleans connecting with over 300 donors in one day, that’s unprecedented.”
#iGiveCatholic had Our Sunday Visitor as its national sponsor. Jason Shanks, president of Our Sunday Visitor Institute, called the program “a great vehicle for everyone to celebrate Catholic philanthropy … (and) a creative way to engage new donors and an ideal way to collectively show the impact that Catholic donors have in our community.”
Archdiocese had 6 of top 10
Six of the top 10 giving totals went to churches, schools and other Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese of New Orleans:
- Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans ($150,920, first place); Christopher Homes ($121,944, second); St. Michael School ($110,625, fifth); Ozanam Inn ($107,630, sixth); Our Lady of Wisdom ($100,235, seventh); and St. Benilde School ($86,310, ninth).
Also finishing in the Top 20 of overall:
- Second Harvest Food Bank ($72,638, 11th); Tulane Catholic Center ($67,997, 13th); and St. Joan of Arc Church in LaPlace ($52,820, 17th).
Local organizations also competed for cash awards ($1,500 awarded to first-place winners, $750 to second and $250 to third place). This year’s winners were:
- The parishes that received the largest number of advanced-day gifts, in first through third order: Ascension of Our Lord Parish in LaPlace, St. Joan of Arc Church in LaPlace and St. Angela Merici Church in Metairie.
- The parishes that had the largest number of gifts on #GivingTuesday: Ascension of Our Lord, St. Angela Merici Church in Metairie, and Mary Queen of Peace Church in Mandeville.
- The schools that received the largest number of advanced-day gifts: St. Benilde School, Our Lady of Lourdes School in Slidell and St. Ann School in Metairie.
- The schools that had the largest number of gifts on #GivingTuesday: St. Benilde School, Our Lady of Lourdes School in Slidell and St. Paul’s School in Covington.
- The Catholic nonprofits that received the largest number of advanced-day gifts: the Legionaries of Christ in Mandeville, Tulane Catholic Center in New Orleans and Southern Dominican Province, USA in Metairie.
- The Catholic nonprofits that had the largest number of gifts on #GivingTuesday: Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans, Dumb Ox Ministries in Mandeville and Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.
To view the full list of results (sortable by archdiocese/diocese, organization, total gifts or total dollars), visit www.iGiveCatholic.org. Next year’s giving day is set for #GivingTuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Registration for organizations interested in participating will open in September 2019.
Participating dioceses and archdioceses include: Archdiocese of Atlanta, Diocese of Austin, Diocese of Baton Rouge, Diocese of Biloxi, Diocese of Boise, Diocese of Cleveland, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Diocese of Columbus, Diocese of Helena, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Diocese of Jackson, Diocese of Juneau, Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Diocese of Knoxville, Diocese of Lafayette;
Diocese of Lexington, Diocese of Lubbock, Diocese of Marquette, Diocese of Memphis, Archdiocese for Military Services, USA, Archdiocese of Mobile, Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archdiocese of Paterson, Diocese of Salina, Diocese of San Angelo, Diocese of San Diego, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Diocese of Shreveport and Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. CapTRUST is also an affiliate sponsor of this year’s campaign.