BRAINTREE -- In a time when a tough economy has made fundraising a challenge for non-profit organizations locally and across the country, the Archdiocese of Boston has exceeded its goal for the 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal.
The Annual Catholic Appeal is the archdiocese’s flagship fundraising effort which Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has described as the “lifeblood” of the archdiocese’s central ministries.
The 2009 goal was $15 million. However, the archdiocese announced in a Feb. 8 press release that the Catholic Appeal netted $15.1 million this year -- nearly a 1 percent increase. While the 2009 appeal generated the same revenue as the 2008 effort, about 600 more donors participated in this year’s campaign.
“The success of this year’s appeal in such a difficult economic climate demonstrates once again the generosity, faith and commitment of the people of this archdiocese to sustain our ministries,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “I am pleased to learn of the growth in the number of parishioners who supported this important appeal and continued our Catholic tradition of sharing for the sake of others. To all who have given of themselves so generously, thank you.”
“We’re pleasantly surprised,” added Catholic Appeal Manager Patrick Gipson. “To be honest, it was something over the last few months we weren’t sure about. We’ve continued to pray and work hard knowing the economy is in a tough spot.”
Gipson said that many charities have seen a decrease in fundraising revenues in the recent economic downturn.
Yet, the archdiocese was successful, according to Gipson, because of the generosity of Catholics, who he said recognize the importance of the local church in their lives.
Gipson also credits the pastors for the appeal’s success, noting their willingness to promote the work of archdiocesan ministries and pass their support onto the parishioners.
Scot Landry, Secretary for Institutional Advancement for the archdiocese, pointed out that 20 percent of contributors gave more than last year in part because Cardinal O’Malley acknowledged the difficult economy in all appeal messages, and informed donors that many parishioners would not be able to contribute this year.
“While we have had $15 million goals for the 2008 and 2009 Catholic Appeal campaigns, everyone involved in the effort understood that achieving $15 million this year would be much more difficult than in 2008,” Landry said. “But we hoped that parishioners who could give more would give more to this appeal to make up for those that couldn’t give as much as in years past, or even give at all.”
Gipson spoke to the increased number of Catholics who donated.
“The trust is beginning to be rebuilt in what we do, specifically here in Braintree,” Gipson said, referring to the archdiocese’s headquarters.
“Considering the economic environment we were in, maintaining the status quo or a repeat of previous years could be considered a success,” he added.
Kevin Gill, chairman of the Cardinal’s Leadership Circle committee and parishioner of St. Paul Parish in Hingham, said Cardinal O’Malley is one reason for the appeal’s success.
“I think it’s a reflection of the forward movement of the archdiocese under Cardinal Seán,” Gill said.
Gill said the goal was set at $15 million to match the 2008 goal.
“We had such good feelings about what Cardinal Seán was doing in the archdiocese we wanted to be aggressive,” Gill said.
“I think it’s extraordinary we met the goal in this recession,” Gill said.
Over the last seven years, from 2002 to 2009, the Catholic Appeal has seen a steady increase in both dollars raised and donor participation. In 2002, in the heart of the clergy abuse scandal, the appeal netted just short of $9 million.
Cardinal O’Malley will launch the 2010 Catholic Appeal, “Called to Love and Share,” the weekend of March 5-7, 2010.
Parishes that surpassed their 2009 Catholic Appeal goal: