Divine Mercy welcomes windfall as annual Catholic schools raffle exceeds expectations

| Catholic United Financial for The Catholic Spirit | March 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Crushing their goals and pulling away from prior-year benchmarks, Catholic schools participating in the Catholic ­Unit­ed Financial 2012 Annual Catholic Schools Raffle raised $611,290 this year to support Catholic education in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

CUF revealed the total March 1, before the grand prize drawing at its home office in St. Paul. Before Msgr. James Habiger drew the winning ticket from a drum stuf­fed with more than 120,000 stubs, Smart Board packages were awarded to the top three schools in terms of per-student ticket sales as recognition for their hard work.

What started as a pilot program in the 2009-2010 school year has now raised more than $1 million for Catholic schools.

The $500,000 2011-2012 school year raffle provided free kits to all the schools, which included tickets, flyers and posters. CUF also purchased all the raffle prizes. Students, their families and parishioners sold tickets for $5 each.

“The fact that the schools keep every penny of every ticket sold is really what sets this fundraiser apart from any other,” said Michael McGovern, CUF president.

This year, more than 65 schools sold raffle tickets. St. Francis of the Lakes in Brainerd was the top school per-student overall, bringing in $43,860, along with the $6,000 Smart Board it will receive.

Faribault welcomes windfall

First-year entry, Divine Mercy School in Faribault, was nipping at their heels with $42,910 in sales — a welcome windfall.

“This was our first year and we thought this would be a great opportunity to raise money for the school that wasn’t part of our budget,” said Bob Seidel, Divine Mercy principal. “About half will go towards scholarships and tuition assistance, one quar­ter to technology, and the other quarter we’re actually giving back to our families in the form of a tuition break.” All 177 families will get a break next year.

Walt Dziedzic, a retired Minneapolis police officer, city council member and parks board member, held the grand prize ticket for a 2012 Ford Escape or $25,000 cash.

More than $45,000 in merchandise was also awarded. That did not include nearly $10,000 in top-seller prizes: one student at each school will receive either a Nintendo Wii Mario Kart bundle, or a Sony Cybershot digital camera.

The annual Catholic schools raffle has nearly doubled the funds raised every year. In 2011, McGovern set a $500,000 goal for this year’s raffle. He announced a new goal for 2013 — $750,000.

CUF provides life insurance and retirement planning for its 84,000 members and gives back to communities through 160 local councils. Programs that provide matching grants to schools and churches have given millions of dollars to communities across Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

For more information about CUF, call (651) 490-0170, 1-800-568-6670 or visit http://www.catholicunitedfinancial.org.

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