2016 Catholic Services Appeal

| January 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

2016 CSA shoots for same dollar goal as last year, but has bigger aims overall

Leadership skills, a strong community and a deeper love of God are the fruits of Dafne Carmona-Rios’ involvement in Pastoral Juvenil, the youth group for Latino teens in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. There, the youth “learn to trust him [God], to be capable of being blown away by his greatness and humility,” said Carmona-Rios, a parishioner of Holy Rosary in Minneapolis who has received leadership training through the archdiocese’s Latino Ministry.

Last year, Pastoral Juvenil served more than 1,000 youth, ages 13-17, through eight programs in the archdiocese’s 22 parishes that celebrate Mass in Spanish. The initiative is supported by the archdiocese’s Office

of Latino Ministry, one of 17 ministries in the archdiocese funded by the annual Catholic Services Appeal.

Like last year, the 2016 appeal goal is $9.3 million, with plans to distribute amounts ranging from $11,000 to St. Paul’s Outreach to $1,375,000 to Catholic elementary schools. Parishes that meet or nearly meet their appeal goals receive a percentage of the funds they raise, and the appeal estimates it will return $1.8 million to parishes in 2016.

The Catholic Services Appeal Foundation, a Plymouth-based organization that separated from the archdiocese in 2013 and is led by a board of directors, hopes using more social media; a new blog at its website, csafspm.org; and stronger yearlong communication about the funds’ impact in the community will attract more people’s giving. The appeal launches in parishes across the archdiocese Jan. 23-24 and Jan. 30-31.

A focus on serving

Last year, the CSA launched with the tagline “Serve, Support, Strengthen.” The 2016 appeal’s theme is “Serve,” marking the first of a three-year campaign that will focus on each theme.

“In this Year of Mercy, it’s important to serve all of the different people who are in need,” said Jennifer Beaudry, the CSAF’s executive director. “With everything that’s going on the archdiocese, it’s still important to serve these people who need our help. They can’t just be dropped, and we can’t say we’re not going to give . . . because we’re upset with the archdiocese. . . . These people don’t get funding any other way.”

While some CSA recipients — such as Catholic Charities, St. Paul’s Outreach and the seminaries — have their own fundraising arms, others rely heavily on what they receive from the CSA to fund their basic programs. People may not otherwise think of the archdiocese’s American Indian ministry, deaf ministry or Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women when exploring where to give, Beaudry said.

Although the goal is the same as last year, its distribution plan varies slightly. Because the amount given to seminaries is based on the number of seminarians from the archdiocese  — $30,000 each for men enrolled at St. Paul Seminary and $10,000 each for men at St. John Vianney College Seminary — the CSAF expects to give less to the seminaries this year, based on enrollment projections. That allowed it to boost the amount it plans to give to support new prison ministry initiatives.

The CSAF also increased funding for its expenses by $150,000 to $950,000 to reflect two new staff members, new marketing plans and the fact that it went over budget in 2015 due to unforeseen computer issues. [See a graphic of the 17 ministries and their 2016 funding goals on page 3A.]

Affecting every Catholic

The CSA-supported ministries are so varied that Beaudry said she would be amazed if she met a Catholic who sincerely thought he or she hadn’t been affected by at least one of them. While some of the ministries, such as American Indian and deaf ministries, focus on particular groups, many of the ministries affect all corners of the archdiocese, CSAF leaders said, pointing to Catholic school scholarships; the Office for Marriage, Family and Life’s marriage preparation retreats; and the seminaries’ priest formation.

The CSA funds also make it possible for the Church’s charitable arms — such as Catholic Charities — to perform acts of mercy in the broader community. The $1.1 million it receives from the CSA comprised about 1.7 percent of Catholic Charities’  $52 million operating budget in 2015, but the Twin Cities organization greatly depends on it, said Tim Marx, its chief executive officer.

It’s “really important to have the broad support of the community,” he said. “Those who contribute to us through the Catholic Services Appeal help those who are homeless on the streets, help abused children . . . [and] those who need early childhood education, help in our prenatal programs, help resettle refugees, as well as keep older adults in their homes. They are part of all the work that we do, including the advocacy work we do at the Legislature.”

Florence Schmidt, ACCW president, also ticked off a litany of programs the CSA helps the organization execute, from bringing Christmas gifts to families in need in Appalachia to an Advent retreat the organization hosts. And, because so many parishes have CCW groups, their work reaches far across the archdiocese.

“The funds make the difference in being able to help women in our 12-county archdiocese and beyond,” she said. “I consider our program important. As I often say, our women are the backbone of the archdiocese.”

St. Paul’s Outreach, a campus ministry based in West St. Paul, receives the smallest slice of CSA funds, but they’re no less important to the organization.

“In the past year, support from the Catholic Services Appeal helped enable 200 St. Paul’s Outreach missionaries to reach more than 14,000 college students across the country with the saving message of the Gospel,” said David Fischer, SPO’s vice president for advancement.

The CSA asks each parish to raise a certain amount, and parishes that collect 100 percent of their goals receive 25 percent back to use for their own ministries. The combined parishes’ goals amount to $7.7 million, $1.6 million shy of the overall goal.

2015 fell short, but better than expected

Given the challenges the archdiocese faced last year — Reorganization, civil and criminal charges, and the resignations of two bishops — CSAF leadership didn’t expect to make the 2015 appeal’s $9.3 million goal. They estimated pledges would reach $6 million or $7 million, said Greg Pulles, a CSAF board member. Instead, givers rallied at the year-end and pledged $9 million, which meant all ministries received at least 80 percent of the CSA’s goal for them, and some received 100 percent.

For that reason, the CSAF stuck with the $9.3 million goal in 2016.

“The board basically thought, let’s try not to rock the ship in these times; let’s be steady,” Pulles said.

The CSA’s number of givers dropped 7,000 in 2015, and 5,000 in 2014. The drop is, in part, because there are fewer Catholics in the pews, Pulles said.

In November, however, the CSAF participated for the first time in Give to the Max Day, where it drew in about $10,000 — four times the amount it expected.

Some of the CSAF’s challenges are shared with all fundraisers. The numbers of overall donors are decreasing, Beaudry said, but those who are giving are giving more. The CSAF estimates about 25 percent of Catholics registered in parishes contribute to the appeal.

“It is our No. 1 task here to increase the number of givers over time,” Pulles said. “We’d like everyone to give something.”

Expanding the number of parishes represented on the CSAF’s board of directors may help with that, he said. The board includes three pastors and three parish administrators among its 23 members.

“We’re making progress in effectively communicating with the pastors and parishes that we’re here to serve them,” Pulles said. “It’s their appeal. These are shared ministries of the archdiocese that no one parish can support on its own. . . . If everybody just participates a little and acknowledges that shared responsibility to fund these ministries, we can get this job done.”

Part of the CSAF’s challenge is helping Catholics in the archdiocese see “the local Church” as larger than their own parish.

It is also working to increase awareness that it is a separate organization from the archdiocese, and none of the money it raises pays the archdiocese’s attorneys’ fees.

Looking ahead

The CSAF has funded the same 16 ministries — plus the parishes, through the funds it returns to them — for years, Beaudry said. At some point it hopes to expand its reach.

The appeal goal of $9.3 million has also held steady for seven years, and CSAF leaders hope to begin raising it in the future.

“In a diocese this size, we should really be in the $15 [million] to $20 million range,” Beaudry said. “It’s going to take a lot of work and there’s a lot of healing that needs to happen here within the archdiocese, but I really believe we have the potential here to do it.

“I believe the archdiocese is a very generous archdiocese and we have a lot of really good people here,” she added. “I believe we have a really good shot of doing it if we can get through this turmoil going on right now, and grow . . .  and keep showing people what the CSA does.”

Inside: Goals, Reasons to give, Why the CSA matters

Tags: ,

Category: Catholic Services Appeal