CSAF looks to last year’s donors to repeat generosity

| August 12, 2015 | 1 Comment

With five months remaining in its campaign year, the Catholic Services Appeal has reached 85 percent of its 2015 goal of $9.3 million.

“We’re optimistic we can reach our goal,” said Tim Healy, president of the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation board of directors. “But we’re also realistic that we have work to do yet.”

The annual appeal this year is committed to funding 17 Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, among them hospital chaplains, campus ministry, seminary education and Catholic education at both the elementary and secondary level.

“Parishes have done a great job with follow-up [since the February launch of the appeal],” Healy said, “and we’ve had a successful telephone campaign, so we’ve closed the gap.”

“But there are 6,800 donors from last year who have yet to contribute, and we’re hoping that with the positive things happening in the archdiocese people will be generous,” he added.

The 2014 CSA raised its highest amount ever. In February the foundation reported cash donations of $9.9 million and pledges that pushed the campaign to more than $10 million.

Good work continuing

This June, the 19 members of the lay board that governs the CSAF — a nonprofit corporation separate from the archdiocese — took part in a phonathon to solicit donations and will do so again in October because it was productive, said board member and treasurer Greg Pulles.

“The best thing we have going are the ministries where the money is going,” Pulles said. For example, donations to the CSA fund 100 percent of the salaries of Catholic chaplains at hospitals across the 12-county archdiocese. Those chaplains reach an estimated 100,000 patients each year.

Jennifer Beaudry, the foundation’s executive director, said she was amazed when she realized there were Catholic chaplains at so many local hospitals.

“Every person knows someone who was in one of those hospitals and whose life was touched by a chaplain,” she said.

“There’s so much good still going on,” Beaudry added. She hoped more people would realize how much good their $10 gift can do. “If those 6,800 people all gave $10, imagine the impact that would have,” she said.

Telephone fundraisers reported high interest from potential donors, Beaudry said, noting, “People are asking a lot of questions this year and getting the answers they are looking for — that the foundation is separate from the archdiocese and that the money donated goes where donors expect it to go.”

A collective effort

Pulles described the foundation’s work as “a parish campaign for the parishes’ collective ministries.”

Healy put it as “running a campaign cooperatively with 192 parishes to coordinate the effort for all of them and fund all 17 ministries.”

Both have been visiting ministries to observe them in action, and they get excited sharing what they’ve seen.

“At the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota there’s something going on every single night,” Healy said. Pulles added, “They’ve got these Totus Tuus teams that are putting on slam-bang programs for youth at parishes. I told myself, ‘Gosh, we’ve got to fund this stuff.’”

The CSA funds training for youth ministers at parishes across the archdiocese, offers scholarships to 350 students at Catholic schools, funds prison chaplains, the deaf ministry, the Indian ministry and the Latino ministry,  as well as the archdiocesan mission in Venezuela.

“To see the impact we are having on so many people, it’s phenomenal how many people are being touched,” Healy said. “The impact if we don’t reach our goal is unknown. It could have a drastic effect on those ministries.

“We have to keep them going,” he said. “We have five months, and we have a lot of generous people in this archdiocese.”

Information about the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation and the ministries it serves is online at csafspm.org.

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