Bishop's Appeal tops target and sets record
Annual drive raises more than $4.8 million and hits mark for the first time since 1999
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
|NEW YEAR MASS: Students use candles to light their songbooks Sept. 11 at Mass on the Grass at the Ecumenical Center at UWGB to celebrate the opening of the new school year. Campus ministry is funded in part through the annual Bishop's Appeal. Bp. Robert Morneau presided at the Mass. (Rick Evans photo)
Bishop's Appeal 2005 not only surpassed its target - for the first time since 1999 - but it also set an all-time high in dollars raised. The campaign received $4,817,000.02 from approximately 38,000 donors. The 2005 target was $4,804,643.
"I find myself not only impressed but especially inspired by the extraordinary support which the faithful of our diocese have given this year to the Bishop's Appeal," said Bp. David Zubik. "It is a significant reflection of the commitment that we have been making for nearly a decade that stewardship is a way of life for the church of Green Bay. In response to the generosity of so many people, I continue to pledge all of my energies to serve our church the best I can together with the help of so many talented members of the diocesan staff and so many generous leaders in our parishes and other faith-filled communities."
Josh Diedrich, director of the Bishop's Appeal, also pointed to the call to stewardship for the success of the Appeal.
"We are seeing stewardship take hold in the diocese," he said. "More and more people are talking about it. I visited a parish, which has been doing stewardship for three years. They have focused on prayer and service, but have not gone into sharing. I think they are already at that point. If you embrace prayer and service, sharing is a natural progression."
The number of Appeal donors decreased from 39,500 in 2004, but the average gift increased from $113 last year to $119 in 2005. The Crozier Society, those who give $500 or more a year to the Bishop's Appeal, continues to grow. There are now 1,798 members, 201 more than in 2004. Crozier Society members donated $1,466,000 - 30% of the total raised by the Appeal.
"From a fund-raising return standpoint, the support was outstanding," said Diedrich. "This year, 53% of our contributing units made a gift to the Bishop's Appeal. That's a strong sign
that people really wanted to help."
The majority of donations were made as one-time gifts.
"We would like to see an increase in pledge gifts," said Diedrich. "Matching gifts are also important. It's an opportunity for employers to offer their support. We encourage people
to check with their human resources department."
Some companies will not provide a matching gift for religious purposes, but will provide a match for services by Catholic Charities, since it serves people of all denominations.
Diedrich emphasized that administrative costs to run the Appeal are low compared to other campaigns.
"I've seen some organizations that use 15% of the money raised for operation costs," he said. "I've heard of some that use 30%. For every dollar that is given, we use nine cents for
administrative costs. It's important that we are good stewards. More than 90% of what is raised is going to helping people, bringing our faith to people who need it."
The Bishop's Appeal provides nearly 50% of the diocesan budget. The Appeal helps fund counseling programs, community services, education, missions, additional training of priests and lay leaders, The Compass and hundreds of ministries throughout the diocese.
"Thanks to everyone who made a gift to the Bishop's Appeal," said Diedrich. "Thanks also to those who offered their gifts of prayers. Once again the people of the diocese showed their generosity and their understanding of the need to reach out to people in faith."
Gifts to the Bishop's Appeal are accepted year round. For more information, visit www.gbdioc.org. Click on the "Faces of Faith Bishop's Appeal 2005" link.