NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — With the global spread of COVID-19 financially impacting the ministry of the U.S. Catholic Church, the bishop-led board of the annual 24-hour #iGiveCatholic online giving platform activated its national website March 26.
It has begun accepting donations from individuals and businesses in support of parishes, schools and ministries of 39 dioceses across the country.
Cory Howat, executive director of the Catholic Community Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which launched the 24-hour online giving campaign in 2015, said the website — igivecatholic.org — would be activated indefinitely to address “the looming financial crisis to our parishes, dioceses and other Catholic institutions.”
The campaign will be branded as #iGiveCatholicTogether.
Howat said about 25 “mission” dioceses represented by Catholic Extension would benefit from the online funding, and he projected “another 25 dioceses would come aboard” once word of the expanded giving platform was disseminated more broadly.
Catholic Extension is a Chicago-based mission organization that supports the nation’s mission dioceses.
When #iGiveCatholic was started in 2015 in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, online donors in a single 24-hour period contributed $1.3 million to 112 churches, schools and other nonprofit ministries associated with the archdiocese.
Since then, #iGiveCatholic has expanded beyond New Orleans to include 39 dioceses. Last year, on #GivingTuesday — Dec. 3, 2019 — more than $7.6 million was raised nationwide in 24 hours through nearly 34,000 individual donations.
Howat said turning on #iGiveCatholic would benefit Catholic ministries across the country, “many of which are navigating the loss of weekly donations, exploring how canceled events impact budgets or searching for an online giving option.”
The national board of #iGiveCatholic includes New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond and Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.
“The bishops on the board want to use this service as a ‘stop-gap’ solution for online giving,” Howat said.
The 39 dioceses that participated in #iGiveCatholic in 2019 will be available immediately to receive online donations through the web-based platform.
Dioceses that have not yet participated will be able to join the platform quickly, Howat said, which will include a “comprehensive and individualized webpage” on the #iGiveCatholic platform. Each diocese can link participating churches, schools and Catholic ministries to the global page.
Howat said there is a minimal installation fee for new dioceses choosing to participate. The installation fee for “mission” dioceses will be underwritten by Catholic Extension. Those details are available from Catholic Extension’s Tom Riordan at email@example.com.
Howat said minimum online donations have been lowered to $10, and donors have the option to cover transaction fees.
For more information on how dioceses can participate, contact Julie Kenny, national program director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finney is executive editor/general manager of the Clarion Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
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