Each year, families across the country gather on Thanksgiving Day to share a special meal and give thanks for their blessings. While Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, it also is a time when people give generously to charitable organizations.
The Giving Tuesday movement, which began in 2012, is observed annually on the last Tuesday of November. On this day, people around the world are encouraged to volunteer, donate to charities, or perform acts of kindness.
A Catholic version of Giving Tuesday, #iGiveCatholic, was initiated in 2015 in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The #iGiveCatholic non-profit organization was created to bring the Catholic community together and inspire acts of generosity.
Within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the #iGiveCatholic program was launched in 2020.
Archbishop Nelson Pérez, who was familiar with #iGiveCatholic from his time as the Bishop of Cleveland, asked the staff of The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia (CFGP) to implement the program here.
“We are always looking for ways to support the parishes, schools, organizations, and ministries of the Archdiocese,” said Sarah Hanley, President and Chief Executive Officer of CFGP. “We were so impressed with the #iGiveCatholic initiative that we opted to be the host for the entire Church of Philadelphia.”
CFGP, an independent, nonprofit community foundation, serves as “the hub of Catholic philanthropy in the Greater Philadelphia area,” Hanley explained.
This year, a total of 169 parishes, schools, and charitable ministries across the five-county Archdiocese registered to participate, including all 15 Archdiocesan high schools, which is the most to ever sign up.
In 2022, approximately $1.5 million was raised locally through participation in the #iGiveCatholic program, according to Hanley. In 2021, the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary Appeal and the Catholic Charities Appeal of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed first and second respectively for most dollars raised nationally.
With Giving Tuesday quickly approaching on Nov. 28, Mary Jo Rohrer, Associate Director, Partner Development for CFGP has been working with registrants to support their #iGiveCatholic fundraising efforts.
Through the financial support of sponsors, Rohrer explained that participating organizations can earn prizes for hitting benchmarks in the #iGiveCatholic program.
“That garners some excitement, and we’re lucky to be able to do that because we have generous sponsors here in the Archdiocese,” she said.
Lead sponsors for #iGiveCatholic this year are Kennedy Printing, Merrill Lynch, and Stradley Ronon Stevens and Young LLP. Partner sponsors include PNC Financial Services, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, and Troutman Pepper. Additional sponsors include Immaculata University, KCB Print Resources, MCG Strategic, and Positive Wiring, Electrical & Structured Cabling.
Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor was among the first archdiocesan high schools to participate in the #iGiveCatholic program in 2020. This is the school’s third year raising funds for tuition assistance through #iGiveCatholic.
“People give more when there’s a purpose behind it,” said Patricia Scott, president of Archbishop Carroll. “When you think about #iGiveCatholic and supporting Catholic education, it made sense to use that money specifically for families who want a Catholic education but can’t afford the entire tuition.”
The need for tuition assistance continues to rise due to the school’s increasing enrollment in recent years.
“Our enrollment numbers have skyrocketed this past year, so families are looking for that Catholic education,” said Brianne Branco, Assistant Director of Advancement and Event Coordinator at Archbishop Carroll. “Without appeals like #iGiveCatholic, we might not be able to support our students with tuition assistance. It really helps us give those students who want to be here a chance to be here.”
The school’s first #iGiveCatholic campaign raised $272,000 with financial support from four major donors, according to Scott. “That was a huge lift for us,” she said.
Julie Hyland, Director of Institutional Advancement at Archbishop Carroll, said a goal this year is to get more alumni involved in the fundraising campaign.
“There are a lot of alums who maybe haven’t been involved with Carroll the last couple of years, so we want to bring them back into the fold,” Hyland said. “#iGiveCatholic helps us hone in on the alumni in our Carroll community who are products of this wonderful education and want Catholic education to continue for years to come.”
The #iGiveCatholic initiative also helps highlight the value of Catholic education and the importance of supporting Catholic organizations in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
“It’s important that people understand that Catholic schools are really doing an amazing job at providing the best education, and on top of it, creating a faith-based community,” Scott said. “I think it’s the best product out there.”
“This is a great opportunity to come together as a Catholic community to support the organizations, ministries, parishes, and schools that we all care about,” Hanley added. “People can visit the #iGiveCatholic website and make their Catholic Charities Appeal gift, support the Seminary, and support their parish all at one time.”
For more information about the #iGiveCatholic initiative in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, visit https://philadelphia.igivecatholic.org/
Organizations or individuals interested in becoming a sponsor can contact Mary Jo Rohrer at email@example.com for more information.
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