2019 Catholic Charity Appeal tops $7 million

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PROVIDENCE — The Diocese of Providence 2019 Catholic Charity Appeal has concluded, raising $7,005,417. The campaign met 92 percent of its $7.6 million goal.

The 2018 appeal, by comparison, raised $7.3 million, meeting 92 percent of its $8 million goal last year.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin extended his gratitude to all who contributed for their generous support of the work of the Church.

“Through the Catholic Charity Appeal we join together in faith to support the good works that bring hope, comfort and mercy to thousands in need across Rhode Island,” Bishop Tobin said.

Diocesan Stewardship and Development Director Robert J. Corcoran Jr., said that even though the appeal did not reach its goal this year, topping $7 million is still very significant, especially when taking into account that the steady decline in the number of donors through the years.

This year, 26,932 total gifts were made, compared to 31,538 total gifts made last year. Since 1990, when the appeal recorded about 90,000 annual gifts, there has been a decline of more than two-thirds in the number of gifts made.

Also having an impact, Corcoran feels, is the fact that the diocese is in the midst of its $50 million Grateful for God’s Providence capital campaign.

“It’s a challenge to run the annual Catholic Charity Appeal while we’re in the middle of a capital campaign as well,” he said.

“It’s also part of a longer decline of both the number of donors who give and the revenue we get each year from the annual appeal.”

Corcoran noted that this is a challenge the diocese must find a way to overcome because the appeal is an important funding mechanism to provide for the resources the Catholic Church brings to bear through its numerous outreach ministries to help the poor in Rhode Island.

Diocesan programs such as the Emmanuel House homeless shelter, St. Martin de Porres senior center and Life and Family Ministry rely heavily on generous gifts to the annual appeal for financial support.

“There’s a lot of people depending on the appeal reaching its goal,” Corcoran said. “We take that seriously and we’re very grateful for all the donations that come in. We’ve just got to keep working at it. There’s a lot of need out there.”

Corcoran said that he is very grateful for the generous response from all those who contributed to the Catholic Charity Appeal, and credits the pastors of parishes throughout the diocese with making sure the message of giving reaches their parishioners.

He noted that the annual appeal is as successful as it has been because of the pastors, and their volunteers, who are such great partners working with Stewardship and Development at the parish level, as well as the donors, who step up to fulfill their vital role in supporting the Church’s good works.

“This year is not an easy one, with an annual appeal and a capital campaign running at the same time, so there’s a lot on the donors’ plates right now and we’re just grateful that they are able to work through that and be as generous as they have been. We continue to rely on them and are most grateful for all their help,” he said.

Corcoran said the nearly all of the parishes in the diocese will have run the capital campaign by the end of December, with the remaining few slated to complete it in early 2020.

He said the diocese hopes to reach around $40 million in pledges this fall, and seeks to finish strong by reaching its $50 million goal by the end of the campaign. Pledges will benefit both diocesan programs and the individual parishes participating.