PROVIDENCE — The 2019 Catholic Charity Appeal, which raises funds for many charitable ministries and programs in Rhode Island, is underway in the Diocese of Providence.
In-pew solicitations for the annual appeal are scheduled to be held in most parishes over two weekends in mid-March. The social ministries of the diocese are funded exclusively through the campaign.
“It’s the one time of year we reach out to the public and ask them to support the 40 different Catholic charity missions all throughout the state of Rhode Island,” said Robert Corcoran, director of the Stewardship & Development Office for the Diocese of Providence.
“The Catholic Charity Appeal is the only vehicle by which we get support for those missions,” Corcoran said.
The annual appeal raises around $8 million — about $6 million through in-pew solicitations and $2 million through a direct mailing campaign — for the Catholic Charity Fund, which supports the diocesan ministries and programs that provide social, educational and spiritual support to thousands of Rhode Islanders each year regardless of race, creed or background.
The ministries supported by the Catholic Charity Fund range from social service ministries that provide direct support to the poor, the hungry and homeless to immigration and refugee services, to emergency rent and medical aid.
Other services paid for by the Catholic Charity Fund include prison ministry, justice and peace educational programs that work to end violence in the inner city, as well as community advocacy initiatives for various needs in the community.
Those social service ministries work with outside agencies, such as the Rhode Island Food Bank, the Rhode Island Poverty Institute, the Rhode Island State Department of Elderly Affairs and Respite Care, which supports those who assist the sick and elderly.
The Catholic Charity Fund also supports a child care voucher program for low-income families, a youth camp, two youth centers and a statewide sports league that is open to all children. The fund has also provided significant grants to “Keep the Heat On,” a program for emergency heating assistance for low income individuals or families.
“The good people of Rhode Island come forward, and with that money we help tens of thousands of people all across Rhode Island,” Corcoran said. “These are folks struggling with homelessness, with hunger, with the ability to heat their own apartments during the winter, who need support raising young families. We want to be there for them.”
Corcoran said the diocese has set a goal of $7.6 million this year for the Catholic Charity Appeal, which is slightly down from the $8 million goal of last year.
“We brought it down to reflect the reality of where we are right now,” Corcoran said.
The appeal will be running concurrently with the Grateful for God’s Providence capital campaign, a two-year effort to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Providence in 2022 by raising $50 million to support the Church’s mission at the diocesan and parish levels.
Asked if he expects the capital campaign to impact giving to the Catholic Charity Appeal, Corcoran said he believes most people in Rhode Island understand the difference between the two campaigns and will not cut back on the Catholic Charity Appeal since it is “their annual gift to the mission of the Church.”
“The Catholic Charity Appeal is once a year. It provides annual operational support that directly helps people in crisis,” Corcoran said. “The Grateful for God’s Providence Capital Campaign funds a wider set of goals through endowment support.”
“All those parishes that had previously reached their goal (on the Catholic Charity Appeal) made goal again,” Corcoran said. “There are more parishes this year that are running both (campaigns) than last year. We are hopeful that the same trend will stay in place, that people will understand the difference and give according to their means to both.”
For parishes in Blocks 1, 2 and 4 of the capital campaign, the in-pew solicitations for the Catholic Charity Appeal — which will include a lay witness presentation — will be held on the weekends of March 16/17 and March 23/24. The parishes in Block 3 had their in-pew solicitations on the weekends of Feb. 9/10 and Feb. 16/17.
To make an online donation or learn more about the Catholic Charities appeal, please visit