PROVIDENCE — A summary report, released this week by the Diocese of Providence, shows that the faithful have responded generously to Bishop Thomas J. Tobin’s call to express their Catholic pride in a real and tangible way by donating to the diocese’s Grateful for God’s Providence capital campaign.
The campaign was launched in 2018, as the diocese looked ahead to its 150th anniversary in 2022, with a goal of collecting $50 million to strengthen parishes and support diocesan ministries through endowments.
By sharing a percentage of the donations with parishes (40% of every dollar raised in a parish would be returned to that parish up to their established goal, with 60% returned over that), the campaign has allowed pastors to tackle much-needed projects in their churches.
The diocesan share of the donations provides funding for several diocesan endowments, with an initial goal of collecting $8 million to provide support for seminarian education, $8 million for the Senior Priest Retirement Fund, $5 million for Catholic Charities and Social Services and $5 million for Catholic school tuition assistance. Additionally, $4 million was earmarked to replace the original roof of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, the Mother Church of the diocese.
Despite a crippling pandemic and the significant financial challenges it has wrought upon the world, the campaign surpassed its goal of receiving $50 million in pledges, with just under $45 million having been collected so far.
The report, which provides results as of June 30, shows that from 17,451 donors, a total of $54,713,502 has been committed to the campaign, with $43,798,267 of this amount coming in the form of pledges, and the remaining $10,915,235 in one-time gifts.
With estimated uncollectible pledges of $4,160,835 (9.5%), the Office of Stewardship and Development projects total net proceeds of $50,552,667, with $44,398,190 collected to date and $6,154,477 remaining to be collected.
Of the amount collected to date, $32,691,172 was already distributed to parishes, endowments and the cathedral roof project at the end of the previous fiscal year. An additional $2,187,235 has been distributed in parish share funds since then, as well as $460,896 to complete the cathedral roof project. An estimated $3,425,667 remains to be distributed to endowments in the current fiscal year.
A total of $5,633,130 has been allocated to cover campaign expenses.
Bishop Tobin, offering praise to Almighty God for the blessings whose grace sustains us in all we do, extended his gratitude to all the members of the diocesan Church who worked well together to make the capital campaign a success.
“Thanks to our pastors for embracing this campaign and leading the effort in their parishes,” he said. “Thanks to our diocesan staff and our consultants, Guidance in Giving, for sharing their dedication and expertise. And thanks to our faithful parishioners who stepped forward, responded to the call, and supported this historic effort with amazing generosity!”
“The capital campaign has not solved every problem nor met every need, but it surely goes a long way in allowing our beloved Diocese to embrace the future with renewed hope and confidence,” Bishop Tobin said.
Tim McCaig, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, said that thanks to the commitment of the faithful in the diocese, the campaign has been a “win-win” for all involved, as both the diocese and parishes are benefitting from the donors’ generous contributions.
Parish projects across the diocese included expanding or renovating church facilities, making necessary repairs, creating new parish ministries or strengthening existing ministries, paying off historic or current debts and funding outreach programs.
“Donors can fund the future important projects of the diocesan Church while seeing their parish hall get updated or their church roof replaced, things that are much needed and perhaps long overdue at their parish,” McCaig said.
“Over $15 million has gone back to parishes to date.
McCaig said the campaign has been very successful, especially when considering what the world has been through in recent times.
“We’re on track with national averages for pledge redemption and that’s throughout a pandemic and a difficult economic climate,” McCaig said.
Because many donors designated that their contributions were to be used to support certain endowments only, the goals for some individual funds may not be fully met.
“Even though we expect to hit $50 million, there’s designations, expenses and allocations from the parish share that could prevent an endowment from reaching the total amount it was earmarked to receive,” McCaig said.
The campaign started in 2018, and was split into five blocks. Each focused on a certain geographic area of the diocese at a time, with a total of 130 parishes working closely with Guidance in Giving to conduct 12-week campaigns at their parishes.
Parishes formed leadership committees, hosted informal receptions in their halls and made presentations at Mass, with 400 receptions taking place over the course of the campaign. Additionally, diocesan staff in the Office of Stewardship and Development, along with staff from the Catholic Foundation of Rhode Island worked to organize personal visits with donors and priests to solicit support for the campaign.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone that participated to make this effort successful, and hope this report serves as an informative update as to the progress of the campaign,” McCaig said.
The full report can be viewed online by visiting the diocesan website at www.dioceseofprovidence.org.
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