#iGiveCatholic Returns for ‘Giving Tuesday’
Forty-two American dioceses and their bishops currently participate.
Giving Tuesday was launched at the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City in 2012 as way for people around the globe “to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”
Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and in preparation for the Christmas shopping season, the day encourages people to give generously to their favorite charities as a way of making the world a better place.
In 2015, Cory Howat, executive director of the Catholic Community Foundation in New Orleans, came up with the idea “to hold hands with the secular movement” by launching #iGiveCatholic, in which U.S. Catholics are encouraged to give to specific U.S. Catholic organizations.
In 2021, #iGiveCatholic raised $16,536,705 from 44,000 donors in all 50 states plus 16 countries outside the U.S., which benefitted 1,620 Catholic parishes, schools and nonprofit ministries.
In 2022, Giving Tuesday will be held on Nov. 29, and organizers are hoping for even better results.
“So much of the consumer spending that goes on during the Christmas season is for self-consumption,” said Howat, president of #iGiveCatholic.
“Rather than buying things for oneself, #iGiveCatholic is a countercultural method of giving to others by giving back to Catholic organizations which donors wish to support. Such generosity is integral to our faith as Catholics, is a form of evangelization, and allows donors to be part of the mission of these organizations they support.”
Forty-two American dioceses and their bishops currently participate in #iGiveCatholic; directors include New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory and Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson, Mississippi. In a video encouraging Catholics to support the campaign, Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson Perez said #iGiveCatholic “celebrates our unique Catholic heritage and inspires faithful stewards to support vital Church ministries.” Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, believes it is necessary “to help spread the good news of the Gospel to so many people who are in need of hearing it.”
To donate, visit iGiveCatholic.org and click on the “Give Back” button. Donors can choose from a wide variety of Catholic organizations they wish to support, searching in a particular diocese, for a particular cause or in a particular city or state. Once a recipient is selected, donors can view a webpage that gives details about that particular Catholic organization. About 2 1/2% of the amount donated goes to maintenance of the website, Howat said, although there is an option for donors to contribute to cover the administrative cost so that 100% of one’s donation goes to the Catholic organization specified.
New dioceses that wish to be recipients of the giving are encouraged to contact #iGiveCatholic leadership through the website to have their Catholic organizations added to the site.
A commonly asked question asked by donors, National Program Director Julie Kenny said, is: Why give through #iGiveCatholic and not directly to the Catholic organization?
“They certainly can do that, but #iGiveCatholic gives donors a way to find organizations that fit the particular passions that they have, and cuts down on the ‘noise’ of donation appeals they might receive on Giving Tuesday,” Kenny explained.
Howat added that the online technology #iGiveCatholic offers far exceeds what many parishes, schools and other ministries can offer.
Holy Trinity Church in Peachtree City, Georgia, is a 3,000-family parish in the Atlanta suburbs that has raised more than $100,000 since it began participating in 2017. The parish actively promotes the campaign to parishioners, reported staff member Rosa Contreras. Last year, 150 donors gave $22,000 to #iGiveCatholic for the parish, which was used for such projects as replacing old doors and creating new signage.
In 2022, the parish hopes to raise $50,000 for the renovation of the parish hall’s kitchen. They promote #iGiveCatholic with signs, announcements at Mass and through the mail (as many of their older parishioners do not use the internet).
“More and more people are becoming familiar with #iGiveCatholic as part of a national movement and hold off until Giving Tuesday to make their donations,” said Contreras.
The Comeau Catholic Campus Center of Fort Hays State University in Kansas raised $36,000 in 2021, which was used for ministry programs and building and maintenance. More than 200 attend the Sunday campus Mass, and another 100 students participate in center activities weekly. Activities include Bible studies with Fellowship of Catholic University Students, Catholic speakers, social events and conferences, which enable students “to encounter the Lord at a pivotal point in their lives,” said Macy Becker, an alumna who serves as the center’s development director.
The center is in its second year actively promoting #iGiveCatholic, said Becker, reaching out to alumni and friends in the community to contribute. “#iGiveCatholic is one of our biggest fundraising events of the year and one in which we are dependent to survive.”
Like Holy Trinity Church, the center fundraises through #iGiveCatholic “because it is nationally recognized” and its website is user-friendly for donors. Becker said she is hoping to raise $50,000 for Giving Tuesday 2022.
Another major recipient of #iCatholic is Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor, Pennsylvania, which raised nearly $250,000 in 2021 and hopes to reach $300,000 in 2022. The school serves 650 students in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
“As we approach Giving Tuesday,” Howat concluded, “we invite all Catholics to consider donating to one or more of these Catholic organizations and be part of their efforts to share the Gospel.”