#iGiveCatholic receives more than $280,000 in first year

 The Register
Salina — At the end of Giving Tuesday, the Salina Diocese was in the top five (arch)dioceses who participated in #iGiveCatholic Nov. 27. “I am extremely proud of the Salina Diocese for the generosity shown to the Catholic community,” said Beth Shearer, director of stewardship and development. “Thank you to everyone who promoted this and the donors who responded generously. We should all feel proud and blessed.” In all, 614 donors gave $281,042.59 to 54 ministries throughout the diocese. 
This was the first year the Salina Diocese participated in #iGiveCatholic, a nation-wide campaign spearheaded by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. “When we started #iGiveCatholic four years ago, our goal was to support parishes, schools and nonprofits in our archdiocese,” said #iGiveCatholic President Cory J. Howat. “Now that it has become a national campaign, we are amazed by the generosity of Catholic communities across the country. While it’s hard to predict how these communities will come together on the giving day, there is no doubt that the Catholic community in Salina is extremely generous.” In all, 29 (arch)dioceses across the nation participated in the annual campaign, and collectively raised more than $5.5 million.
A noteworthy accomplishment includes nine Salina Diocesan ministries in the top 100 based on amount of money given. “One of the great things about #iGiveCatholic is that it is a great neutralizer,” Howat said. “When it comes down to it, it’s all about how a diocese and its participating organizations embrace the program. We see rural parishes outpacing larger parishes in dollars raised because they’ve taken the program, made it their own and had fun with it. Truly, a little bit of time and talent can yield great results, which is evidenced by five Salina organizations in the top 50 for dollars raised and nine in the top 100 nationwide.”
Early giving began Nov. 12, with more than $43,000 raised for the Salina Diocese in the first 24 hours. “A generous donor provided a $50,000 matching grant to encourage donors to support their parish, school and ministry early,” Shearer said. “The early giving gave many organizations momentum going into Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27.” Since this was the first year the diocese participated, Shearer said she wasn’t sure what to expect. “When organizations told their story, donors responded generously,” she said. “The response from donors exceeded any expectation we had.” In addition to a matching grant for the entire diocese, individual organizations had the option for local matching grants.
Father Gale Hammerschmidt, chaplain at the St. Isidore Catholic Student Center in Manhattan said a donor came to him the day before #GivingTuesday and offered a $20,000 matching grant. The grant was impressive, and Father Hammerschmidt said he was humbled by the number of individual donors that gave to St. Isidore.
“I was also impressed with the number of students we had giving through the program,” he said. “The fact that we had over 100 individual people donate is amazing. It is good to remember that we are primarily a college student parish, and college students are usually broke, so we need these types of gifts to meet our regular budget.” The money raised will go toward general operations. “There is a real importance that we do things well here at St. Isidore’s — we train the future leaders of the Church throughout the Midwest,” he said. “ It is humbling to see the number of people who desire to share in this ministry through their generosity.”
The response and support across the diocese was positive. “We are encouraged by the support given to the diversity of parishes, schools and ministries across the diocese,” Shearer said. “We are excited to see what next year brings.” The date for #iGiveCatholic in 2019 will be Dec. 3. For more information, please visit salina.igivecatholic.org.

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