Donors gave more than $360,000 to parishes, schools and ministries across the Archdiocese of St. Louis on Giving Tuesday through the second annual #iGiveCatholic campaign.
#iGiveCatholic is a national effort to raise funds for Catholic organizations on Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Now in its second year in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, 72 ministries in the archdiocese participated in the campaign, with 1,231 donors giving $362,921 in total online and offline. In 2021,
#iGiveCatholic raised a little more than $200,000 in the archdiocese.
Duchesne High School in St. Charles raised the most in the archdiocese, topping the leaderboard at $136,045 from 176 donors and earning 16th place in the national #iGiveCatholic rankings. A donor matched the first $50,000 raised that day.
Duchesne president Susan Noonan credited the guidance of the office of the Annual Catholic Appeal and a “total team effort” in the successful fundraising for the school. Staff, students, parents and alumni had been gearing up for the day all semester, creating video testimonials about “Why I Give Catholic” and how Duchesne has impacted their lives.
On Giving Tuesday, the school hosted a livestream from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. encouraging people to give while highlighting school organizations — through fun segments like a cooking demonstration, for example — and giving updates on the campaign progress.
“It was a huge demonstration of gratitude, in terms of our students understanding and appreciating the opportunities they have at our school, and our alumni that came out in strong force in showing what Duchesne has meant to them,” Noonan said.
The money raised will go toward a new sound system in the gym, technical updates in the Performing Arts Center and to help fund a new HVAC system, Noonan said.
“I believe Catholic education is one of the most important ministries of the Church, and as an institution, we have to understand that’s a huge responsibility, that’s a huge calling. We always have to try to do better. So, #iGiveCatholic was a beautiful demonstration of that,” she said.
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary raised $18,229 through
#iGiveCatholic — including a $10,000 gift from the Serra Club — to help pay for seminarians to attend the SEEK 2023 conference in St. Louis in January. The seminary won this year’s “Social Media Buzz” prize, awarded to the organization with the best use of #iGiveCatholic and #CatholicSTL on a Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram post on the giving day.
Shaina Guntli, communications specialist at the seminary, said the social media strategy was all about “connecting our community to our men.” To create fun posts for the day, she paired photos of seminarians with speech bubbles — some inspired by actual conversations she had with the men.
“I talked to the guys over the weeks leading up, knowing that this was our goal, and was able to get some thoughts for them. I asked one seminarian, and he told me, ‘I can’t wait to serve the liturgies at SEEK!’” she said. “So I took that and put it into the post, so people can make that connection.”
By participating in the SEEK conference, a national event put on by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), seminarians will “gain more skills to help other people grow in relationship with Jesus,” Guntli said. “They spend time on campus, they go out into parishes, but to pray with thousands of people over five days and help serve in those liturgies and sit in adoration with them is an exciting, impactful thing for them.”
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Archdiocesan Council of St. Louis, finished in the top 10 in both dollars raised and number of donors, collecting $13,605 from 79 donors — well over the society’s goal of $5,000.
“It seems almost as though every time we ask, there’s an overwhelming response,” said John Fitzpatrick, director of development. “Our benefactors never let us down.”
Partnering with the archdiocese in #iGiveCatholic was a no-brainer, Fitzpatrick said, because of the archdiocese’s assistance with the campaign. All the money raised will be distributed directly to Neighbors in Need through parish St. Vincent de Paul conferences.
“Right now, we’re seeing a lot of requests for the basic needs. The economy’s pretty tough for a lot of people, so we’re seeing a lot of requests for help for things like utility bills,” Fitzpatrick said.
Besides sound strategy and kind benefactors, the campaign’s success depended on a third thing: the Holy Spirit, he said.
“An element of our plan was to pray like crazy,” Fitzpatrick said. “There’s that old quote, ‘Pray like everything depends on God, work like everything depends on you.’”
Support Duchesne High School: duchesne-hs.org/make-a-gift.html
Support Kenrick-Glennon Seminary: kenrick.edu/support
Support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul: svdpstlouis.org/donate