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Duchesne High School juniors Ally Ledbetter and Apparynciya Duncan talked while working together in a robotics class Dec. 4 at the high school in St. Charles. Duchesne High School raised more than $260,000 through the #iGiveCatholic campaign on Giving Tuesday.
Duchesne High School juniors Ally Ledbetter and Apparynciya Duncan talked while working together in a robotics class Dec. 4 at the high school in St. Charles. Duchesne High School raised more than $260,000 through the #iGiveCatholic campaign on Giving Tuesday.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

Organizations in archdiocese raise more than $800,000 through Giving Tuesday #iGiveCatholic campaign

Archdiocesan ministries, parishes and schools participated in the national campaign for the third year in a row

Duchesne High School junior Nathan Lehne raised a candle to a bubble containing methane for an experiment about methane reacting with oxygen for chemistry teacher Kris Witzel’s class Dec. 4. Duchesne was one of the leading fundraisers for #iGiveCatholic, with more than $260,000 pledged.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand
Donors gave more than $800,000 to parishes, schools and ministries across the Archdiocese of St. Louis on Giving Tuesday through the third annual #iGiveCatholic campaign.

#iGiveCatholic is a national effort to raise funds for Catholic organizations on Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Now in its third year in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, 65 ministries in the archdiocese participated in the campaign, with 1,615 donors giving $883,915 in total online and offline — more than double last year’s total of $362,921.

The Annual Catholic Appeal covered #iGiveCatholic registration costs for archdiocesan participants and awarded more than $10,000 in prizes, added to winners’ total funds raised.

Duchesne High School in St. Charles once again raised the most in the archdiocese, topping the leaderboard at $263,549 from 197 donors, including two matching gifts of $50,000 each. The school finished eighth on the national #iGiveCatholic leaderboard.

After Duchesne beat its $100,000 goal in last year’s #iGiveCatholic campaign, “the competitive side of me thought, ‘We’re going to double that this year,’” said director of advancement Becky Williamson. She’s thankful to the Duchesne community, including the new board of directors, for “stepping up in a big way. It was amazing to see everyone rally and support Duchesne. It is so important to support Catholic education.”

Like last year, Duchesne staff, students, parents and alumni worked together to produce a livestream from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Giving Tuesday, including interviews with athletics teams, a performance by the Duchesne drumline, pre-recorded one-act plays and more.

“We just try to keep it as engaging as possible so our community can see the state of Duchesne, what we offer and what we hope to offer in the future,” Williamson said.

With this year’s #iGiveCatholic funds, Duchesne plans to add a virtual reality lab for multidisciplinary use, a greenhouse in the new outdoor courtyard, a dance studio and upgrades to the fitness center, Williamson said.

Duchesne High School junior Jayden Burgdorf, center left, and senior David Tague, center right, talked during lunch with freshman Evan Kundel, left, and junior Jordan Nunn, right, on Dec. 4.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand
“We’re celebrating our 100th anniversary, and it’s great to celebrate that, but then also plan for the next 100 years,” Williamson said. “We have a lot of history, and our alumni want to see Duchesne grow and shine and thrive.”

The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in Kirkwood were in the top six in both money raised and number of donors, netting $42,480 from 68 donors. That’s enough to purchase new hospital beds for the Care Center at St. Agnes Home, where sisters care for senior residents.

The current hospital beds date back to the Care Center’s opening in 2007, and parts to repair the beds are no longer available, said Joanne Giljum, director of community outreach for the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus.

This year’s goal was much higher than previous years, when the community looked to raise a modest $5,000 — and people were eager to give to the cause, Giljum said. Throughout the donation period, she and the sisters excitedly updated their own chart showing how many new beds would be covered by the growing funds.

“It really touched the heartstrings of people, knowing those hospital beds are such a critical need,” Giljum said.

Among other top fundraisers, Hearts, Hands & Homes, an ecumenical initiative raising funds for six organizations that work to increase access to affordable housing in the St. Louis area, raised $174,070, the second-most in the archdiocese and 13th in the nation. St. Patrick Parish in Wentzville came second in number of unique donors, receiving donations from 120 people for new chairs in the parish social hall and for the youth ministry camp and retreat fund. St. Justin Martyr Parish in Sunset Hills and the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine also finished in the top five in funds raised.

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