Jan. 8-14, 2004
By Kristen Fox / SUN Staff Writer
25th Annual HOPE Appeal donations up
Parishioners care about diocesan ministries and programs, and that is the message they have sent through their generosity to the 25th Annual HOPE Appeal. The final results will not be compiled until the campaign ends on March 1, but results already exceed last year’s amount at the same time by $100,000.
The year-long HOPE Appeal campaign began in May 2003. As of Dec. 10, 2003, a total of $3,512,000 has been collected for the campaign, said Christopher [Kit] Parker, diocesan director of Development and Stewardship. “We are pleased with how the HOPE Appeal is going,” Parker said. “It is a good way to finish the year.”
The HOPE Appeal is the major fundraising source for the ministries of the Diocese of Syracuse. According to the diocesan website, the 2003 ministerial budget for the diocese was $4.2 million dollars. This work was funded solely through the generosity of those who contribute to the HOPE Appeal. To the approximately 80 programs and ministries in the diocese that benefit from its funds, including Catholic Charities, Catholic schools, religious education and vocations, each dollar donated to the campaign is vital to their livelihood. All the funds raised through HOPE Appeal go directly to diocesan ministries, said Parker. “The HOPE Appeal is a campaign to raise money to help people. None of the money goes to anything but these services,” he said. Though the 2002 campaign fell short of its anticipated $4.2 million goal, 2003 saw an upswing in donations. Parker attributes the increase to an improving economy coupled with church leaders and lay persons reaching out and getting parishioners involved in the campaign.
“There has been increased activity in the parishes. They have done a good job at making requests at local levels,” Parker said, noting that 33 parishes have either met or exceeded their goal with approximately two months to go. Parker added that parishioners are also giving at an increased level as compared to previous years. “The overall average parishioner donation is up –– nearly $100 per person,” he said. There was no set monetary goal for 2003, said Parker. Rather, the plan was for each parish to give as much as they could. The Heritage Capital Campaign is also making a difference in the diocese. Unlike the annual HOPE Appeal, the Heritage Campaign is a long-term capital campaign, which began in 1999. Similar to the Hope Appeal, its funds are going to fund a number of specific endowed accounts in the diocese. The money collected from the Heritage Campaign is used for ministries and programs, including Catholic schools, priests’ retirement residences, religious education and youth ministries and Catholic Charities.
As of Dec. 1, 2003, almost $39 million dollars, nearly 80 percent of what was pledged, has been paid in full, said Parker. “We are where we need to be,” said Parker of the Heritage Campaign. The HOPE Appeal and Heritage Campaign are a way for parishioners to share their blessings with the diocese. Each gift made to the campaigns, whether large or small, is needed and appreciated. “No matter what people give, when their donation is added to the donations of others in the diocese, it makes a major difference in the lives of all the people who depend on these ministries,” Parker said.
For more information on the HOPE Appeal or the Heritage Campaign, call (315) 472-0203.