April 1-7, 2004
By Eileen Jevis/ SUN staff writer
Annual Diocesan Campaign Tries New Approach with Modified Goals
The 26th annual HOPE Appeal campaign is now underway with the general campaign beginning in May. It is a time when the diocese asks its members to support the programs, services and good works of the HOPE Appeal in the spirit of Christian stewardship. This year’s minimum goal is to raise $3,750,000 in pledges and contributions that will be distributed among the seven counties of the diocese.
In a January letter to pastors and pastoral teams, Bishop James Moynihan said that upon recommendation from the HOPE Appeal Pastors’ Advisory Committee (PAC), he will reduce the HOPE Appeal goals this year. “However, to assure that we will continue to have the resources needed, any shortfall between what is raised by a parish and its goal will become an assessment with this year’s HOPE Appeal,” said Bishop Moynihan. The overall HOPE Appeal goal amount has been reduced by 17 percent from $4.5 million to $3.75 million. The bishop went on to say that he hopes that this assessment will be viewed differently from those of past years. He does not expect that parishes will need to invade local parish treasuries to meet their parish goals. In addition to reducing the overall HOPE Appeal goal to reflect current program expenses and an appropriate reserve, PAC has recommended the Stewardship and Development Office use a flat percentage to determine individual parish goals based upon a three-year average of parish income. They have also established an appeals process for parish goal changes.
Kit Parker, director of the development office for the Diocese of Syracuse said that last year there was a 98 percent pledge fulfillment rate. “The success was due to the 100 percent support of the pastors and parish leadership teams,” said Parker. “Last year, 180 priests in the diocese contributed a total of $97,156 to the HOPE Appeal campaign.” This year Parker will be satisfied if the campaign raises enough contributions to meet expenses and have some left over. The 2003 HOPE Appeal campaign finished ahead of the previous year with 40 parishes meeting or exceeding their goal. “Other fundraising organizations in the area did not meet their campaign goals,” said Parker. “That is something we can be proud of.” Some of the programs that are funded by the HOPE Appeal include tuition assistance for Catholic schools, the Newman Centers, Asian and Spanish Apostolates, Catholic TV, hospital chaplains, Family Life and Youth Ministry Programs, Religious Education Programs, Vocation Promotion, the Catholic Deaf Community and many others.
Catholic Charities serves more than 200,000 people in the Diocese of Syracuse annually. Onondaga County Catholic Charities expects to receive $147,000 from the HOPE Appeal Campaign. Executive director Brian Walton said that the funds received from HOPE Appeal help support programs such as child abuse programs, senior services, psychotherapy services, jail ministry programs and shelter services. “The HOPE Appeal funds make up some of or all of the gaps in other funding,” he said. “HOPE Appeal funds supplement a lot of these programs, but don’t make up the whole funding source. We are finding we are getting cuts from other sources which causes us to look at our budget with more vigilance,” said Walton.
Joseph Slavik, area director of Broome County Catholic Charities, agreed with Walton’s view of HOPE Appeal monies filling the gap in funding various programs. “The nice thing about HOPE Appeal is that it allows us the opportunity to match other funding sources, such as state, federal and local monies to enhance the projects the funds are going towards,” said Slavik. Broome County Catholic Charities expects to receive $76,845 dollars from the 2004 HOPE Appeal campaign. Slavik said that money would be spread across a variety of programs covering a variety of populations -–– from youth to senior citizens.
In addition to funding food pantry programs that provide groceries to low income and the working class poor, HOPE Appeal monies will fund CYO and other youth programs, elderly programs such as the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP), and others. “The money is used to underwrite the program as well as help with transportation services that take seniors to various programs in the community,” said Slavik. “RSVP is the only door-to-door service offered in the community in the Broom County area.”
The ongoing demands for quality education result in increased tuition costs for Catholic Schools. The HOPE Appeal makes it possible to allocate more than $500,000 annually by affording approximately 1,700 children the benefit of a Catholic education. The diocese has a long-standing commitment to provide quality education to its students and continues to strive to ensure all schools meet national standards. This is accomplished, in part, through HOPE Appeal funding. The 2004 HOPE Appeal Plan will be initiated through a multi-phased approach that began with regional meetings held in February and March and ending with HOPE Appeal commitment weekend which is scheduled for May 22-23.
In the next six weeks, The Catholic SUN will highlight some of the ministries and programs that are made possible through HOPE Appeal funds.