Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Charities’ 2012 Christmas Collection reaches $1 million goal

the Inland Register

(From the February 21, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

Catholic Charities has reached its $1 million goal for its recently concluded Christmas Collection, marking an all-time record in the 101-year history of the organization.

Dr. Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, announced the good news to staff earlier this month.

“This marks one of the most wonderful moments in the great history of Catholic Charities, but also marks an important moment in the history and life of the Catholic Church in Eastern Washington,” said McCann. “Our Catholic faith and Catholic work is seen throughout the community in so many great Catholic organizations and groups both big and small – in our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic schools, and our Catholic Charities. Reaching this goal reminds the entire community of the incredible work that is done by and supported by an active and involved Catholic faith community.”

This year’s goal was set at $1 million, up from the goal of $800,000 in previous years. The goal was increased mostly due to profound and on-going reductions in the amount of governmental monies available to Catholic Charities and other social services agencies in the area.

For example, this year, the House of Charity, Catholic Charities’ main homeless shelter, has no governmental monies or grants in its sleeping program for the first time in over 50 years.

“With the loss of public money, we were forced to pray for and have faith in the great generosity of the private sector and the community,” said McCann.

Roughly 20 percent of Catholic Charities’ private donations come from non-Catholics who support the agency’s mission and appreciate the fact that although Catholic Charities is a ministry of the Church, 90 percent of the people served are not Catholic, and 90 percent of the 240 employees are not Catholic. With the motto “need, not creed,” there is neither evangelical component nor religious requirement or any kind in order to receive services at Catholic Charities.

“We always remind people that we don’t serve people because they’re Catholic, we serve people because we are Catholic, it’s our job to do it, it’s our belief that every human person is made in image and likeness of God and deserves dignity and respect,” McCann said.

Reaching the goal also represents the dawn of an innovative, new and even risky fundraising philosophy embraced by Catholic Charities in the past two years.

Catholic Charities has begun a new effort towards raising money not only for its own programs, but also for other, unrelated local groups whose mission assists the effort to reduce the effects of poverty, even though they are not a part of Catholic Charities.

For example, in the past year, Catholic Charities was instrumental in helping to start the Nazareth Guild, a non-profit foundation designed to help raise money for low-income and working poor children to be able to attend Catholic Schools. Catholic Charities Board leadership felt strongly that a key way to fight inter-generational poverty is through education, and especially Catholic education, where 99 percent of students go on to attend college. Many significant major gifts in the 2012 fundraising effort were given to Catholic Charities from donors who were especially and specifically grateful for Catholic Charities’ work to help the Nazareth guild. Said McCann, “A good tide raises all the boats. We know that our donors and the community at large want to see organizations working together and helping each other, not competing against one another.”

With the $1 million goal reached, Catholic Charities will be able to cover most of the costs of its 13 programs and 900 units of affordable housing all over the 13 counties of Eastern Washington, serving over 75,000 different persons each year.

At the request of Bishop Blase Cupich, 54 different diocesan parishes invited Catholic Charities leaders to visit their weekend Masses during Advent to share information about the good works of Catholic Charities in serving the most vulnerable individuals and families in need, while encouraging parishioners to support the work through the Christmas Collection.

The majority of donations towards the $1 million raised came from the pastors and members of these parish communities.

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