#iGiveCatholic raises awareness, gives opportunity to give thanks, give back

North Texas Catholic
(Jul 9, 2020) Local

Students participate in a lesson at St. George Catholic School.

Students participate in a lesson at St. George Catholic School in this 2018 file photo.  The #IgiveCatholic giving day on Dec. 1 will benefit parishes, schools, and ministries in the Diocese of Fort Worth. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

FORT WORTH — Faithful in North Texas will soon be able to tap into a convenient, community-driven way of giving financial support to local Catholic parishes, nonprofits, and schools.

The Diocese of Fort Worth’s upcoming #iGiveCatholic online giving day represents more than simply an appeal for financial support, said Renee Underwood, chief operating officer of the Advancement Foundation for the Diocese of Fort Worth, who explained it’s also a way of bringing the Catholic community together.

“It’s awareness and fundraising at the same time,” Underwood said. “It’s kind of this combined Catholic voice and it speaks about the impact our diocese is making.”

Declared the “most successful Catholic crowdfunding event to date” by the National Catholic Register, #iGiveCatholic is a 24-hour giving day held nationally on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.

Kristine Webb, development director of Holy Trinity Catholic School in Grapevine, called it a great evangelization opportunity for the diocese in general and its schools in particular.

“It will be a one-stop shop for Catholics to give to Fort Worth Catholic organizations to strengthen our community,” Webb said. “It will also help engage many Catholics in our diocese about our schools and their vast needs. And the platform will make it easy for them to learn more about each school and how their gift can make a difference.”

Bishop Michael Olson recently approved the diocese’s participation in the #iGiveCatholic Giving Day, which falls on Dec. 1. Although this marks the diocese’s first year of participation, the program is now in its sixth year.

Diocesan and school leaders’ thinking, Underwood explained, was to bring a Catholic focus to already existing events such as #GivingTuesday and North Texas Giving Day.

The #iGiveCatholic has grown consistently since 2015, said Wendy Collins, director of stewardship and parish relations, both in participation and total donations both online and offline.

“Last fall, 39 partnering dioceses raised more than $7.4 million for 3,500 plus participating parishes, schools, and ministries,” Collins said.

Participation in the program is open to every parish, school, ministry, and nonprofit organization within the diocese, Underwood said. Partnership, she said, improves impact and outreach.

“A lot of people give [to the diocese] all year in different ways, which is great.” Underwood said.

“What’s special about #iGiveCatholic is that all our Catholic entities in the diocese are simultaneously going to use the full force of our social media, email channels, and bulletins to have one collective voice on a day when people are likely to give.”

The program should also help increase awareness of the diocese’s many ministries and organizations, some of which many people in the diocese may be unaware of, Underwood said, and promote opportunities for people to support and/or become involved with those entities.

Through one landing page the diocese will host individual profile pages for each participating entity and allow for secure online and offline donations to the entities of the donor’s choosing.

“Each [participating entity] gets to choose what they want their funds from that day to go to,” Underwood said. “So maybe that’s a building campaign for a parish, tuition assistance for a school; it’s up to them.”

Catholic schools, for example, face many challenges, Webb said.

“Overall, 20 percent of Catholic schools are closing across the United States,” Webb said. “Now, with COVID-19, funding to help support our schools operationally is paramount.”

For example, #iGiveCatholic participation will help Holy Trinity Catholic School address tuition assistance, costs relating to adapting school operations around COVID-19, and technology costs among others, Webb said.

The diocese’s decision to participate in the program is especially appreciated at this time, Webb said.

“Due to COVID-19, fundraising through in-person events will be limited” or even unfeasible this year, Webb said. “The #iGiveCatholic platform will allow us to create excitement about our school and provide an easy way for people to donate.”

Katelin Cortney, strategic communications and creative director of Catholic Charities Fort Worth, which has also signed on to participate, agreed.

“We’re grateful to use our voice in this campaign to reach people in our diocese who may not have engaged with us before,” Cortney said. “We are honored to stand in solidarity with Catholic organizations who continue to make life-changing impacts on our communities, especially during this particularly tough season.”

The push now is to encourage as many parishes, schools, apostolates, and organizations as possible to sign on to participate by the Aug. 1 deadline to be able to participate in the Aug. 18 training webinar.

Participation, Collins said, comes at no cost to the entities.

“All our organizations are doing great things,” Collins said. “And this is a wonderful, exciting way to promote all the wonderful things we as Catholics are doing.”

Advancement Foundation President Clint Weber concurred.

“What a wonderful opportunity for our Catholic community to be faithful stewards of the gifts God has given us by using the #iGiveCatholic Giving Day platform to support the Diocese of Fort Worth,” he said. “Every donation makes a difference and has a positive impact on our organizations and the Catholic Church as a whole.”

Entities interested in participating should contact Collins at 817-945-9443 or .

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