Giving Tuesday lived up to its name in the Diocese of Knoxville as 25 parishes, schools, and ministries received more than $61,000 in support for a variety of projects through the #iGiveCatholic campaign.
Giving Tuesday was organized a few years ago in response to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday efforts to motivate consumers at the start of the Christmas shopping season.
As part of Giving Tuesday, an #iGiveCatholic campaign was started in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and grew to include 17 dioceses and archdioceses around the country in 2017. This was the first year of participation for the Diocese of Knoxville.
“Surpassing $61,000 in our first year of this 24-hour campaign is inspiring, and I think it exceeded most everyone’s expectations,” said diocesan Assistant Director of Stewardship Allison DiGennaro.
Overall, parishes, schools and ministries in the diocese received $61,171 in gifts.
The Office of Stewardship expects the total to increase when offline giving is completely tallied.
“First and foremost, this was a parish- and ministry-based effort. They decided specific projects they wanted to fund, and they pushed their message through various forms of social media,” Ms. DiGennaro said. “It was really up to them. Our stewardship office and the #iGiveCatholic campaign provided the tools and guidance, but the parishes, schools, and ministries deserve the credit for the success of this campaign.”
Of the 25 parishes, schools, and ministries that participated, St. Joseph Catholic School in Knoxville led the way in online giving with $8,030 received. The funds will be used to improve the primary school playground and provide new furnishings for the middle school.
“We had a goal of $6,000 dollars which I thought was pretty aggressive,” said St. Joseph School Advancement Director Howie Sompayrac. “The thing that I thought was exciting and different was having just one day where you are rallying your community– it was kind of special.”
St. Joseph raised $8,603 in combined online and offline giving.
“We had a big golf tournament at the end of October, and our school is participating in a calendar sale for 2018, so we weren’t sure about this, but we had a great response. The school’s alumni really jumped in to help. We are very grateful,” said St. Joseph Principal Andy Zengel.
Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga raised $7,280 in online gifts. Overall, diocesan Catholic schools participating in the #iGiveCatholic campaign raised nearly $25,000 in online and offline giving.
Participating parishes in the diocese raised nearly $23,000 in combined giving. St. Thomas the Apostle in Lenoir City raised $8,435 for their youth ministry. St. Therese of Lisieux in Cleveland raised $4,150 to help provide educational meeting space in their parish family life center as well as other parish projects.
Catholic Charities of East Tennessee used social media to draw attention to their effort. Catholic Charities raised more than $11,000 in combined giving.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to raise money for a very specific effort. Thanks to those who contributed to Catholic Charities of East Tennessee on Giving Tuesday, we are now closer to our overall goal of expanding living space at Samaritan Place. These generous gifts will have a direct, immediate, and positive impact on senior citizens in our community who need a place to live,” said Catholic Charities Chief Operating Officer Lisa Healy.
Catholic Charities posted a variety of videos to social media to highlight their effort to expand services at Samaritan Place.
“We had fun with our messaging. Social media played a huge role in making people aware of our goal. Our homemade videos spoke of a serious goal to expand living space at Samaritan Place, but we realized we had to capture an audience and we think we did that effectively,” added Catholic Charities Development Director Christine White.
Nationally, with 17 dioceses and archdioceses participating, the #iGiveCatholic campaign raised $3.6 million.
All of the money raised goes directly to the parishes, schools, and ministries.