Diocesan Support Appeal campaign reaches record-breaking $5M mark
CHARLOTTE — For the first time ever, more than $5 million in pledges has been collected by the Diocese of Charlotte for its annual Diocesan Support Appeal, which supports 30-plus ministries that fund more than 50 programs in western North Carolina.
The 2011 fund raising effort, "Let Your Light Shine," is the diocese's most successful DSA campaign ever: $5,017,393 in total pledges as of Dec. 12, more than 10 percent over the goal of $4,560,000. The average gift per donor also grew this year, despite the number of donors dropping slightly from 18,918 in 2010 to 18,371 in 2011.
Barbara Gaddy, associate director of development for the diocese and the coordinator of the DSA since 1995, said she is thankful for donors' generosity, especially given the weakened economy.
"It's a testimony to those who are not hurt by the economic times that they are increasing their giving and stepping up. That says a lot," Gaddy said. "That says to me that those people who are able to give have embraced the sense of stewardship."
This increased sense of stewardship mirrors the national trend over the past couple of years for non-profits, which shows that the number of donors is declining somewhat but the level of giving is growing.
"Despite the economy, people support causes to which they feel the most attachment and engagement," said Jim Kelley, director of development for the Diocese of Charlotte and immediate past president of the International Catholic Stewardship Council.
Sixty-two parishes or missions, 67 percent of the diocese, have exceeded their fund raising goals in pledges. All outstanding pledges for the 2011 DSA campaign are due by year's end.
The 2011 DSA will be closed the first week in January, and parishes that have not reached their goal in payments will be billed for the balance, Gaddy said. Likewise, parishes that exceed their goal will get back a rebate for the extra amount collected.
The DSA specifically helps provide funding for Catholic Social Services, the Diocese of Charlotte Housing Ministry, Educational Ministries, Multi-Cultural Ministries and Vocations, among others.
"The DSA is ultimately about making an impact in the lives of our parishioners year in, year out, through our 30-plus ministries," Kelley said. "Just one of those ministries, our seminarian program, has prepared 42 men for the priesthood over the past 13 years."
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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