by Olivia Martin
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday . . . they are all just leading up to the big event: Giving Tuesday.
For the second year in a row, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is participating in the nationwide #iGiveCatholic campaign to fundraise for local organizations on Nov. 27.
While the campaign is part of a national movement, archdiocesan donors have the opportunity to support archdiocesan parishes and other local Catholic agencies of their choosing.
Kathryn Robards, the marketing coordinator for the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas, is now on her second go-round as the archdiocesan head of the campaign.
“Being able to support organizations within the archdiocese allows [them] to better serve the community and those who are a part of their parish, school or ministry,” said Robards.
Support that makes a difference
This year, 47 archdiocesan organizations are participating in the event. It’s the first time for over half of them.
Many of those participating have a specific project in mind, so donors will know exactly what they’re giving to.
“[Projects] can be as small as getting a new laminator for the teachers’ lounge to the renovation of a rectory,” said Robards. “No case is too small or too big.”
One example is Holy Family Parish in Eudora.
In 2015, Holy Family built a new church. But their plans for a finished basement with classrooms for religious education and meetings is yet to be realized.
“Our #iGiveCatholic money is going to go to help get the basement project finished and go toward repayment of our loan on the church,” said Molly Pratt, director of religious education at Holy Family.
“Our basement project is going to be a huge gift to our parish,” she continued.
For Sacred Heart-St. Casimir Parish in Leavenworth, an updated rectory was long overdue.
And with the arrival of Father Marianand Mendem from India scheduled for January 2019, the parish thought a good-as-new rectory would be the perfect way to welcome him.
“We took the carpet up and sanded and sealed the floors and remodeled the bathroom and painted,” said Sheila Thibault, office manager at Sacred Heart-St. Casimir Parish.
“We spent about $14,000 and we have about half of that covered,” she said. “We’re hoping to recoup the rest of that during the #iGiveCatholic campaign.”
Some parishes are fundraising on behalf of other parishes or schools with more limited resources.
For example, Good Shepherd Church in Shawnee is partnering with Christ the King School in Kansas City, Kansas. The computers in the school’s lab are outdated to the point that the software is no longer able to update.
Good Shepherd hopes to help the school fundraise about $36,000 for a new computer server and 30 computers.
This year, the donation website has been updated to make the experience more user-friendly.
“If you want to donate to multiple organizations, it’s like a shopping cart,” said Robards. “You have one transaction and the money is dispersed to the organizations depending on how you allocated it.”
New this year as well is the opportunity to watch donations accumulate in real time.
“For those folks who are not very tech-savvy, they are still able to donate [to the campaign] off the platform” said Robards. “Our admins will be able to insert offline donations on the platform so the total raised is more accurate.”
All offline donors have to do is give a check or cash to their chosen organizations by Nov. 27.
Early giving is currently available on the #iGiveCatholic website. Donations will close at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 27.
“This time of year, a lot of people are looking for ways to give back and be generous,” said Pratt.
“We are really grateful that people [continue to] choose to share their blessings with us,” she added.