by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When Gov. Laura Kelly issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state beginning March 30 because of the COVID-19 virus, all Catholic parishes were left scrambling to find ways to minister to their flocks.
Because in-person Masses were canceled, some parishes turned to livestreaming Masses over the internet — if they had the equipment and know-how.
Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park was one of many that had neither. But they had to do something quickly.
A temporary fix was found.
“A parishioner (Mike Brown) stepped up and livestreamed over his Verizon cellphone account onto our parish Facebook page, and then he copied it there onto our parish website,” said Paul Coquillette, parish business manager.
Shortly after that, Coquillette began investigating livestreaming equipment and drew up a proposal to present to the parish finance council. The unexpected capital expense of the equipment was paid for out of parish reserves. But now that expense — $30,000 — needs to be made up.
That’s why Queen of the Holy Rosary is participating in this year’s #iGiveCatholic online crowdfunding event on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1.
55 ways to give
This is the fourth year that the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas will participate in #iGiveCatholic and 55 archdiocesan organizations are participating — parishes, schools and Catholic nonprofits.
#iGiveCatholic is different from traditional fundraising campaigns because it’s online, most of the donations are small and the campaign reaches out to a whole different segment of the population. Donors can give to one organization or as many as they want. The minimum donation amount is $25.
The online platform specific to the archdiocese is: kansascity.igivecatholic.org. Donors can go to the site and search for a specific organization to which they want to donate. A search can be done by name, location or cause.
Another option is to go browse through the “wish lists” of several organizations by clicking on “View All” under the blue “Search” button.
Another way to access the online giving platform is through the archdiocesan website at: archkck.org/igivecatholic.
Opportunities to match
Resurrection Catholic School at the Cathedral in Kansas City, Kansas, is asking donors give with the future in mind.
“This year we are asking that all of the proceeds go to our newly established endowment fund,” said Felicia Holcomb, director of development for the school.
In October, an anonymous donor gave $10,000 to the school to establish an endowment fund. This same donor is willing to contribute up to $5,000 in additional funds to match #iGiveCatholic donations to the school’s endowment.
“We’re really excited we get to have this established where we can ensure a Catholic education to Resurrection students in the future,” said Holcomb.
If donors don’t want to give to Resurrection’s endowment fund, they can give to the school’s general fund.
Gifts that keep on giving
Villa St. Francis, meanwhile, a Catholic nursing home in Olathe, is using the opportunity to launch its “Your Best Christmas” campaign.
The aim, they say, is to get archdiocesan Catholics to focus on what’s important this year and to make themselves happier in the process. According to recent studies, people who spend more on others — on “prosocial” spending, to a charity like Villa St. Francis, for example — are happier than if they spent the money on themselves.
Villa St. Francis is attempting to raise $20,000, a figure that will fund an entire year’s worth of enjoyable activities for the community.
“We strive to promote and maintain our residents’ highest functional abilities by providing a variety of engaging opportunities. We understand how important meaningful activities are to their emotional well-being,” said Priscilla Salinas, life enrichment director. “When you donate to Villa St. Francis, you are providing a better quality of life for our residents.”
Finally, for the first time ever, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas office of Catholic schools is asking for funds to thank school administrators, teachers and staff at Catholic schools across the archdiocese. The school office wants to thank them for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering them treats, gifts and lunches.
Need greater than ever
The success of this year’s #iGiveCatholic campaign is especially important because of the COVID-19 pandemic, say organizers. This is a safe and secure way to donate to your favorite cause.
“This year more than ever, #iGive Catholic is supporting participating parishes, schools and ministries in reaching and engaging their communities during a time when many in-person events are limited or canceled,” said Kathryn Robards, marketing coordinator for the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas.
“[This campaign] is allowing them to fundraise for amazing projects that will expand the ways in which they serve the community, especially during these unprecedented circumstances,” she continued. “We are proud and excited to have another successful Giving Tuesday.”
#iGiveCatholic will begin precisely at midnight on Dec. 1 and run for a full 24 hours. If, for some reason, people can’t give on Dec. 1, the iGiveCatholic.org website will open for advance giving from Nov. 16 to 30.
In instances where a person opts not to give online, participating organizations will provide envelopes for #iGive Catholic donations.