Online day of giving surpasses goals, earns $1.8 million

ic_fbbanner_v1By Rebecca Harris
JACKSON –Organizers have deemed the 2016 #iGiveCatholic initiative a huge success for the six participating dioceses. More than $1.8 million was raised from 6,000 donors. This surpassed the goal of $1.5 million.
#iGiveCatholic was an online giving event that provide our parishes, schools, ministries, and not-for-profits affiliated with the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Diocese of Austin, Diocese of Baton Rouge, Diocese of Biloxi, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, and Diocese of Jackson the opportunity to connect with donors and establish relationships with new donors. The goal of #iGiveCatholic is to inspire the Catholic community to come together as faithful stewards and to “Give Catholic” on #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving back.
The diocese of Jackson raised more than $115,000.  “We were so overwhelmed by the response from our community stakeholders. This being the first year, we had no idea what to expect, so we set a modest goal of $5,000. We had no idea that we would almost triple that,” said Ann Roberson, Development of Vicksburg Catholic Schools. “It was a great way to reach potential donors with whom we have lost contact. Social media and online marketing are a great way to reach donors and alumni, and this fundraising event proved that. We are looking forward to participating again next year, and build off of this year’s success,” Roberson added.
Advance day giving began Nov. 18 for those donors who would not be available on Nov. 29.  Organizers began seeing donations on Nov. 29 starting at midnight and they continued throughout the day until 11:59 p.m. Throughout the day Jackson diocese parishes, schools and organizations creatively used social media to encourage donors to support their projects.
The fundraising team for Clarksdale St. Elizabeth Parish took their fun pretty seriously, transforming local photos and pop culture references to create memes or photos with captions to illustrate the project they wanted to complete with money raised – paving the parking lot. In one photo, Father Scott Thomas, an avid biker, is seen being swallowed by a pothole.

Father Scott Thomas, pastor of Clarksdale St. Elizabeth, used humor to get more donations during the lead up to #iGiveCatholic. (Photo courtesy of Father Scott Thomas)

Father Scott Thomas, pastor of Clarksdale St. Elizabeth, used humor to get more donations during the lead up to #iGiveCatholic. (Photo courtesy of Father Scott Thomas)

“This has been a great reminder and teaching experience that fundraising doesn’t have to be a chore. Instead it can be fun and really bring folks together. I can’t take full credit for the memes we created and used. It was the fruit of a group of us working together,” said Father  Thomas, pastor of St. Elizabeth and Immaculate Conception parishes.
Schools posted videos of students asking donors to give Catholic and other parishes just posted stories about their projects.
Since social media was used to get the word out about iGiveCatholic day of giving, parishes and schools saved the usual expenses associated with a fundraising effort, nor did it take a large committee or hours of preparation. Madison St. Joseph School participated and raised more than $5,800. Lauri Collins, development director, is already looking forward to next year.
“I give Catholic was a dream day for our one-man development office. Being part of the big team with the other groups made my job so much easier,” said Collins. “I am grateful to The Catholic Foundation for being the trainer, the collector and the cheerleader throughout the campaign. And I am most grateful to the quick, helpful response when I had a problem that Tuesday morning. The one-day aspect made donating money exciting; that is not always the case. We are already looking forward to next year,” she added.

PEARL – Father Joseph Le shoots a video with Father Jeffrey Waldrep and Stacie Wolfe of St. Jude Parish. The team was able to raise $8,000 for their windows through #igiveCatholic.

PEARL – Father Joseph Le shoots a video with Father Jeffrey Waldrep and Stacie Wolfe of St. Jude Parish. The team was able to raise $8,000 for their windows through #igiveCatholic.

The Catholic Foundation of Jackson funded this effort so that there would be no cost to any parishes, schools or organizations. We wanted everyone to be able to participate in this day of giving. We did not want anyone to have to raise money to participate, we only wanted them to raise money for their projects. This was such an opportunity for Catholics to join together and show what a giving spirit we have. I was so pleased with the results. And I am looking forward to next year having more parishes and raising more money to support the wonderful works going on in our diocese.  The Jackson diocese will participate again next year, so save the date for Nov. 28, 2017, and give Catholic on that day.
(Rebecca Harris is the executive director of the Catholic Foundation.)

Foundation honors Bellan

Jack Bellan, at right, surrounded by friends and family, accepts the Good Steward Award from Rebecca Harris, executive director of the Catholic Foundation. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

Jack Bellan, at right, surrounded by friends and family, accepts the Good Steward Award from Rebecca Harris, executive director of the Catholic Foundation. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

JACKSON – The Catholic Foundation hosted it’s annual board meeting and dinner at the Country Club of Jackson on Wednesday, Nov. 2. At the dinner, Jack Bellan received the Good Steward Award in honor of his many years of commitment to the foundation and the Diocese of Jackson.
Bellan, a Vicksburg native and graduate of St. Aloysius School, served in the Navy during the Korean conflict and later practiced law for more than 50 years. He joined the foundation in 1993 and began serving on the board of directors in 1995.
He raised his family in Jackson, sending his children to St. Richard and St. Joseph Schools. Members of the executive board presented an overview of the work the foundation has done during the past year, the financial and investment reports and a look at the latest endeavor, #iGiveCatholic.
The Foundation is the organizing sponsor of #iGiveCatholic, a one-day online giving blitz set for Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Foundation offers one-day giving blitz opportunity

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Parishes, schools and organizations have the opportunity to participate in a unique fund-raising idea this year, thanks to the work of the Catholic Foundation and iGiveCatholic.
#GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The idea was simple, the day after Thanksgiving came to be known as Black Friday as people started their Christmas shopping. This was followed by Cyber Monday, again focused on shopping.
The team behind Giving Tuesday thought there should be a day for people to give back to their communities during the holidays. They created an online movement encouraging people to give to their favorite charity on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and announce their donation online using the hashtag #GivingTuesday as a way to encourage others to donate.
The idea has expanded so people can now honor their faith with their donation. Five dioceses have joined forces this year to create #iGiveCatholic. The Catholic Foundation has offered every parish and school in the Diocese of Jackson a spot on the #iGiveCatholic website. On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the faithful can make a secure, tax-deductible donation and urge others to do the same by posting an #iGiveCatholic status on social media. The organizations keep all the money while iGiveCatholic manages the website and infrastructure.
“I am so excited about this opportunity for us to join #iGiveCatholic. We all know how generous Mississippians can be, and on this day through social media we will be able to reach those alumni and parishioners that have moved away,” said Rebecca Harris, executive director of the Catholic Foundation. “I hope on Nov. 29 everyone will go to the Jackson Diocese facebook page and help us spread the word by sharing our posts.”
Once the parishes and schools are signed up, there will be a way to pledge a donation in advance of #iGiveCatholic day. Parishes and schools can also promote the day as creatively as they would like beforehand. Look for more details and a list of participants in upcoming issues of Mississippi Catholic.

Golfers turn out for Catholic Foundation

GLUCKSTADT – The 2014 Bishop’s Cup golf tournament attracted more than 80 golfers to sunny Lake Caroline Golf Course in Madison County. The tournament helps fund the Catholic Foundation of the diocese.

Father Patrick Noonan looks over items in the silent auction at the dinner following the Bishop's Cup golf tournament.

Father Patrick Noonan looks over items in the silent auction at the dinner following the Bishop’s Cup golf tournament.

Teams from parishes vie for the Bishop’s Cup trophy each year. St. Paul Parish in Flowood captured the trophy this year in the new “scramble” format instead of individual stroke play, which had been used in previous tournaments.
St. Paul had four parish teams competing in the tournament. Twelve other parishes had at least one team vying for the trophy and bragging rights for the year. With a scramble score of 55, St. Paul parishioners Dave Clements, Michael Kimbrell, Sean Oakley and Will White made up the winning foursome. Bishop Joseph Kopacz presented them with the trophy at the tournament banquet. St. Dominic Health Services’ team had the second lowest score with a 57.
Other golfers came from Greenwood, the defending champions; Brookhaven, Clinton, Jackson, Leland, Madison Natchez and Vicksburg. For the third year, St. Aloysius High School in Vicksburg has sent members of their golf team to play.
Bishop Kopacz tested his golfing skills along with several other members of the clergy. One foursome even included Father John Kuntz, a priest visiting from Minnesota. Father Charles Loyacono represented the Delta clergy, and Nick Adam represented the diocesan seminarians.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz shares some closing remarks with the banquet attendees following the golf tournament. (Photos by Mary Woodward)

Bishop Joseph Kopacz shares some closing remarks with the banquet attendees following the golf tournament. (Photos by Mary Woodward)

For many years the tournament was held at Colonial Country Club in Jackson, but Colonial closed this past year. Foundation golf committee members, led by chairperson, Steve Carmody, settled on Lake Caroline because of its links-style natural features and the close proximity of the Mermaid Restaurant, which hosted the tournament banquet.
Despite the course club house burning to the ground last spring, the tournament went on with great spirit, sport and camaraderie among the golfers. The day was on the cool side with a strong breeze, but the sun shone down upon the links providing some warmth as the day went on.
At the evening banquet golf prizes were awarded and attendees were able to bid on artwork, vacation packages, and various other objet d’art. More than 100 attended the evening festivities.
According to Rebecca Harris, executive director of the Foundation, this year’s tournament saw an increase in sponsors and golfers from last year. “The new ‘scramble’ format and venue provided a lot of excitement. We certainly appreciate all of our sponsors, players and vendors who helped make this year’s tournament such a success,” Harris remarked.
This year’s sponsors were: Acme Printing Co.; Bank Plus; Benchmark Construction Corp.; Brunini, Grantham, Grower and Hewes, PLLC.; Capital Glass Company, Inc.; Citizens National Bank; Coker & Palmer, Inc.; D2; Earle and Irene Jones, Ergon; Home-Land Title Real Estate Service; Insurance & Risk Managers; Insurance Consulting GroupKim and Gary Taylor; Lefoldt and Associates; Mike and Diane Pumphrey; Nucor Steel Jackson, Inc.; Old River Companies, Inc.; Raymond James; Rusty’s Boat; Southland Management; St. Dominic Health Services, and Tico’s.

Bishop’s cup sports new format

091914bishopcuplogoJACKSON – The 2014 Bishop’s Cup will feature a new scoring format for golfers and a new location. The tournament, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Jackson, was held for the past several years at Colonial Country Club in Jackson. This past spring Colonial closed so tournament organizers looked for a new location.
The newly refurbished Lake Caroline Golf Course in Madison will be the new site and with the new location comes the new format of a “scramble” instead of individual stroke play when the tournament kicks off Thursday, Nov. 6. Previously golfers played their own ball the entire 18 holes and the four lowest scores from parish players would be tallied. The parish with the four lowest scores would win the Bishop’s Cup and take home the trophy until the next year.
Now golfers will be put in foursomes representing one parish and will scramble for the trophy. A scramble is basically playing from the best shot. All four players tee off. The team then chooses the best tee shot and then all play the next shot from that spot. This cycle occurs until the ball is putted into the hole.
The scramble format is faster than stroke play and is more relaxing to play because one depends on teammates to help get the best result.
Parishes can field more than one team. Individual golfers are welcome to play and will be placed in a foursome. That team will have to declare a parish prior to teeing off or they can just enjoy a day of golf without competing. Either way they will be raising funds     for the Catholic Foundation, which supports necessary projects of diocesan parishes, missions and schools through grants.
“We are very excited about the new format and location,” said Rebecca Harris, executive director of the Catholic Foundation. “Golfers will experience a great day being on the links and raising funds to help many of our parishes and missions,” Harris added.
The day concludes with a silent auction and dinner at the Mermaid Restaurant, which is just down the road from the course.
Bishop Joseph Brunini and 23 visionary Catholic leaders from throughout the Diocese of Jackson established the Catholic Foundation in 1973. Their enthusiasm was focused on creating a way to encourage and assist the people of the diocese to provide for the future financial security of their parishes, schools, and other organizations under the auspices of the diocese.
Since then, the Foundation has grown both monetarily and in the number of endowments under its management. In 1973, the managed assets were $173,691 with four endowments, and by 1992 assets were $2,463,356 with 115 endowments.
Today, the Catholic Foundation manages 390 trust funds and insurance policies with more than $20 million in assets. Most parishes and schools in the diocese now have at least one trust to provide for future financial stability. For more information or to sign up for the tournament contact Harris at (601) 969-1880.

Foundation grants available for parish projects

Summer camps, day trips and health checks for the elderly, new computers for schools. These are just a handful of the projects made possible by grants from the Catholic Foundation. Every year parishes and schools are invited to submit requests for programs or special projects they would like to do, but can’t cover in their usual budgets.


GREENWOOD – Students gather around a computer at St. Francis School to watch a webcast of the ordination of Bishop Joseph Kopacz in February. A grant from the Catholic Foundation helped put new computers in classrooms at the school for this and other educational activities. (file photo by Sr. Mary Ann Tupy)

Mound Bayou’s St. Gabriel Mercy Center uses a grant for a senior outreach program. A group of 20 seniors took more than a dozen field trips last year, including a couple to the B.B. King museum for fun, and some to health care centers for health checks. The grant report stated that some of the participants have lost weight and improved their blood pressure since starting the program. The group also meets weekly for conversations, birthday parties, art and jewelry projects and continuing education. Grant money helps pay for healthy meals for the seniors, even when they are on their field trips.
At Camden Sacred Heart, 45 young people had the opportunity to go to two different summer camps. The first, in June, focused on academics, helping the kids prevent what teachers call the “summer slide” of losing skills when they are out of class. The second camp, in late July, was all about human development. Campers and counselors talked about conflict management, anger and how to solve problems. In his grant progress report, Father Raul Ventura, ST, pastor, thanked the Foundation for its contribution to the camps.080814foundation
“Our children need this program, especially in this isolated part of the country where they are often forgotten,” he wrote. The camps also provide opportunities for young people in the area. This year two former campers worked as youth leaders and a third acted as a leader in training. These are new positions for the program and they let the teens get much-needed leadership experience.
Students at Greenwood St. Francis School took advantage of new computers for their classrooms thanks to Foundation grant money. The school used a grant and money from a fund raiser to put eight new machines in use before Christmas last year. Sister Mary Ann Tupy, OSF, principal said the teachers really appreciate the speed and ease of access the new equipment offers.
Other grants funded advanced training in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for Stacy Wolf at Pearl St. Jude Parish, food pantries, walkway coverings and other property improvements at other parishes and communities.
“No project is too big or too small for consideration,” said Rebecca Harris, Foundation executive director. “We have found that there are lots of creative ideas out there that could get done with a little help,” she added. The foundation accepts applications through the end of August. A progress report on each project is due by the following August. Parishes and schools can find the application and the progress report forms on the Catholic Foundation website,