From: Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
I am pleased to announce that the Office of Development and Stewardship of the Archdiocese of Newark has exceeded its $9 Million goal for the 2021 Annual Appeal. This is the first time in more than ten years that the Annual Appeal, the archdiocese’s flagship fundraising effort, has surpassed its goal.
The Appeal’s success comes in the wake of another challenging year for the archdiocese. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, Catholics throughout the archdiocese continued their commitment to support the Appeal, which provides funding solely for the programs and ministries at the heart of the archdiocese’s Catholic mission. These ministries include Proclaiming the Gospel (evangelization, ministry to multi-ethnic communities, family life programs, and international missions), Passing on the Faith (tuition support for Catholic schools, and funding of youth and young adult programs, Catechetics, and campus ministries), Caring for the Poor and Vulnerable (Catholic Charities, ministry with persons with disabilities, pro-life efforts, protection of the faithful, and hospital and prison ministries), and Forming Future Priests & Supporting Retired Clergy (continuing formation for priests, seminarian education, and priest health care).
Despite the continued difficult climate, the success of this year’s appeal is a testament to the faith, generosity and commitment of the people of this archdiocese to sustain the vital Church ministries that enhance the lives of our sisters and brothers in Christ. I am deeply grateful that Catholics continue to renew their faith in Christ and to be engaged in the vibrant life of our Church.
The 2021 Annual Appeal began in January and included the participation of 212 archdiocesan parishes and more than 25,000 households in Bergen, Union, Hudson, and Essex counties within the footprint of the Archdiocese of Newark. The total number of 2021 Appeal donors increased 21% compared to last year.
Several factors contributed to the success of this year’s effort. Chief among them is the robust participation of pastors and other parish leaders who supported the Appeal in their parishes and highlighted the importance of the archdiocese’s Catholic mission, its services, and fundraising efforts.
I am grateful to the pastors, clergy, parish staff and volunteers who partnered with the Office of Development and Stewardship and found ways to emphasize our Catholic mission and engage their parish communities in contributing to the Appeal. Additionally, I offer a tremendous and heartfelt thank you to the many generous donors who continue to say ‘yes’ in support of our service to bring Christ’s help and hope to the people of our communities.
Online giving platforms also made donations easier this year. For example, Catholics were able to use cell phones to make a gift during in-person worship collections or while at home celebrating Mass virtually. In addition, with many parishes live-streaming Masses, pastors could reach numerous individuals, including new and inactive donors and others beyond the parish community. As a result, online giving more than doubled in revenue generated compared to previous years.
Another factor contributing to this year’s Appeal success was the option for donors to designate or restrict a gift to a specific ministry. While the Appeal funds more than 20 archdiocesan programs and ministries, Catholic Charities and missions under the “Caring for the Poor and Vulnerable” area were among the highest of interest. This is an indication that donors are responsive to initiatives supporting people who need immediate relief. According to the Office of Development and Stewardship, donors have responded positively to seeing their gifts immediately support essential services and urgent needs led by Catholic Charities and the Respect Life Office, which spearheads The Mercy House.
Similarly, donors were responsive to the immediate financial needs of archdiocesan parishes when the public celebration of Mass was suspended in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many parishes suffered a sharp drop in church donations following the loss of in-person Mass attendance. Consequently, the archdiocese utilized the GoFundMe Charity’s virtual fundraising platform to connect all parishes and create a single coordinated response to support Mass live streams and critical tithing to sustain the needs of individual parish communities while keeping them connected and engaged. Within the first week, donations exceeded $100,000. At the conclusion of the fundraising initiative in September 2021, the archdiocese’s GoFundMe Charity efforts raised $1,000,080.
The Archdiocese of Newark’s 2021 Annual Appeal runs through December. More information about the ministries supported by the Appeal and how to contribute can be accessed online at www.rcan.org/sharing.
Thank you again to all who joined in this special effort.