The Diocese of Oakland's Capital Campaign, a fundraising effort to support its ministries and parishes, has raised about $15 million in gifts and pledges.
Parishes were divided into two groups for the campaign, 32 parishes would start their fundraising efforts in the second half of 2014 and 45 parishes in the first half of 2015. Some parishes are conducting capital campaigns for their own parishes, and those campaigns are combined with the diocesan effort. There is an effort to solicit major donors for commitments in excess of $100,000, currently about $3.6 million.
"Two things" are helping the campaign be successful, said Kelly Storrs, an executive with Guidance in Giving Inc., the firm helping conduct the Capital Campaign, Reclaiming Christ's Mission Together.
First is "leadership from the clergy — they are leading by example," she said. The average contribution from priests so far is $8,152.
Second, Storrs said, are "the committed volunteers and committee members who are putting so much time into the campaign."
Parish volunteers are making thousands of phone calls, making food for receptions, manning tables after Masses, all to encourage people to support the Capital Campaign, she said.
The pastors and volunteers in Block One, the first group of parishes, have done an amazing job, she said. In two parishes where pastors took ill, St. John Vianney and St. Callistus, lay leadership took over.
Priests and committee members of Block Two parishes are invited to the kick-off for that phase of the campaign on Jan. 22. There is some overlap between blocks because parishes begin their campaigns on a staggered calendar over several months, so follow-up from Block One will continue through 2015. Block One parishes will start getting their rebates (25 percent of funds stay in the parish) in April.
"A lot of the pastors have stepped up," said Ken Hokenson, director of the Office for Mission Advancement. "None of the numbers reflect that this is the first time the diocese has reached out to the parishes to create a partnership."
"This is the first capital campaign of this magnitude," Hokenson said. "We have never gone diocesan-wide with a pledge campaign. This is new for everybody," and many people are not used to this sort of giving.
Much of the effort has gone into parish meetings. "People are hungry for information," Storrs said. "They want to get to know our bishop, and have a stronger relationship with the diocese. They come in with a guarded attitude asking a lot of questions, but they leave the campaign reception with a hopeful attitude."
When explaining the campaign to people, the bishop has gained trust and people are warming up to the idea of giving generously, she said.
For more information about the Capital Campaign and how you can help, dial 510-893-4711 or visit www.reclaimtogether.org.
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