With a theme of “In Giving We Receive,” the Diocesan Ministries Appeal — formerly known as the Thanks Giving Appeal, or TGA — is launching its 25th year with a goal of $5.3 million. The 2005-06 kickoff is being conducted in parishes throughout October.
“Your support of the annual Diocesan Ministries Appeal helps fund ministries and programs vital to our overall Catholic mission; as well as numerous basic services to nearly 175 parishes and faith communities in our vast 12-county diocese,” Bishop Matthew H. Clark stated in a promotional brochure for the appeal. “In essence, it is the lifeblood of our local church.”
The annual appeal, the diocese’s primary fundraising source, generates approximately 49 percent of the diocesan budget of $10,735,566. The other 51 percent, or $5,435,566, is derived from investment income, grants, other gifts and fees.
Appeal proceeds are allocated to various diocesan ministries and initiatives, as follows: parishes and other faith communities, 52 percent; Catholic schools and faith formation, 19 percent; Catholic Charities, 8 percent; youth, young-adult and family ministries, 7 percent; vocations, seminarians and ministry education/support, 6 percent; administration, 5 percent; and campaign costs, 3 percent.
The appeal campaign was established in 1981 as the Thanks Giving Appeal as an alternative to levying a diocesan tax on parish revenues, as is commonly done in other Catholic dioceses and was done here through 1980.
This year, explained appeal coordinator David Kelly, the campaign’s title was changed to Diocesan Ministries Appeal “to have a name that more clearly described who benefits from the TGA.” Kelly noted that numerous departments, programs, services and ministries depend on appeal funding. Although the title “Thanks Giving Appeal” has been replaced, Kelly said the diocese will continue to use the acronym “TGA” this year because it is so well known.
The appeal’s $5.3 million goal is the same as in 2004-05, when the TGA raised slightly more than $4.4 million in contributions. Only 21 diocesan parishes met or exceeded their assigned TGA goals, with the rest having to make up the differences out of other parish funds.
Despite the shortfall, Kelly and Mark Clark — who serve as associate directors of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development — are confident that the 2005-06 goal will be met. They noted that the TGA deficit for 2004-05 was somewhat expected due to the intensity of the Partners in Faith capital campaign, which raised nearly $56 million in gifts during 2003 and 2004. The diocese did not conduct a TGA campaign in 2003-04, having rolled the amount of funds needed that year into the Partners in Faith goal.
“We are very hopeful, as we’re another year away from Partners in Faith, that more parishes will be successful in reaching their (appeal) goals this year,” Kelly said. “We are cognizant of the fact that parishes work real hard to reach these goals.”
Mark Clark also expressed optimism that parishioners’ recent generosity toward victims of Hurricane Katrina would not depress appeal giving. He pointed out that the 2001-02 TGA was successful even though donors were contributing at the same time to Sept. 11 relief efforts.
Kelly said the TGA has raised approximately $100 million overall since its inception. The campaign’s value, he added, is literally immeasurable.
“I wish we could quantify what the effects have been for the thousands and thousands of people who have been helped by these efforts,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Donors may drop off gifts and pledges to the Diocesan Ministries Appeal at their parishes or mail them directly to: TGA, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624. Checks may be made payable to TGA. In addition, donations may be made online by visiting www.dor.org and following the “On-line Giving” link. For further details, call 585/328-3228, ext. 1326.