In less than 20 days, #weGiveCatholic will go live encouraging Catholic philanthropy via mobile devices and desktops across Northeast Ohio. This annual day of online giving takes place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving -- Dec. 3 this year -- on what traditionally is known as Giving Tuesday.
Throughout November, the 227 schools, parishes, ministry groups and other Catholic organizations participating in the crowdfunding campaign will share inspiring stories via social media, online platforms and grassroots marketing initiatives to rally support and raise funds for specific organizational needs.
Hosted by the Catholic Community Foundation, #weGiveCatholic provides those affiliated with the diocese an opportunity to connect with current donors and establish relationships with new donors by telling their story and raising awareness to the greater Catholic community.
Last year, $1.27 million was raised from over 6,500 #weGiveCatholic donors, benefiting 194 participating organizations.
73 Catholic schools are participating this year with campaigns centered on growing technology, updating facilities and improving classroom environments that support learning in today’s modern world.
“Fundraising goals range,” said Bob Hickey director of development for the Catholic Community Foundation. “There are larger projects and some smaller, but ultimately, all are dedicated to improving the quality of Catholic education while allowing donors to give at any level yet still unite in the spirit of giving.”
Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland is raising funds to renovate its Martyrs Chapel. The chapel was built in the early 1970’s, and while it provides a quiet, reflective space, it is in need of renovations to turn it into a more welcoming, prayerful area for students, faculty and staff.
“Sometimes, our students just need a place to quietly pray and reflect upon events occurring in their lives,” said Bill Cervenik ’72, VASJ president. “The Martyrs Chapel provides that space and is used by students, faculty and staff as well as visitors. It is our goal to create an atmosphere that promotes spirituality and peace and reflects the teachings, traditions and charisms of our Marianist and Ursuline sponsors.”
Holy Trinity School in Avon has a simple goal: to raise $2,500 to help with new, flexible seating for inclusive learning.
“Flexible seating is beneficial to our students as it gives students the opportunity to make choices in their learning environments and fosters collaboration,” said kindergarten teacher Jackie Powidel. "This in turn creates a positive and safe classroom community, which leads to academic success,” she added.
Funds raised from #weGiveCatholic will provide flexible seating for students in pre-K through eighth grade and benefit both exceptional learners and typical peers.
“This is our second year participating in #weGiveCatholic,” said Julie Scanlan, director of marketing and enrollment at Holy Trinity. “Last year was our first time crowdfunding and we started small, yielding $2,000. We are hopeful we can increase 2018’s giving and see at least 50 donors. Every donation, even small amounts, will make a big impact for our students with this seating.”
On the Holy Trinity #weGiveCatholic web page, donors are able to see the three seating choices and select a level of donation to help purchase one of the chairs, stools or flexible options.
Both VASJ and Holy Trinity share their story of need with video components for this year’s campaign.
VASJ head football coach Elvis Grbac and students are featured in the video. Together, they share how a chapel is the focal point of any Catholic school and how renovating the Martyrs Chapel will help to encourage a deeper relationship between students and God.
Eighth-graders at Holy Trinity are creating and producing their video, giving potential donors an inside look at how students function within their space and the benefits of how they could academically grow with new resources.
“Today’s students require places that encourage discovery and deeper learning,” said principal Michael Modzeleski. “Flexible seating is fundamental for this. Students today are asked to not just memorize but look for ways to be problem-solvers and world-changers. This is not done by chair neatly arranged in a row. Flexible design benefits the methods of teaching and learning today.”
To learn more about Holy Trinity’s project, visit their #weGiveCatholic webpage here.