BUFFALO Catholic Charities of Buffalo officials announced the 2012 Appeal exceeded its $10.6 million goal today with cash and pledges received to date totaling $10,728,316.69.
Erie County gave $7,615,801, Cattaraugus County gave $223,253 and Chautauqua County gave $394,588.
Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, bishop of Buffalo, speaking at his last Appeal event as ordinary of the diocese before Bishop Richard Malone is installed in August, declared, "Thanks to the dedicated efforts of everyone associated with the 2012 Appeal, I get to go out with a bang, so to speak, as I am delighted to announce we have again met, and surpassed, our goal this year."
After revealing the 2012 Appeal total of $10.72 million, team members and leaders gathered including, from left, Corporate Chair Anthony Delmonte, Jr. (Clarence), Vice Chair Stephen Ulrich 2012 and Amherst resident, Community Chair Beth Mattimore (Orchard Park), Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, Catholic Charities Diocesan Director Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Parish Co-Chair Maureen Pratt, 2012 Appeal Chair David J. Nasca and Williamsville resident, and Catholic Charities CEO Dennis C. Walczyk.
Joined by Catholic Charities' leaders and staff, the Appeal leadership team and volunteers, Bishop Kmiec thanked donors and supporters for their generosity. Reflecting back on his first Appeal kick-off announcement in January 2004, Bishop Kmiec recalled speaking about the spirit of giving among Western New Yorkers.
"Throughout the 2004 Appeal and the seven appeals that followed, I experienced the immense generosity of the people in this community. There are few dioceses in the country, and certainly none of our size and economic situation, that surpass the level of giving here," he said. "What a legacy of caring and compassion to carry on under Bishop Malone, and for which you should always be proud!"
Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF Catholic Charities diocesan director, looked back on the journey of the 2012 Appeal. "We last stood in this same spot three months ago, pleased with the progress to date, but never taking for granted such a positive pace would continue," Sister Mary said. "The Appeal kept that pace because of generosity, and, I believe, because you recognize the need to protect, strengthen and empower the people we serve."
In addition to thanking volunteers and donors, Sister Mary shared the story of a client who became a donor this year. Last fall, a woman new to the area came to Catholic Charities' office on the west side of Buffalo for emergency assistance. Now living in an apartment and employed, she returned to Catholic Charities' office in mid-April to see the social worker who had originally helped her and to donate $200 to the Appeal.
Sister Mary explained donations to the Appeal made it possible for Catholic Charities to assist the young woman. "Your gift was there so we were able to protect this woman from failure in a new place, we were able to strengthen her resolve to begin again, and we empowered her for the journey. Your gift did all of that and even multiplied it when she gave back because she had been blessed."
2012 Appeal Chair David Nasca highlighted successful efforts toward this year's campaign goals of educating people about the good works of Catholic Charities and raising awareness, engaging new donors and volunteers, and expanding the corporate base of donors. "As I look back on my time as Appeal chair, a role I've been honored to serve, I'm pleased to say we've made tremendous strides toward these goals. While the road to our announcement today has met some challenges, it has also realized some stunning success stories," he said. "With the help of our dedicated volunteers, we've seen education and awareness spread. There has been an overwhelming response to our Appeal this year. It is clear people are seeing the value of Catholic Charities and choosing to invest in our organization."
Nasca also pointed to success in stemming donor loss and the corporate team's efforts to secure multi-year, increasing pledge commitments for the first time from several local companies. Sharing several examples of record-breaking fundraising, Nasca said, "It's always astounding and truly humbling to witness the incredible support from our schools and parishes."
Nasca made special mention of two parishes in particular St. Gregory the Great in Williamsville and Immaculate Conception in Wellsville. Contributions from parishioners at St. Gregory the Great topped $716,878.55, an increase of 13 percent over last year. Immaculate Conception raised $38,911 marking a 46.4 percent increase over its 2011 total and propelling Allegany County to become the first Western New York county to surpass its 2011 total, despite its status as the second-poorest county in New York State.
Catholic Charities recognized the two parish Appeal teams and pastors with framed certificates. Bishop Kmiec presented the achievement award to David Mangano, St. Gregory the Great Appeal parish chair. Father Joseph Gatto, St. Gregory the Great pastor, was unable to attend, as were Immaculate Conception representatives Susan Stout, Appeal parish chair, and Father Sean DiMaria, pastor.
In commemorating Bishop Kmiec's Appeal "victory lap," Nasca thanked the bishop for his eight years of support, during which the annual Appeal raised more than $86.2 million. "Just a few months ago during Appeal Week, we surprised Bishop Kmiec with the renaming of the South Buffalo pantry and outreach site in his name," Nasca said. "Rightfully, that gesture ensured that the spirit of one who is humble, compassionate and generous will be carried on in our diocese for many years to come."
Nasca also echoed Bishop Kmiec and Sister Mary's gratitude to the organizations, volunteers and members of the leadership team who helped push this year's Appeal to a successful conclusion. "Thank you to all the parishes, schools, corporate donors and individuals who generously contributed to this Appeal," he said. "No matter how challenging the economic situation may be in our region, the members of our great community always find a way to ensure Catholic Charities can serve their fellow neighbors in need. I am both thankful and humbled by the sheer kindness and compassion this community displays every year."
Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive direct human service provider serving all eight counties of Western New York, with 70 programs and 61 locations. Founded in 1923, Catholic Charities also provides, without regard to religious affiliation, comprehensive counseling services for children and families, anti-domestic violence programming and emergency services, among other social and mental health services. The 2012 Appeal was under the patronage of Blessed John Paul II.
For more information about the 2012 Appeal and Catholic Charities' programs and services, call 218-1400 or visit www.ccwny.org.