BUFFALO - The Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, announced today Catholic Charities' annual Appeal has raised $7,283,164.45 to date, representing 68 percent of the $10.7 million goal. Funds raised for Appeal 2013 support Catholic Charities' 70 programs and services offered across 61 sites throughout the eight counties of western New York.
Volunteers, supporters and the Catholic Charities of Buffalo Appeal leadership team gathered today with Bishop Malone to hear the progress of the Appeal and celebrate Appeal Week 2013, the period which marks the strongest push for parish donations.
Parishes across Western New York will continue to participate in Appeal Week activities through Sunday to recognize the support of western New Yorkers who have made a contribution to the annual Appeal and to encourage those who have not already donated to do so.
Volunteers will continue work following Appeal Week to achieve the campaign's final goal by June 30.
Bishop Malone lauded the dedication of the Appeal's county and parish leadership and its 600 local volunteers, and expressed appreciation for the generous support of western New Yorkers who have contributed thus far. He also emphasized the need to look to the future and continue the momentum toward the goal during Appeal Week and beyond, through June 30.
"In yesterday's second reading the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians we were encouraged to 'forget what lies behind, but strain forward to what lies ahead, as we continue our pursuit toward the goal the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus,'" Bishop Malone recalled. "While we have come a long way in a short period of time, we cannot rest on our laurels. We must press on in the days and weeks ahead to achieve our lofty financial goal, and more importantly to continue with our work in faith to serve those who turn to Catholic Charities for help."
Stephen Ulrich, 2013 Appeal chair, also thanked the volunteers and Appeal Leadership Team for their efforts and express optimism for Appeal Week's success.
"I'm confident our team will rise to the occasion and help us make plenty of headway toward our ultimate goal this week."
He also shared some of the strategies under way to reach this year's goal.
"I believe two keys to our success will be overcoming demographic trends to maintain 60,000 donors, and maintaining an average gift level of $175 or above," Ulrich said. "We must continue to reach out to and engage the next generation of donors, which we're doing through our 'Get Real. Give Hope.' social media campaign and events such as the recent successful Young Adult Networking reception at Flying Bison Brewery. We're also working hard to increase our corporate donor base and to encourage our regular donors to contribute a little bit more each year."
Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, reflected on the generosity of western New York and why any size contribution is able to help those in need.
"When our community responds, Catholic Charities is able to protect, strengthen and empower people in need 'as Jesus would,'" said Sister Mary. "Each gift, large or small, will collectively bring us one step closer to the goal that allows Catholic Charities to be the special gift of the Catholic community to western New York."
She also noted the organization's excellent stewardship and quality service, as evidenced by its four-star Charity Navigator rating and accreditation for adhering to best practice standards by the Council on Accreditation.
"While many donate from the heart because it's what we are called to do, to help one another, all can rest assured that it is a wise decision as well."
Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities chief executive officer, introduced a program that will offer immigrants greater support and opportunities for integrating more completely into New York State and our community through U.S. citizenship. Catholic Charities is one of 27 organizations across the state chosen to create a neighborhood-based Opportunity Center through the New York State Office for New Americans, newly launched by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
"On our Herkimer Street campus in Buffalo, the former Nativity parish, where English as a Second Language and civic classes are taught, and where case management is provided, this grant will increase our ability to prepare new Americans for citizenship and support them in entrepreneurial endeavors," said Walczyk.
He added, "We remember that Buffalo is rich in many ways because of the various cultures that settled here as long ago as 200 years ago. Today, the richness is expanded through the cultures of the people of Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Rwanda and Ethiopia, to name just a few, who seek their part in the American dream."
Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, we deliver support to meet immediate needs and then assess for other needs to ensure long-term success. We are the most comprehensive human service provider serving more than 130,000 people in all eight counties of WNY with 70 programs and 61 locations. We receive highest ratings for quality of service provided and financial health/accountability as rated by the Council on Accreditation and Charity Navigator. For 89 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in WNY.
The patron of Appeal 2013 is Blessed Frederic Ozanam, a layman who co-founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
For more information on Appeal 2013 or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to www.ccwny.org. Check out Catholic Charities on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccbuffalo and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ccbuffalo.