Niagara Gazette — Catholic Charities of Buffalo announced Friday that exceeded the $10.7 million goal it set for its 2013 Appeal.
Officials from the organization said they raised cash and pledges to date totaling $10.81 million, including $961,088 from supporters in Niagara County.
This year's Appeal is the first overseen by Bishop Richard J. Malone since his installation as bishop in August. During an address to donors and supporters at Catholic Charities' headquarters in Buffalo, Malone said it gave him "great joy" to announce that the goal had been surpassed thanks to the "incredible generosity of the Western New York community.
"After months of planning, we launched this year’s campaign on a cold but sunny morning in early January, with hopes of raising $10.7 million," Malone said. "Much like a long-distance runner facing the last several miles of a marathon, our Appeal leadership team, our many volunteers throughout the Diocese of Buffalo, and of course our dedicated staff, simply refused to give up until the race was complete, raising more than $2.2 million since March 25."
Malone recognized the hard work of everyone involved in the Appeal.
"On behalf of all those served by Catholic Charities and all those who have in any way contributed to this year’s Appeal, I thank you for your support,” Bishop Malone said. “Your continued efforts will allow us to protect, strengthen and empower those in need throughout our eight-county diocese.”
Lockport resident Stephen Ulrich, the 2013 Appeal chairman, also expressed gratitude and appreciation for this year’s achievement, saying the process of attracting new donors, both Catholic and non-Catholic, has been an ongoing challenge.
“While challenges remain, we have a lot to celebrate today," Ulrich said. "Curbing the impact of donor loss, our average gift each year continues to grow, and at $185.64 this year, it’s the highest in the history of the Appeal.”
Ulrich congratulated the efforts of the Appeal’s corporate, community and leadership divisions, and thanked the hundreds of parish volunteers who played a critical role in raising contributions by significant amounts.
Catholic Charities’ corporate division, under the leadership of Bill Lawley, Kathy Lawley Best and Anthony Delmonte, Jr., raised more than $1 million, only the second time that amount has been reached and not since 2007, and a 20-percent increase over 2012. The community division also surpassed last year’s fundraising total by 64 percent, while leadership gifts increased by 17.5 percent over last year.
Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities’ diocesan director, also highlighted the work and dedication of all the individuals involved in this year’s Appeal, specifically the community’s youngest and most faithful supporters.
“The compassion and help demonstrated by students this year show us that the future of the Appeal is in good hands,” she said.
The leadership, faculty and students of St.Francis High School in Athol Springs were honored for raising the most money for Catholic Charities among local Catholic high schools. Father Michael Sajda, president of St. Francis, and student Matt Unger, were honored with a plaque recognizing their achievement as top contributor at $4,500.
“The efforts of the young men at St. Francis during Lent are especially significant because they gave dollars of their own, from their hearts, which is what we are all called to do,” McCarrick said.
Reflecting on his time as Appeal chair, Ulrich said: "I would like to thank my Appeal leadership team from the bottom of my heart for all of their hard work and commitment throughout the last year. Your efforts put us over the top and I’m grateful to have had just an extremely dedicated group of people by my side."
Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, the organization delivers support to meet immediate needs and then assess for other needs to ensure long-term success. The group provides human services to more than 130,000 people in all eight counties of Western New York with 70 programs and 61 locations.
For more information on Appeal 2013 or to make a donation, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to www.ccwny.org.