More than a year after its launch, the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign has retained a new fundraising firm, CCS Fundraising, to help achieve its $350 million goal.
The decision to transition to new counsel was based on feedback from pastors and lay leaders in the initial waves of the campaign, according to Bishop Francis Kane, vicar general and and chair of the campaign steering committee.
“Pastors and lay leaders alike are requesting more local, parishbased support and hands-on guidance,” Bishop Kane wrote in a letter to priests earlier this month.
CCS Fundraising has a local base, with 50 consultants directed from offices on Wacker Drive in Chicago. The firm previously conducted capital campaigns for individual parishes in the archdiocese and has experience in 170 of the 190 U.S. dioceses.
“The archdiocese is grateful for all the work done up to this point in the campaign, and we are confident that engaging CCS Fundraising will help us to achieve even greater results going forward,” Bishop Kane said.
To date, the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign has raised $119.4 million through major gifts and parish efforts. Major gifts, or sustaining gifts above $250,000, are $85.3 million of the total raised. Of the 29 major gifts received to date, 10 have been for $1 million or more.
Parish efforts account for $34 million of the total raised. All parishes are participating in the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign in five waves. About a third have already conducted parish campaigns during a pilot wave followed by two additional waves. Preparations for the third wave were scheduled to begin yet this summer but will be delayed due to the change in fundraising firms, Bishop Kane said.
Because of its experience with successful campaigns for dioceses throughout the United States, CCS is confident the campaign can meet its goal, said Peter Hoskow, principal and managing director of CCS.
He said he is especially encouraged by the “excellence of the leadership, strength of the case and generosity of the laity.”
“The To Teach Who Christ Is campaign offers the lay faithful the opportunity to propel forward the future of Catholic education, Catholic formation and Catholic parishes for the church,” Hoskow said. “Our firm is honored to partner with Cardinal George, the archdiocesan leadership team, the pastors and the lay leaders on this critical initiative.”
Campaign manager Peter de Keratry said that CCS Fundraising will need two to three months to recalibrate the campaign plan. The firm’s consultants will spend that time visiting parishes and analyzing the campaign to date, he said.
“Different fundraising firms have different fundraising strategies,” de Keratry said. “CCS has a model that is full time, full service to parishes, and I am confident that CCS will build on the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign’s initial success and bring it to a successful conclusion.”
Parishes and Catholic schools have already benefited from campaign funds. A trial scholarship program, Caritas Scholars, has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to nearly 1,500 students. These scholarships cover as much as half of tuition costs, are awarded for three years and follow the child should he or she transfer to another Catholic school in the archdiocese.
Sixty percent of the funds that parishes raise remain at those parishes for needs they identify. Any amount raised over goal is returned to the parish as well. As of June 30, $5.3 million has been returned to Pilot Wave and Wave 1 parishes.
Campaign gifts will also benefit religious education, both in the training of catechists and the development of innovative programs, and will help economically distressed parishes to address life safety issues in church and school buildings.
The To Teach Who Christ Is campaign is vitally important to the mission of the church and the future of the Archdiocese of Chicago, according to Cardinal George.
“I appreciate the efforts of the pastors and laypeople who have already brought the mission-oriented message of the campaign to their parishes, and am grateful to all of those who have responded so generously to this effort,” he said.