Bishop Edward U. Kmiec announces that Catholic Charities has surpassed its appeal goal. Photo by Patrick McPartland
Despite a weak economy, the people of Western New York met and exceeded the challenge set forth by Catholic Charities, raising over $10.7 million. That’s more than $100,000 over the $10.56 million goal set for Appeal 2012. The announcement on June 27, brought much joy to the employees and volunteers of the largest social service agency in the area.
The appeal is one of the last major events led by Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, who will retire this August.
“I get to go out with a bang,” the bishop said. “This is really and truly amazing.”
All totaled Appeal 2012 raised $10,728,316.69. Some parishes, like St. Gregory the Great in Williamsville, increased its contribution over last year by as much as 13 percent.
“We like to think that we are winners here, because we achieved what we set out to do, but as we get a number like that, which has exceeded the goal by a significant amount, the winners are the people we’re going to serve,” Bishop Kmiec said. “I’d like to thank our many donors, clergy, religious, pastors especially, parishioners, new leadership and volunteers, and our corporate and community supporters for your tremendous generosity.”
He also thanked the staff, the hundreds of volunteers and media for their support.
“I’m very elated,” he said. “I was watching very carefully as reports were coming in, and we still had a long way to go when we had our announcement back on Palm Sunday. We had a good few million to make and get over our goal. But the numbers seemed to be encouraging. That is hard work, trying to get the donors who contributed before and didn’t contribute. It was a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of people. It is a very satisfying moment. The folks have been most responsive to me. I’ve been a very lucky bishop to be here.”
During the press conference, Bishop Kmiec recalled his first appeal, which kicked off Jan. 16, 2004.
“I spoke that morning about the spirit of giving among the people of Western New York and how much I was looking forward to being part of this campaign. Throughout the 2004 appeal and the seven appeals that followed, I experienced the immense generosity of this community. There are few dioceses in the country, and we have many of them, certainly none of our size and economic situation that surpass the giving level here,” the bishop said. “What a legacy of caring and compassion to carry on under our new bishop, Richard Malone, and for which you should always be proud. Our donors prove year after year, their commitment to helping Catholic Charities serve people in need. From my heart, I am most grateful.”
Dennis C.Walczyk, CEO of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, said he felt “super” after hearing the final tally.
“We had a really excellent leadership team, and the generosity of Western New York came through again. It’s a super day for all of us at Catholic Charities,” he said.
The 2012 chair, David Nasca, offered a hopeful outlook for the future despite what could be discouraging statistics, such as the area seeing half as many Catholic baptisms and deaths.
“While the road to our announcement today has met some challenges, it has also realized some stunning success stories,” Nasca said. “With the help of our dedicated volunteers, we’ve seen education and awareness spread. Then 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.”
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