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Giving Tuesday supporters’ generosity ‘goes above and beyond’

Donors throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore pitched in to make “Giving Tuesday” a creative way of supporting parishes and Catholic outreach agencies of the area Nov. 30.

This year, the Archdiocese of Baltimore launched #GiveCatholicAOB for the first time, partnering with Give Central to make it easy for donors to give direct financial support to the parishes of their choosing. The effort has raised more than $43,700 so far and will continue to receive funds until Dec. 6.

“Some parishes got really creative by taking the initiative of Giving Tuesday and making it fun,” said Kim Montgomery, senior director of philanthropy for the archdiocesan department of advancement.

Father Mark S. Bialek, pastor of St. John Westminster in Westminster, led an “old-fashioned Christmas sing-along” through Facebook as part of his faith community’s Giving Tuesday campaign. The Carroll County parish took a challenge from a donor to match gifts up to $2,500. At the end of the challenge, the parish raised more than $11,200 online and more than $13,000 through the parish office.

Another parish that saw strong support through the #GiveCatholicAOB effort was the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier in Hunt Valley, which had more than $11,300 donated online.

Montgomery said the average individual gift to parishes was $145, but there were also multiple $1,000 gifts. On top of the gifts given through the online campaign, she noted that there was a  $10,000 stock gift.

“We received gifts from $5 to $10,000, and these gifts support vital programs and ministries at the parishes,” she noted.  

The donations are unrestricted gifts, she added, meaning the parish will decide which of critical necessities the funds will sustain.

Senior Volunteer Coordinator Evan Gough gives a Facebook live tour of Beans and Bread in Baltimore during Giving Tuesday Nov. 30, 2021. (Courtesy St. Vincent De Paul Baltimore)

“As a result of some great successful stories of this year’s Giving Tuesday, we (the department of advancement) hope many parishes will be inspired for next year’s Giving Tuesday,” Montgomery said. “It’s going to take a couple of years for the campaign to build up a stable level of support.”

According to Todd Troester, director of individual giving for St. Vincent de Paul Baltimore, a Catholic social outreach agency, this year’s Giving Tuesday focus was social media engagement, which increased significantly with Facebook live videos and posts through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

“Our Giving Tuesday posts had the most engagement out of any posts that we ever had,” he said, noting that St. Vincent de Paul’s Giving Tuesday goal was to raise funds to support Beans and Bread, a comprehensive homeless day resource program serving more than 300 people per day.

St. Vincent de Paul received 55 individual donations which added up to $10,700. Community service board members Glenn Falcao, Dee Drummond and Beverly Sikora matched those donations to raise a total of $21,400 — $6,400 more than the original goal. 

“Our board really stepped up this year and made a big impact on the amount of money we raised,” Troester said.

In addition to the social media engagement, five private fundraisers were held and multiple mail donations were received. Due to donations still coming in, Troester said all final numbers will be announced Dec. 2.

While #GiveCatholicAOB and St. Vincent de Paul focused their campaigns Nov. 30 during Giving Tuesday, Catholic Charities of Baltimore redirected its Giving Tuesday campaign efforts toward a month-long campaign, Comfort & Joy, launched Dec. 1. Comfort & Joy is supported by several sponsors including the local spice company, McCormick, as presenting sponsor. The month-long “virtual Advent calendar,” located at comfortandjoy2021.org, provides visitors with daily surprises including online concerts, recipes and more. 

Email Priscila González de Doran at pdoran@CatholicReview.org

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