Catholic Charities of Buffalo today reported the 2017 Appeal has reached 82 percent of goal, or $9,078,297.96 million in cash and pledges, a little more than three weeks after reaching 72 percent of the $11 million goal, or $7.89 million as of April 11. Typically at this time, three weeks after the annual Appeal Week campaign in local parishes throughout the Diocese of Buffalo, the Appeal is at between 87 and 91 percent of the final goal.
As a result, volunteers and campaign leadership now must raise nearly $2 million in less than eight weeks by June 30 in order to reach the 2017 goal. This year's goal was kept at the 2016 figure, which was eventually met at the end of the Appeal. According to Appeal leadership, efforts to reach this year's goal are compounded by the fact Easter fell later on the calendar (April 16), than most years including 2016 when it was March 27.
To further put this year's Appeal in perspective, officials said the last time the Appeal failed to reach its goal was in 2009 when 94.7 percent of the $11 million goal was achieved by June 30. After Appeal Week 2009 a total of 79 percent of goal was reached. Three weeks later donations received brought the total to 88 percent of goal compared with 82 percent this year.
Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director, said she is very grateful for the amount raised thus far, adding there is growing concern for the success of the 93rd annual Appeal.
"While we appreciate every gift, our progress since January has been steady but slow," said Sister Mary. "Although we remain hopeful the community and our many supporters will rally in these final weeks, there is some doubt as to whether we can meet this year's goal."
Gerard and Barbara Mazurkiewicz, 2017 Appeal chairs, thanked everyone who has donated to this year's Appeal and asked anyone who has not done so yet, to consider the value of a gift to Catholic Charities.
She added, "We truly rely on our community to help us strengthen and empower those most in need and vulnerable. A number of programs depend on the Appeal. Thousands of people, young and old, find relief, dignity and hope through such services as counseling and mental health treatment affordable to all, basic assistance that is scarce elsewhere, and workforce and education efforts that connect young adults in high-poverty areas with livable wage jobs."
"We are thankful for those who have already taken the time to make a gift to this year's Appeal. You are a light for those who are less fortunate and you reinforce Western New York's reputation as a generous and compassionate community. And now we must focus on closing this gap since there is only a very short window, indeed a finite amount of time to do infinite good during the remainder of this campaign," said Jerry Mazurkiewicz, referring to the 2017 Appeal theme, "Finite time. Infinite good."
Barbara added, "We ask anyone who has not yet contributed to consider just how impactful a gift to Catholic Charities is - and to donate accordingly. The organization's services are accredited for their high quality, it received an excellence in philanthropy award from the Better Business Bureau last year and fund-raising costs are kept low to allow the greatest number of dollars possible to reach the programs that last year touched the lives of 152,000 people - Catholics and non-Catholics."
The Appeal, which officially began Jan. 18, help funds Catholic Charities' 70 programs and services across 61 sites in Western New York along with a number of ministries through the Bishop's Fund for the Faith.
The patron saint of the 93rd annual Appeal is St. Marianne Cope.
Catholic Charities has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. That need is varied and widespread - from emergency assistance to counseling and from specialized services for the elderly to help with job training and education. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.
To make a donation to the 2017 Appeal, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to ccwny.org.