Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Jul
  • 19

The name has changed, the need continues

Posted By July 19, 2012 | 1:16 pm | Lead Story #2
By Patricia O’Connell CFP Correspondent WORCESTER – Mary Lou Anderson remembers when people went door-to-door collecting for the Bishop’s Fund. Times have changed. The annual diocesan fund drive is now called Partners in Charity. And a growing number of people donate through its website – www.partners-charity.net. “It’s a new world we’re in, people buy online,” she said, referring to the multitude of Internet-based shopping outlets.

By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

WORCESTER – Mary Lou Anderson remembers when people went door-to-door collecting for the Bishop’s Fund.
Times have changed. The annual diocesan fund drive is now called Partners in Charity. And a growing number of people donate through its website – www.partners-charity.net.
“It’s a new world we’re in, people buy online,” she said, referring to the multitude of Internet-based shopping outlets.
Mrs. Anderson serves on the Partners in Charity Advisory Committee. The recently formed group, comprised of 11 people, is a mix of laity and clergy. It meets every three weeks in an effort to steer the campaign into the 21st century.
The lay members, Mrs. Anderson explained, were chosen either because they are active in their parishes, or they have experience they can lend to the process.
Mrs. Anderson and her husband, John, chaired last year’s Partners in Charity drive.
Although the committee doesn’t have veto power, it does make recommendations, she noted.
It’s nice when you try something different, when you look to a group of people you can say, “Do you think this will work?” she said of the committee’s function.
Mrs. Anderson, a retired dean of Assumption College, has served on numerous boards and committees. She particularly likes this one.
“There’s a lot of very, very good charities that this fund serves and you want to keep doing that because it helps so many people,” she said.
Also, she’s noticed a spirit of cooperation.
“People come (to the meetings) and they have a variety of views on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do,” she said.
“We look at it, each of us, from a different lens,” Mrs. Anderson added. “People are supportive and not afraid of voicing their opinion about what works and what doesn’t work.”
“We’re all committed to the ministries that Partners in Charities serves,” she continued. “There’s no question in my mind that everybody’s committed.”
One focus has been looking at the ways money has been raised in the past, to determine what works well and what doesn’t. The committee also evaluates the goals of each parish, as to whether they’re realistic or not, according to Mrs. Anderson.
As the 2012 campaign heads into the final stretch, Mrs. Anderson is acutely aware the drive is headed up a steep mountain pass.
Even in the best of times, she noted, asking for money is difficult.
The current climate makes it more challenging. “It’s a difficult economy. If you lose your job, you’re not inclined to give,” she said.
Several hundred thousand dollars still needs to be raised in order to meet the $5 million target. The money is used to support 28 different ministries, including retired priests, health ministry to retired priests and seminarian studies.
“The last amount of money before you get to August is also the most difficult,” she said, noting, “It’s hard to raise money over the summer.”
Yet, Mrs. Anderson believes the campaign will end successfully. It’s a matter now of trying to reach past donors who haven’t given this year, Mrs. Anderson explained, adding that, as a group, they’re more inclined to give again.
“We’re getting closer and closer to the goal,” she said.

The annual Partners in Charity Appeal has reached 92 percent of its $5 million goal, with gifts and pledges totaling $4,580,192, so far, according to Michael P. Gillespie, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development.
Thirty-nine parishes have reached or exceeded their goals, he said. Another $419,808 is needed to reach the goal by Aug. 31, the end of the fiscal year.
About 4,000 people who gave to last year’s appeal have not yet given this year. Their pledges and gifts last year came to about $600,000, Mr. Gillespie said. If those donors gave that amount this year, the Appeal would top its goal.