The Catholic Commentator 

An innovative Catholic fundraising program that debuted in the Diocese of Baton Rouge a year ago is expanding with the hope of surpassing what was a rousing success. 

Stewardship director Tammy Abshire said the #IGiveCatholic program, which was originally launched by the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 2015, is scheduled Nov. 28 from midnight to 11:59 p.m. She said the day is an opportunity whereby individuals are able to make donations in a 24-hour period to charities of their choice. 

“In our case, a Catholic charity,” Abshire said. 

In 2016, the program raised a combined $1.36 million nationally, with a total of seven dioceses and archdioceses participating. This year, that number has grown to 17 dioceses and archdioceses, coinciding with the partnership of the International Catholic Stewardship Council. 

Nationally, an ambitious $3.5 million goal has been established. 

In the Diocese of Baton Rouge, #IGiveCatholic raised $89,000 a year ago, which Abshire said was overwhelming. 

“The generosity of the people in the diocese was heartwarming,” she said, adding that the goal is to surpass last year’s total. “It really shows how faith-filled our people are and the commitment they have to their churches. 

“This is money the organizations did not previously have.” 

A year ago, participation in the diocese was limited to church parishes, schools and a small number of organizations but this year has been expanded to include any ministry included in the National Catholic Directory. A total of 22 organizations and ministries are participating, including the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Hispanic Apostolate, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady of the Lake University. 

Abshire said each ministry has its own profile page on the #IGiveCatholic website, listing its mission statement, logo, a description of its funding need and what the project is supporting. 

“Generally, (an organization or ministry) could give for unrestricted support,” Abshire said. “But most donors like to give to a specific project. It is more successful.” 

Women’s New Life Center raised the most money a year ago, checking in with $41,500. St. Jean Vianney Parish and School in Baton Rouge was highest among the church parishes with $6,405 from 47 donors. 

St. Louis King of France Church in Baton Rouge led all organizations with a total number of 63 donors, who donated $5,670. 

“This is really an excellent opportunity for people around the diocese to make a commitment to helping their church or perhaps their favored organization,” Abshire said. “To have this event at the beginning of the holiday season makes it that much more meaningful.” 

“Each gift, no matter how large or small, really does make an impact to every organization, church, school or ministry.” 

To donate, visit iGiveCatholic.org, which is an online platform with searchable profiles. Donors can give early through Nov. 26.