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Catholic Charities targets donors

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Catholic Charities, the social ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, aims to raise $1 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, a first-ever fundraising effort that would increase by one-third the ministry’s annual budget of $3 million.

“There has to be growth,” says Patricia Reid, who joined Catholic Charities in November as its first development director. “The needs have grown. We serve more people. We try to serve more people. We have to build our capacity.”

Catholic Charities in April launched its first-ever direct-mail appeal, sending mailings to 30,000 households, or just under half the Catholic households in the diocese, says Reid, former director of development for Easter Seals UCP of North Carolina.

A second appeal is planned for November, with a goal of raising $100,000.

The bulk of the fundraising effort initially will consist of seeking grants, corporate sponsorships, and major gifts and planned gifts from individuals.

As part of the new fundraising effort, Catholic Parish Outreach, a food-pantry program of Catholic Charities, also plans to solicit private support for the first time, says Terry Foley, the program’s part-time director.

In 2005, the pantry on average gave 492 tons of groceries a month to 959 families, or nearly 3,500 people, roughly double the number of clients it served in 2000, she says.

Yet the pantry’s annual budget, $204,000 in the fiscal year that ends June 30, has remained flat.

So next year, with advice from Reid and its advisory council, Catholic Parish Outreach will begin soliciting funds.

Including those solicitations, it is looking for a 5 percent increase in donations from individuals, who account for nearly one-fourth of its budget, and an increase of 5 percent to 10 percent in donations from churches, which account for nearly half its budget.

“Many of our clients are the working poor,” she says. “We need the extra funds to continue serving them.”

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