Anne-Marie Welsh

Traditions connected to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend continue to expand, growing from Black Friday and Small-Business Saturday to Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday. For those living in the Diocese of Erie, Giving Tuesday will have a new twist beginning this year, with the option to participate in #iGiveCatholic.
The initiative facilitates a new pathway of support for parishes, schools, agencies and other outreach efforts connected to the Catholic Church, making it easier for donors to direct their gifts on Giving Tuesday.

“#iGiveCatholic is the first-ever online giving day that rallies our Catholic community,” Bishop Lawrence Persico wrote in a letter to pastors expressing his support for this effort to unite the Catholic community throughout the diocese.

The concept was first introduced by the Archdiocese of New Orleans; in the very first year, entities affiliated with the archdiocese raised $1.3 million through the one-day effort. Last year, 29 dioceses across the country took part in the growing campaign. The Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania is coordinating the program for the Diocese of Erie. One hundred percent of the funds collected (less credit card fees) will go directly to the organization each donor selects.
“This is a unique initiative because all of the money is raised locally and all of the money will stay local,” says Lisa Louis, executive director of the foundation. “We are just facilitating participation.”

There are 173 Catholic parishes, schools and ministries throughout the diocese able to receive donations on this giving day website. Among them are programs at St. Martin Center of Erie, raising funds to fight poverty, hunger and homelessness; numerous schools, and an array of parishes seeking support for everything from food pantries to heating bills.
The Catholic Foundation also will award $10,000 in a series of financial incentives throughout the day. Among the prizes are a $500 award to a randomly selected ministry that has received donations from at least 10 different donors by 10 am, and a $1,000 bonus for the organization that receives the largest single donation of the day.

To find out which organizations and ministries are participating in #iGiveCatholic visit https://erie.igivecatholic.org/. While Dec. 3 is the official day for participation, donations may be made through the website as early as Nov. 18.