By Barb Arland-Fye
Encouraged by response to a feasibility study, the Diocese of Davenport is embarking on a $22 million capital campaign over an 18-month period.
The campaign will fund four essential areas : strengthening the church of the Diocese of Davenport, supporting clergy and seminarians, reaching out to the people of the diocese, and assisting diocesan parishes.
The organizational phase of the campaign begins this month, but — with the exception of selected pilot parishes — pledges won’t be solicited from parishioners until next year at this time, diocesan officials say.
“We want more time to direct the campaign in a very organized way and in light of the economy we feel it is best that we wait to go to the people until January 2010,” said Msgr. John Hyland, the diocese’s vicar general and chairman of the Campaign Steering Committee. The organizational phase also gives the diocese time to seek gifts from major donors.
Community Counseling Services (CCS), a New York-based fundraising, consulting and management firm, conducted the feasibility study on behalf of the diocese and will assist with the capital campaign.
From September through December, CCS sought input from diocesan lay, clergy and religious regarding the proposed campaign and asked their advice on issues related to the critical pastoral needs of the diocese now and in the future.
More than 190 individuals were personally interviewed and another 45 people responded to direct mail questionnaires. They represented parishes from throughout the diocese, said CCS representative Melissa Watkins, executive director of the capital campaign. Two-thirds of the study participants responded affirmatively when asked, “Should the diocese conduct a capital campaign?” And 85 percent of respondents said they would be willing to give to the campaign, “which is a very positive number, especially in light of the economy,” Watkins added.
Diocesan officials were heartened by that response and believe it sets the tone for a fruitful campaign.
“As we move forward, we are hopeful that the parishioners of the diocese will join us in building on our future as a church,” Msgr. Hyland said.
“I find the capital campaign to be an exciting challenge,” said Sister Laura Goedken, OP, the diocese’s director of development. “This is a new beginning for our diocese as we strive to strengthen our church and build on the faith of the people.”
None of the money raised for the capital campaign will go toward the diocese’s $37 million settlement with creditors that was approved last year in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. “We will continue to honor the wishes of our donors as we make use of their gifts,” Sr. Goedken added.
She and Msgr. Hyland also noted that the capital campaign will be separate from the Annual Diocesan Appeal, which funds the day-to-day operations of the diocese.
Serving as members of the Campaign Clergy Committee are Father Ken Kuntz, chairman; Father Nick Adam; Father Jason Crossen; Msgr. Frank Henricksen; Father Tony Herold; Father Robert McAleer; Father John Spiegel; Father David Steinle and Father David Wilkening.
Yet to be decided is the campaign’s theme, which will also serve as the title of a prayer to accompany the fundraising effort.
For more information about the capital campaign, contact Sr. Goedken at 563-324-1912, ext. 290, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Catholic Messenger will keep readers updated as the campaign unfolds.