By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Fundraisers at Catholic schools in the 2020-21 school year included online only, in person, hybrid and even revised or new events. They shared the results of their efforts with The Catholic Messenger.
• Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City held its gala Feb. 6 at the Highlander Hotel in person and virtually. The theme was “The Best is Yet to Come.” “We had our silent auction online for about 10 years, so it was an easy transition,” said Trish Kohl, Regina’s special events coordinator. Overall, attendance was smaller this year. Kohl said sponsorship was relatively the same, but the event was down on gross income and donations. Gala proceeds go toward the school’s general fund.
• All Saints Catholic School in Davenport chose a fiesta theme for the Feb. 26 gala held on Facebook live. Principal Jeanne Von Feldt said silent and live auctions were held online. “Our gala was very successful and many people really liked it because they could bid from home whether it be in Davenport or Florida. We have many supporters for All Saints and we feel very blessed that we can say that. We had people calling in their bids using special phone numbers to staff and some parents for our live auction items and it was exciting.” The fiesta raised close to the amount raised at last year’s event, held just before COVID-19. “Money raised goes into the general operating budget, but we also raised money for seven classrooms to be carpeted.”
• St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport held “a very different type of new fundraiser this year instead of our usual auction, and it actually raised more money,” Principal Julie Delaney said. The school chose Velocity Fundraising, which has a program called Step it Up that focuses on purpose over profits, its website states. Delaney said each student submits 10 or more email addresses of family and friends to the program, which sends emails to the addressees asking for support with fundraising efforts. Students earn prizes for submitting email addresses and the funds raised by family and friends who responded to the emails. Students were treated to “A Day of Awesomeness” June 5 with games and inflatables hosted by Step it Up. This program replaced the traditional auction fundraiser, which always paid for a special school project. The profit from the Step It Up fundraiser was $48,747. That money will replace the bell and intercom system. “We raised more than enough to complete the project.”
• Assumption High School in Davenport made adjustments to its annual April Knight fundraiser with a hybrid event to “allow people the freedom to participate in a way they felt comfortable,” said President Andy Craig. Although crowds were smaller this year, the event was well attended and included an online auction. Funds raised go toward the general fund and capital improvement projects, Craig said. Income was higher this year than last year. “And we raised more than we budgeted.”
• Lourdes Starry Night fundraiser for Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf took place online in March and the school held a family celebration outdoors June 5, said Principal Jennifer Alongi. The well-attended online fundraiser March 22-27 was “a success on so many levels,” said Chrissy Hayes, one of the Starry Night organizers. “We experienced a continued level of support from school families and businesses.” As part of the auction, each Lourdes student (K-8) participated in a self-portrait art project that combined the portraits into a school collage that appears on a tea towel. “This was a great way to include everyone in the school in the fundraiser.” Proceeds support athletics, technology, curricular needs and “facelift” needs for the building.
• Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton went virtual with its Irish Dinner, said Karen Witt, development director. The school held a virtual auction March 21-27 with a theme “Home is Where the Auction Is.” Proceeds go toward operating expenses. Witt said profit was down from 2020, but 2021 was better than projected. “We were happy with the results.”
• Notre Dame Catholic Schools in Burlington replaced its annual God’s Portion Day with a second Pot of Blue and Gold drawing, said Principal Bill Maupin. The drawings were held on Facebook Live. The first Pot of Gold drawing “went very well.” For the second drawing May 22, the school sold 3,536 tickets, an increase of 86 tickets over the fall drawing.
• John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Davenport focused more on fun than fundraising this year, said Principal Chad Steimle. This year’s event, held May 15, was similar to a tailgating party with a theme of Rock the Lot. Live music and live and in-person auction items, along with online bidding went well.
• St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt traditionally organizes an annual pizza making and cookie dough fundraising event. This year’s event “was held in a very different format,” said Principal Sharon Roling.
Instead of families getting together on a Saturday in March to make pizzas, the local Godfather’s pizza restaurant “allowed us to offer Godfather pizza vouchers in its place. We also offered frozen cookie dough pucks. The money raised was comparable to previous years,” Roling said. “Jim Devine, Godfather’s owner who is also a school parent and parishioner, was instrumental in helping with fundraiser.”
Home & School Association fundraisers help with the general operating budget with money toward teacher salaries, library, technology, teachers’ classroom supplies and other budget items.
The school also held an Un-Fundraiser, a letter-writing campaign asking family and friends for donations with a promise that they wouldn’t be asked to participate in another fundraiser that school year. “This was also very successful this year.”