Bishop Richard J. Malone and Catholic Charities of Buffalo officials are asking for help as the organization struggles to reach this year's $11 million goal with the 2017 Appeal entering its final month.
Faced with a June 30 deadline, Catholic Charities today reported its annual campaign has reached 91 percent of goal, or $10,008,978.65 million in cash and pledges. Typically at this time, the Appeal is at about 95 or 96 percent of its goal. As a result, volunteers and campaign leadership now must raise nearly $991,000 in slightly more than four weeks in order to reach the 2017 goal.
"Barring a significant increase in donations during this final month, the 2017 Appeal is in very serious jeopardy of failing to reach its goal for the first time since 2009 and only the second time in its 93-year history," said Bishop Malone. "As we turn to the community for support, it is important to note Catholic Charities helps people of all ages, races, faiths and walks of life. In fact, more than 50 percent of those served are not Catholic."
Quoting in part from Matthew 19:26, Bishop Malone said, "With God - the intercession of St. Marianne Cope, this year's patron saint, and the incredible generosity of the Western New York community - all things are possible. I remain hopeful our efforts will reach a successful conclusion."
Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, Catholic Charities diocesan director, said not reaching this year's goal would likely result in scaling back or possibly eliminating some of the vital, life-changing and often life-saving services that impacted more than 152,000 Western New Yorkers in the last year alone.
"We have raised a significant and incredible amount of money through the efforts of many, but the fact remains our Appeal is still falling short," said Sister Mary. "It is critical we meet our goal because there are services and programs directly funded through the Appeal. Counseling, emergency assistance, food pantries and some older adult programs are examples of services that rely on the success of the Appeal. We implore the people of Western New York to make a contribution, no matter the size, and support the work of Catholic Charities, the region's most comprehensive human services agency."
Gerard and Barbara Mazurkiewicz, 2017 Appeal chairs, extended thanks to those who have responded to this year's Appeal and urged anyone who has not yet donated, to consider the value of a gift to Catholic Charities.
Barbara said, "Thousands of people, young and old, throughout our region, find help, dignity and hope through services such as counseling, mental health and substance abuse treatment, which are consistently affordable to all; basic assistance that is scarce elsewhere; and workforce and education efforts that connect young adults in high-poverty areas with livable wage jobs. We need additional support now more than ever so we can continue to strengthen and empower those who are most in need.
"We are grateful for those who have already made a gift to this year's Appeal; every gift makes a difference. Yet now we have only a very short window, indeed a finite amount of time to do infinite good before this campaign closes," said Jerry Mazurkiewicz, referring to the 2017 Appeal theme, "Finite Time. Infinite Good.
The Appeal, which officially began Jan. 18, help funds Catholic Charities' 70 programs and services across 61 sites in Western New York along with a number of ministries through the Bishop's Fund for the Faith.
Catholic Charities has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. That need is varied and widespread - from emergency assistance to counseling and from specialized services for the elderly to help with job training and education. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.
Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of the contributions it receives. Catholic Charities receives the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.
To make a donation to the 2017 Appeal, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 218-1400 or go to ccwny.org.