This year’s Share in the Spirit collection, taken up in parishes Sept. 21-22, raised $279,875 to help provide tuition assistance to parents who otherwise would could not afford to send their children to the Diocese of Wilmington’s elementary and high schools.
Contributions represent a drop of $33,000 from the 2018 collection, according to Deborah Fols, head of the diocesan Development Office.
The good news, Fols said, was that Bishop Malooly’s direct mail solicitation to previous Share in the Spirit contributors, raised $70,472 compared to last year’s $62,285. The bishop’s solicitation was conducted three weeks prior to the September in-pew solicitation.
Also, for the first time, Catholic school staff members were invited to participate and 12 schools contributed a total of nearly $5,000 to Share in the Spirit. (See related story on Catholic school students who contributed to the campaign.)
However, the diocesan in-pew collection was down by notably from last year. Another decrease was reflected in less in gifts for student sponsorship. This year donors gave $47,000, down from $59,000 for sponsorship in 2018.
“Unfortunately,” Fols said, “the decline this year in total Share in the Spirit donations, doesn’t reflect a decline in the number of families who could use tuition assistance to provide their children with a Catholic education.”
While Share in the Spirit contributions combined with annual interest from the diocese’s Vision for the Future Education Trust are providing financial aid to nearly 300 students this year, Fols said, “What’s troubling is that more than 500 students, whose families also applied for assistance, are going unfunded due to the diocese’s limited resources.”
Parishioners can still contribute to the Share in the Spirit or opt to sponsor a student at a diocesan school of their choice. Money raised now, Fols said, will be distributed during the spring for the 2020-21 school year.
How you can help: For more information on investing in the future of Catholic education, contact Deborah Fols, development director at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 573-3121.