By GLENN RUTHERFORD
Ann Marie Kelly is a life-long member of the Archdiocese of Louisville, but until she had the chance to see closely the workings of the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA), she had no idea of its scope and breadth.
For the past year, Kelly has served as the coordinator for annual giving for the Office of Stewardship and Development, and she’s been given a first-hand look at exactly what the CSA does.
“I didn’t realize the scope of the program and the number of agencies that are helped,” she said last week in an interview at the Chancery.
“The archbishop (Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz) is constantly reminding me that we help the people we do, we provide the services we provide, not because all the people receiving the help are Catholic, but because we are Catholic,” she explained. “There are programs helped by the CSA all across the archdiocese where no one is ever asked for their religious affiliation. They don’t have to be Catholic to get help from the CSA.”
The annual appeal — which again this year is using the theme “Bringing Christ to Others — will officially begin in October, and Nicholas K. Eve, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, says this year’s goal is $2,750,000.
“There are so many programs served by the CSA that when we’re asked for a precise number, we always say ‘more than 100’ because the number is changing all the time,” he said.
For instance, in the past year or so the Catholic Enrichment Center has added dozens of programs and services to its schedule. In September and October alone, the center — at 3146 W. Broadway — will host a community-wide health fair, several activities at its “Senior Institute,” a city-wide spelling bee, ACT and SAT college preparatory test classes, classes in “couponing” and other activities.
“The number of ministries and programs changes year by year,” Eve said, “but it’s a matter of people finding a need and then we change and create a program to address the need.”
This year’s CSA campaign is making a special effort, Kelly noted, to “re-engage” donors who’ve contributed to the recently completed Building a Future of Hope campaign.
“We’re trying to get them to contribute to the CSA as they complete their pledges to Building a Future of Hope,” Kelly said. “And we’re also making a special effort to reach the young adults of the archdiocese, those who may never have contributed to the appeal. We’re looking to engage young people — those in their 20s, 30s and 40s — who perhaps are just getting established.”
One way of reaching those young people, she noted, is through the “Catholic Connection,” the archdiocese’s electronic newsletter.
“We’re trying to reach those people who are paying bills on line, who get emails rather than letters,” Kelly said. “In the past the campaign hasn’t had an online presence, but now next month’s Catholic Connection will feature information about CSA.”
The newsletter is distributed now to more than 11,000 electronic addresses, and Kelly said the Catholic Connection’s readership level “is far above national averages.”
“We know that we need to use social media to reach this younger demographic,” she said, “and we’re making a special effort in that area. I know the archbishop is now on Twitter and I’m asking him to ‘tweet’ things about CSA.”
The number one effort of this year’s CSA campaign, Eve added, is “to invite every Catholic household to support the appeal.”
“We’d like to ask people who’ve never supported CSA, young people whose careers and families are just getting established, the whole spectrum of people who make up the archdiocese — we’d like for everyone to be involved,” Eve said. “We want to help them understand that they’re a part of this archdiocese; we want to inform them about the work of the CSA.”
Part of that effort will involve “CSA Awareness Weekends” in parishes throughout the archdiocese. The first will be Sept. 22-23; the second on Sept. 29-30. On Monday, Oct. 1, the people of the archdiocese will receive a letter about this year’s appeal from Archbishop Kurtz, along with a pledge form. “CSA Awareness Weekend” number three will be Oct. 6 and 7, followed by the distribution of pledge forms in
parishes and in the Oct. 18 and Nov. 1 issues of The Record.
Eve said funds will begin to be collected in November, with the “Pledge Fulfillment Period” running from November, 2012 through June of next year.