Our Mother of Perpetual Help Tops $211,000
The 2021 Extraordinary Give proved to be another astounding fund-raiser for Catholic schools in Lancaster County.
In total, the five Diocesan schools that participated in the annual one-day donation drive on Nov. 19 received $282,380. The largest portion of the total, by far, was raised by Our Mother of Perpetual Help School in Ephrata: $211,750 in online donations.
It’s an amazing feat, given that this year marked the school’s second time participating in the one-day marathon of giving. Last year, OMPH raised more than $145,000 – a figure the school community set out to top this time around with a goal of $200,000.
“Our Mother of Perpetual Help School’s second showing in the one day of giving event saw 485 donors rally to raise over $211,000 to support the Fund for OMPH School, placing our school eight among the 516 participating nonprofit organizations,” said Jen Francis, the school’s Director of Marketing and Enrollment. “Additional offline gifts of over $10,000 given on the day of the Extra Give brings our total to over $222,000!”
Unbridled excitement permeated throughout the school that day as donations poured in. Students at the PreK-8 school were greeted with cheers and pompoms at the start of the day, and celebrated the announcement of various financial and donor milestones throughout the day. In the evening, the school celebrated at a Fall Fest event for families, with games, treats and a movie.
“The OMPH School community is profoundly grateful to the hundreds of generous donors who stepped forward in faith to support our beloved school,” Francis said. “The money raised during the Give this year will allow OMPH to continue with improvements to our facilities and upgrades to our programs. Most importantly, money raised during the Give continues to provide financial aid to all families in our community who desire an OMPH School education for their children. May God bless our generous donors for all they do for OMPH School!”
The Extraordinary Give is an initiative of the Lancaster County Community Foundation. The one-day marathon inspires donors to make online contributions to boost local non-profits and schools at the start of the holiday season. This year’s 24-hour event began at midnight on Nov. 19 and raised more than $15.8 million for 516 organizations.
In addition to Our Mother Perpetual Help, four Catholic schools also received significant contributions: Lancaster Catholic High School, $24,692; Sacred Heart of Jesus School, $22,346; St. John Neumann School, $13,285; and Resurrection Catholic School, $10,307.
Resurrection topped its last year’s results in the Give, in both funds raised (from $6,925 in 2020) and in donors contributing (from 77 in 2020 to 84 this year).
Gemma Pasewicz, Marketing and Communications Director at Resurrection, said the PreK-8 school ramped up its promotion of the Extraordinary Give via its Facebook and Instagram accounts, and e-blasts to the school community.
“Our goal for this year was $10,000, so we exceeded that, which is amazing,” Pasewicz said.
“We have amazing supporters at RCS and want to thank them for their continued support for the school,” she said.
This year marked St. John Neumann School’s third time participating in the Extraordinary Give.
“Our desire to participate was because we wanted to be part of the energy around the amazing level of philanthropy occurring on that one day in the Lancaster community,” said Janice Wolfe, Director of Admissions and Advancement. “As our community shared our story on social media, we were able to extend our reach beyond those we already know and the positive energy was contagious. We had a few donors give multiple times within the day because they wanted to help us reach our donor and dollar goals.”
The funds will support The SJNCS Fund, which underwrites all of the school’s endeavors.
“We did set goals for the amount raised as well as for donors involved. While the dollar goal was great, we are very excited that we were able to reach our donor goal because it indicates that we extended our connections into the community beyond those we already know,” Wolfe said.
At Sacred Heart of Jesus, donors were motivated to reach various milestones via a series of school-wide incentives, including extra recess time, a dress-down day and some “silliness with Father Metzgar.” For the latter, students enveloped Father Michael Metzgar, pastor, in wrapping paper as a reminder that he is a gift to the school.
Contributions from 146 donors raised $22,346 for Sacred Heart, a significant increase from the school’s first foray into the Extraordinary Give in 2018, which resulted in just over $14,000 from 76 people.
“Most of the funds raised are earmarked for tuition assistance, as nearly 70% of our students receive some assistance,” said Ann Weaver, who oversees fundraising and public relations at the PreK-8 school.
In a show of appreciation, students offered messages of gratitude in a video to donors, https://youtu.be/k-_X7edXQPc, with the message, “Thank you for your generous donation to Sacred Heart School! Your gift of a day, week, month, or trimester of education will bear fruit in the lives of our students for years to come,” Weaver said.
Since its launch in 2012, the Extraordinary Give has raised more than $63 million for Lancaster-area organizations. Find more information at www.extragive.org.
To learn about Catholic school education in the Diocese, visit www.gocatholicschools.org.
(Photos courtesy of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. John Neumann and Resurrection Catholic Schools.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness