Fungible Fundraising

Last November, when Kathleen Driscoll was announced as the new Secretary for Institutional Advancement and the new Boston Catholic Development Services was formed to centralize fundraising, we were all told this new effort would “ensure donors of independence and accountability.”

If the archdiocesan fundraising efforts are characterized by “accountability,” then why is it that no one is accounting for what they have raised for two major initiatives in a timely manner after the fundraising terms have finished?

As we mentioned in early January in our post “Jack Connors’ Catholic Schools 2010 Initiative: The Verdict is…”, the 2010 Initiative of the Campaign for Catholic Schools was supposed to raise $70 million and finish December 31, 2010.  Here we sit well past that deadline, and has anyone seen or hear a word about how Jack Connors, Kathleen Driscoll, and their “dream team” of fundraisers did against their goal by December 31?   We heard they got a big donation of about $5 million late in the year, which would have put them somewhere in the range of about $63 million.  How can there be accountability, when there is no announcement of the financial result?

Then there is the silence about the result of the 2010 annual Catholic Appeal.  The 2010 Catholic Appeal goal was never announced last year, but sources indicate the target was kept flat from the prior year at around $15.1 million. The appeal closed January 31.  What was actually raised against the goal?  Last year, they announced on February 8 they had surpassed their $15 million goal, raising $15.1 million. It is now February 14, and no announcement yet.  How much you want to bet that they did not match hit $15 million, and are down from previous years?  Sources indicate that they missed the goal they needed to raise this past year by at least $700K, which means even if they get out the gate with a really strong start to next years’ appeal ASAP, there could be more layoffs and budget cuts this spring.  What are the consequences for the Archdiocese, assuming the Catholic Appeal goal was not achieved? What are the consequences for Kathleen Driscoll and the BCDS staff if the goal was not achieved?  How much is the current fund-raising staff of 15 people for BCDS costing that was not on the payroll last year? Will any of them be laid off should cuts be necessary? Are any of those salaried expenses covered by donors (as was supposedly the case with the CCS), or are those now borne by the Archdiocese and BCDS, and thus by parishes and individual donors who give to the Catholic Appeal?

Three months after the announcement that followed the infamous “sham search” to fill the position, why is there no disclosure of the names of the people on the “newly established Board of Trustees” who “will provide oversight”? 

Why exactly is there so much secrecy around fund-raising for the Catholic Appeal and for the goals of BCDS, especially in view of the announcement that said there would be greater accountability? 

Beyond the Catholic Appeal, BCDS also has responsibility for raising money for the Clergy Retirement fund.  In addition to raising $1M/year at an annual dinner, what exactly are the plans to fully fund the hundreds of millions of dollars now needed to assure the future retirement security of hundreds of priests?

What are the plans to fund the lay pension fund? 

And is it true that the archdiocese is still carrying some liabilities for the Caritas Christi pension plan, even after the healthcare system was sold off to Cerberus?

Boston Catholic Insider is really glad that the archdiocese is making “accountability” an important part of this new fundraising effort, because if this is what donors get with “accountability,” imagine what they would get if the archdiocese set out to keep everything confidential.

14 Responses to Fungible Fundraising

  1. John Cronin says:

    Why is it that when we seek answers to serious questions, we only get more questions. Transparency is a myth. One of the promblems is too much legal advice is not the way to go…turn to the Father for advice and then TRUST in HIM! Those who truly follow HIM seem to be happy, their needs are filled and freedom is their joy!

  2. Former Employee says:

    They will announce their goal as soon as they decide how much they can squeeze out of the Parishes with the new “tax”, an easily achievable goal, probably with some interesting numbers crunching.

    It will be an easily achievable goal so they look like superstars when they go over it, when in fact they are just assessing it on the Parishes where the poor priest have to turn off the heat to make the goal.

    At least Erikson is leaving….

  3. Priest Just Wondering says:


  4. Dave says:

    Sure the Archdiocese still has some pension responsibility for Caritas. Never mentioned but true, Caritas has a bunch of liability for the RCAB plan as well. Both were in the same plan for many years and both have equal responsibilities for liabilities that accrued during those years. You would think that the RCAB Trustees would go after Caritas and the Archdiocese to fund the plans. Ooops, not so indepedent are they????

  5. Molly says:

    I thought it was odd yesterday when I received a package in the mail about the “Catholic Appeal”. It had a number of pie charts representing how the funds are allocated. I didn’t pay close attention as to whether it was for the Catholic Appeal we just had or the new one for this year…either way, I won’t be donating. I much prefer my donations to go directly to my parish for now at least.

  6. Dan Brown says:

    2 Questions spring to mind: Why was Scot Landry pushed out after hitting the goal 2 years in a row and why is the Archdiocese not shifting to a 403(b) retirement plan vs. a pension system?

    It would also be interesting to see the breakdown of new donors vs. repeat donors and % of small gifts vs. larger gifts year-over-year. That might tell a story of many $100 gifts disappearing (I know ours has) and how you could project revenue out over 10 years, 20 years.

    It’s tough because when you multiply $100 * a lifetime, that can add up–and that’s without the likely increases after things like student loans and mortgages get paid off.

    • Objective Observer says:

      RCAB employees had both 403(b) and pension. RCAB did not match any 403(b) contributions.

      The idea now is to shift to a 403(b) with a small match (2% of employee’s gross) and no pension. MUCH cheaper or RCAB… much less support of employees.

  7. Dan Brown says:

    I just received the annual Catholic appeal and looked at my ’07, ’08, & ’09 contributions (my ’10 was $0). As I was wondering whether I should reconsider my decision against donating in light of all that’s been exposed from the BHE & BCI blogs, I leafed through the wonderful pamphlet enclosed and who do I see? Fr. Ron Coyne of St. Mary’s Randolph. Could this be the same Fr. Coyne who was pastor of St. Albert the Great, one of the vigil parishes in Weymouth that remained open?

    Not a big deal save for the fact that a colleague of mine attested to the fact that she once heard Fr. Coyne preach a homily to the left of (Gay Episcopal Bishop) Gene Robinson on the issue of marriage.

    Perhaps the irony of his photo opposite the “Building Stronger Catholic Marriages” excerpt will boost the return on the appeal.

    • Carolyn says:

      Well, at least now there won’t be any more confusion about which “Fr. Coyne” people refer to… “Ronnie” is the only “Father Coyne” remaining while Bishop-elect Christopher heads off to Indiana.

      I, too, received my Appeal recap (kind of reminded me of my National Grid bill). My donation to the Appeal, restricted to Saint John’s Seminary (make your check out to the seminary, mail it to the seminary, with a letter asking that it be credited through the Appeal), gives the Appeal the benefit of claiming my donation in its total, my parish the benefit of claiming my donation in its quota, and 100 seminarians and 200 lay people who take classes (according to my thank you from the seminary) the benefit of the actual dollars.


      PS – I’m also told by the parent of a seminarian that this is the only money the seminary actually receives from the Appeal — money that was never the Appeal’s to begin with.

  8. Dig Deeper for the Truth says:

    Dan Brown – yes, it’s the same Ron Coyne. You should check out his history. He’s got his own version of the Catholic faith that doesn’t include sin (he’s refused to hear confessions from folks in the past because he says there’s no need for them to confess “that stuff”), and that allows for so-called “gay marriage” to be performed – by him or with his permission – in the Catholic Church at which he was once pastor.

    How does this guy continue to be given parishes to destroy?

  9. Patrick O’Malley says:

    You contributors are such fools.

    The Catholic Church hides information about pedophile priests that raped your children, and you’re surprised when they hide details about your money?

    Don’t donate to them. Go to mass, but don’t donate.

  10. Patrick,
    I assume when you say “you contributors are fools” you are referring to people who give money to the archdiocese (vs people who contribute to this blog).

    As you can see from this blog post, we are calling attention to the fact that the archdiocese is hiding details about fund-raising and financial contributions. Are we surprised? No. Are we disappointed? Yes, and it is for that reason we are calling attention to this matter.

  11. Patrick O’Malley says:

    Boston Catholic Insider,

    You are correct – I was referring to people who give money to the archdiocese (vs people who contribute to this blog).

    The Catholic Church’s hypocrisy in terms of telling us that we should tell the truth, and we should practice poverty, while they hide financial details is aggravating, and in my opinion, begins to define them.

    The way they hide the details about rapists is reprehensible, and proves that their hypocrisy has no borders, and proves that as an organization, they are truly evil.

    You are disappointed. I am disgusted, infuriated and no longer see them as my religious authority. In fact, I consider them to be the “false idols” the commandments warns about. I will never finance them again.

    I truly applaud a powerful Catholic blog for addressing the issue. You aren’t as radical as I am, but you address the truth. The church needs more like you as their spokespeople.

  12. […] transparent financial reporting when for the first time in more than a decade, the results from the 2010 Catholic Appeal have not been publicly announced nearly two months after the campaign finished?  Nor have the results from the Campaign for […]

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