Fundraising Fiefdom

August 16, 2011

On Friday afternoon, an email went out to priests and diocesan employees announcing a new addition to the fundraising team at the archdiocese. This brought to mind the whole matter of fundraising and the growth of the archdiocesan fundraising fiefdom in the wake of the 2010 Catholic Appeal fundraising fiasco, where donations and the number of donors dropped substantially from the previous year.

First an excerpt from the Friday announcement:

“We are pleased to announce that Jacqueline Miller will be the new Catholic Appeal Manager in the Secretariat of Institutional Advancement.

In her new role she will be responsible for developing and implementing the Archdiocesan-wide Catholic Appeal throughout all 290 parishes. She will also be responsible for assisting parishes with increased offertory collections and capital campaigns.”

Jacqui has been an integral part of the Parish Financial Services team for the past three years and has built many strong relationships with pastors whom she has worked with on…”

But this post is not about Ms. Miller–who we understand has shown herself to be very capable and responsive–nor should comments be about her.  This post is the first of two this week about what is happening in fundraising.

The new fundraising entity, Boston Catholic Development Services, and new strategy were announced last November:

In order to strengthen and enhance the resources needed to fulfill the mission we received from Jesus Christ and His Church the Archdiocese is establishing a more effective, coordinated and strategic development approach.  The new entity, Boston Catholic Development Services (BCDS) will streamline the fundraising strategies of the Archdiocese. It will initially serve as the development office for the Archdiocese, the Clergy Funds and the Campaign for Catholic Schools. BCDS will provide dedicated development professionals and strategies for the Appeal, the ministries and programs of the Archdioceses, the initiatives of Campaign for Catholic Schools and the Clergy Fund.

The newly established 501(c) (3) organization will ensure donors of independence and accountability. A newly established Board of Trustees will provide oversight and some of its members will include member(s) of, the Archdiocese, the Campaign for Catholic Schools and Catholic Charities (if they choose to join).

If the headcount is an example of “streamlining” the strategies, that is not off to such a good start. According to the 2010 Catholic Appeal guide, it took 9 people working exclusively on fundraising (including the Secretary for Institutional Advancement)  to raise $15M in the 2010 Catholic Appeal.  When Kathleen Driscoll moved her crack Campaign for Catholic Schools fundraising team (that missed the CCS goal) to the Pastoral Center in December to have the chance to repeat their performance on a larger scale, they had 6 people on the team.   Add 9 + 6 and we get a total of 15 people.

Today, the  Pastoral Center employee directory shows the combined team for Institutional Advancement, Boston Catholic Development Services, and the Campaign for Catholic Schools has grown by 33%, to 20 people.   Are they raising 33% more funds this year?  Here are the people in the fundraising fiefdom today:

Kathleen Driscoll: Secretary, Institutional Advancement
Claudia C: Events Manager: Institutional Advancement
Michelle H: Communications Associate: Institutional Advancement
Jacqui M.: Catholic Appeal Manager: Institutional Advancement

Lynn M: Executive Assistant: Boston Catholic Development Services (BCDS)
Joann B: Manager of Gift Processing and Donor Relations: BCDS
Judy C: Sr. Gifts Processor: BCDS
Damian D: Chief Leadership Giving Officer, BCDS
Arlene D: Operations Associate: BCDS
Richard E: Director of Gift Planning & Stewardship, BCDS
Todd K: Sr. Programmer Analyst: BCDS
Courtney R: Temporary Gift Processor: BCDS
Courtney W: Development Marketing Manager: BCDS

Patricia B: Associate Vice President of Development: Campaign for Catholic Schools
Arthur B: Development Officer, Campaign for Catholic Schools
Sandra D: Director of Operations: Campaign for Catholic Schools
Kate D: Special Projects Manager: Campaign for Catholic Schools
Mary M: Vice President of Development: Campaign for Catholic Schools
Emily P: Development Associate: Campaign for Catholic Schools
Andrea P: Director Communications: Campaign for Catholic Schools

Beyond the growing size of the fiefdom, the “accountability” that was supposed to be ensured to donors is not obvious. The Campaign for Catholic Schools never announced their results on the “2010 Initiative” (which ended last December 31, 2010), there is no goal publicly announced for the current efforts by the Campaign for Catholic Schools, and the announcement of the 2011 Catholic Appeal does not give any goal. Each parish knows their Catholic Appeal goal so an aggregate goal is known internally. How can there be “accountability” for results by BCDS when their targeted goals are never shared publicly?

BCI is also wondering where Catholics can find the names of the members of the “newly established Board of Trustees.”  We realize that only 9 months have passed since the announcement, and with all of the hiring and fundraising, the minor matter of publishing the names of the Board of Trustees probably slipped through the cracks.

For greater transparency and accountability to faithful Catholics around fundraising, BCI would suggest that the RCAB consider the following:

  1. Publish fundraising goals for key initiatives, including the Catholic Appeal, Campaign for Catholic Schools, and Clergy Appreciation Dinner (to fund the Clergy Retirement Fund)
  2. Publish the results of these initiatives in a timely manner, and hold the team accountable for the results
  3. Work harder at keeping the size and overhead costs of the fundraising feifdom as small as possible to ensure donor funds are used most effectively toward ministry, not toward salaries of the fundraising people
  4. Publish the names of BCDS Trustees

What do you think?

Stay tuned for our next post, where we will share with you more details on the new strategy and plan that the fundraising fiefdom is following.

ps. Remember the new “one strike and you’re out” policy on personal attacks.


2010 Year in Review

January 2, 2011

With it still being New Years weekend, we would like to take this final opportunity to look back on the year that just closed.  Our frame of reference is mostly through the lens of the blog, mostly from after the blog started (AB), though we will share a few things from before the blog (BB).

The main events and themes revealed this past year were deception by the highest levels in the archdiocesan leadership, a reorganization of the Cardinal’s cabinet, continued  dismantling of the archdiocese (exemplified by the selloff of Caritas Christi), more Pastoral Center layoffs, major financial difficulties for 40% of parishes that are running a deficit, increased spending by the Pastoral Center on six-figure salaries, fiscal mismanagement, and a continued decline in weekly Mass attendance.  In the face of these problems, we saw an even more visible display of the episcopal leadership vacuum filled by powerbroker Jack Connors, Fr. Bryan Hehir, and Chancellor Jim McDonough, some attempts at evangelization, and the emergence of this blog, Boston Catholic Insider, dedicated to sharing the goings-on and exposing corruption in the archdiocese.

Below is a list of our top events of 2010. (If we missed any big ones, please let us know).  There is no priority order—they are just events we think are reflective of the past year and suggestive of what is to come in the future.

  • Boston Archdiocese sells off the Caritas Christi hospital system to Cerberus, a private equity firm whose name is the same name as the 3-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades.  (click on picture to zoom/enlarge). External spin was that the sale was necessary to maintain long-term financial health of the hospitals, even though Caritas had announced a financial turn-around months before the deal was  brokered which supposedly marked a foundation for long-term fiscal health with no acquisition.  Cardinal O’Malley, Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson, and Fr. Bryan Hehir all publicly deceive the archdiocese with statements that the Catholic identity of the hospitals would be maintained forever, when in fact, the agreement allows Cerberus to drop  the Catholic identity for a $25 million payment after 3 years if deemed “burdensome” by them.  (Themes: deception, influence by Jack Connors and Fr. Bryan Hehir, conflicts of interest, dismantling the diocese, episcopal leadership vacuum).
  • Archdiocese reduces staff by 10% in June 2010, mostly by laying off low-level, long-time dedicated employees.  No people making six-figure salaries were affected.  Six-figure salaried employees who had previously taken a 5-10% pay cut to help balance the budget had their salaries increased back to previous levels. (Themes: fiscal mismanagement, poor get poorer while rich get richer, leadership vacuum)
  • Pastor of St. Pauls in Hingham (Fr. James Rafferty) rejects admission to the parish school for a child of lesbian parents. He is thrown under the bus for his decision by Jack Connors, the Catholic Schools Foundation, and schools superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill (click on picture to enlarge). An admissions policy is drafted and advanced in approval processes amongst school principals and clergy which deceptively uses words of Pope Benedict XVI out of context as basis for the policy and rejects canonical principles of subsidiarity that would allow pastors/parishes to make such decisions themselves. (Theme: deception, influence by Jack Connors and Fr. Bryan Hehir, episcopal leadership vacuum)
  • 40% of Boston archdiocesan parishes are in the red and cannot pay their bills. Publicly disclosed figures put weekly Mass attendance at about 17%, and we hear the number has actually dropped to more like around 12%.  Pastoral planning process advances to combine multiple church buildings into parishes.   (Theme: continued decline of the diocese)
  • 5 closed parishes maintain protest vigils, after final canonical appeals were exhausted in 2010, and in some cases more than six years after they were ordered closed.  For vigil parishes, no one has the guts to simply block people from entering the churches and thereby end the vigils. Cost to the archdiocese to maintain all closed parishes is more than $1.5 million per year.  (Themes: fiscal mismanagement, episcopal leadership vacuum)
  • Powerbroker Jack Connors and Chancellor Jim McDonough reorganized the Cardinal’s cabinet (starting in the winter of 2010 through summer and fall) pushing out the previous Secretary for Institutional Advancement, Scot Landry, from that role. Their vision was, and is, to forsake the “widows mite” in fund-raising and instead go after primarily deep-pocketed donors.  (Themes: influence and consolidation of power by Jack Connors and Jim McDonough, episcopal leadership vacuum)
  • New Development Chief, Kathleen Driscoll, was named after a “sham search” where the Cardinal, Jack Connors, and Vicar General  Fr. Richard Erikson formed a search committee and told everyone in the archdiocese a real search was underway, when in reality, Ms. Driscoll had been identified as the choice before the search was ever announced.  The new fund-raising entity puts all fund-raising under the control of Jack Connors’ former Hill Holliday exec,  Driscoll, leaving the Cardinal and archdiocese further beholden to Connors’ agenda.  In sports, one might call the sham search analagous to a “head fake”—namely where a player moves their head one way to fake a change in direction. Outside of sports, one might call the explanation given internally by the Vicar General—that there were two parallel tracks to the search, one a public search that never took place and the other an internal search—either a “deception” or an outright “lie.”  (Themes: deception, influence and consolidation of power by Jack Connors, conflict of interest, cronyism, dismantling the diocese, episcopal leadership vacuum)
  • Boston Catholic Insider blog launches June 23, 2010. Chancellor’s decision to block archdiocesan access to the blog resulted in greatly increased public visibility for the blog, including articles in the Boston Globe and by the Associated Press. Communications chief, Terry Donilon, complained about “unfounded claims” on the blog, but never identified even one such claim.  By the end of 2010, the blog had 100 posts, 1,330 comments, and 150,000 pages viewed by 91,000 unique visitors from around the world.  With 80+% of traffic coming from the greater Boston area,  we estimate that about 3X more Boston-area people have read the Boston Catholic Insider blog than regularly read the archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot.  The blog publishes an Open Letter to Cardinal O’Malley and archdicoesan leaders on August 23 (and updated September 15) asking for action on a number of issues.  Perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, the following have happened in follow-up of that open letter regarding issues in the letter.
  • Excessive Compensation in Six-Figure Salaries: Compensation Committee formed by Archdiocesan Finance Council
  • Whistleblower Policy:  About 4 years after auditors recommended the archdiocese create an anonymous whistleblower policy, the Chancellor finally did something.  He has hired Ethicspoint to host the system and the policy is nearing implementation, albeit with flawed processes around it that would make the policy ineffective if implemented as planned. (Stay tuned for more on that).
  • Names of Finance Council and Committee Members: Were anonymous for past 2 years, but now posted publicly.
  • Names of Trustees for Clergy Retirement Fund: Were finally disclosed to the clergy.  We are still awaiting the names of the trustees for the lay retirement fund six months after we asked.
  • Search for New Development Chief:  No change in direction was made after the blog started reporting on the “sham search.”  After we reported for months on the sham search, the Archdiocese confirmed it with the announcement of Kathleen Driscoll, further hurting their own credibility
  • Search for Mass Catholic Conference executive director: at least a head of the search committee, Bishop Coleman, of Fall River, was beyond criticism when the search was announced.  However, other members of the search committee have raised concerns about ties to Fr. Bryan Hehir, Jack Connors, and an agenda other than the advancement of Catholic teachings in public policy, thus the search is considered tainted.
  • Priest Appreciation: In conjunction with the Priest Appreciation Dinner, the blog launched a priest “shout out” where writers thanked more than 75 archdiocesan and religious order priests for their ministry.
  • U.S.C.C.B President Election: On a national level, Boston Catholic Insider took a short-lived detour from matters of Boston governance and corruption and contributed in at least some way to the public dialogue and derailing of the candidacy of Tucson bishop Gerald Kicanas for USCCB President.  Our “Red Alert” campaign enabled Catholics to voice objections to his candidacy directly to bishops based on past handling of allegations of sexual improprieties .  The AP, USA Today, America Magazine, Commonweal, and other national publications all reported on how Catholic bloggers had urged readers to send protest faxes and leave messages for bishops at the hotel where they are meeting.  America Magazine said, “e-mails and faxes to the bishops were apparently piling up in the bishop’s Baltimore hotel rooms.”  We cannot claim anything about BCI’s impact on the election beyond merely saying we contributed to the dialogue and played some role in enabling people to communicate their concerns with their bishops.   This last point being said, the Kicanas effort does show the demand on the part of Catholics for some vehicle to communicate with their bishops, and the impact which is possible when such vehicles exist.   This is not the last campaign you will see from BCI!
  • Cardinal O’Malley went to Dublin to serve on an apostolic visitation to Ireland in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in that country.  He told people “I am here to listen.”  (We hope we hear the same words expressed from him in Boston soon). Cardinal Seans’ blog, by the “first blogging Cardinal” evolves almost entirely into a photojournal of the Cardinal’s travels and meetings with friends and family members, portraying a bishop increasingly removed from teaching, sanctifying, and governing in Boston. (Theme: episcopal leadership vacuum)
  • Lay pension plan frozen: for about 10,000 church secretaries, parochial school teachers, and other lay employees.  Chancellor tells Boston Globe that archdiocesan employees had not had pay raises for 4 years, a statement contradicted by the reality of diocesan annual reports and many employees who indeed received cost of living increases as recently as the 2007-2008 fiscal year. (Themes: deception, fiscal mismanagement)
  • On the evangelistic  front, the archdiocese launched “The Light is On For You” to make confession available to Catholics on Wednesday evenings in Lent and most recently in Advent.  Feedback has been positive.  In addition, a new effort to reach out to fallen-away Catholics, “Catholics Come Home” will be coming to Boston in 2011. (Theme: evangelization)
  • On the vocations front, St. Johns Seminary is prospering despite the other problems in the archdiocese.  In fact, they are reaching capacity to accommodate full-time students and need more space—space the seminary once owned and which a Vatican visitation committee had recommended not be sold or given away, but which was sold anyway by the Cardinal and Chancellor James McDonough to raise money for the archdiocese.  (theme: episcopal leadership vacuum)

The Boston Catholic Insider blog has enjoyed some very proud moments and also weathered our share of criticism.  Amidst ups and downs, we are told that we have finally given a voice to those whose complaints were going unheard and who viewed there as being little hope of recovering the Catholic Church that many people have known and loved in Boston.  One person recently wrote and said the following:

“The blog has brought to reality my longtime desire to enable this particular Church to know the truth…without being traumatized into still another heartache.  The blog has pulled back the curtain with good will, good humor and, most importantly, superb documentation.  No hearts were broken to produce this blog!  (OK, maybe a couple of frowns cracked around #66, but that was to be expected.)

The abuse crisis, and to a lesser extent the parish closings and the pension mess (both lay and clergy) have resulted in some people punishing themselves by separation from their sacraments.  They wanted to slam the door on the people who broke their hearts, but instead they slammed themselves out.  The blog is allowing a difficult truth to be understood, and most importantly, allowing people to think how to go about addressing it. They aren’t storming out of the Church — they are storming into the conversation.

Congratulations on six remarkably strong months, with few hiccups!

We feel very good about what the blog has accomplished in the past six months.  Now, onward and upwards to the challenges and opportunities of 2011!


Welcoming More Expensive People to the Pastoral Center

December 17, 2010

In case you thought the folks at the Pastoral Center were working hard to save money and use your donations most cost-effectively, you may want to think again.

Below is an email sent by Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson to everyone working for the archdiocese letting them know about six people from the Campaign for Catholic Schools now coming to the 4th floor (high-rent district) of the Pastoral Center.  A hearty welcome to you!!  They are joining the fund-raising operation, now headed by a former Hill Holliday employee of Jack Connors, Kathleen Driscoll, after a “sham search” that, in reality, had identified her as the choice before it was even announced.

Looking at the email, we see a Vice President, Associate Vice President, and Director.  Sounds like titles from either a bank or an ad agency. At least a few of them no doubt add to the six-figure salary count in Braintree, pushing it close to 30 people making more than $100K/year. So now, we have nearly 30 people earning a combined amount north of $4M–more than 1/4 of the Annual Appeal goal. Naturally, there is someone who used to work for Jack Connor’s firm, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc.  And to round things out, we have a couple people from Hingham, the same town where new development chief, Kathleen Driscoll hails from.

Anyone else wondering how much these people cost?  Has Chancellor McDonough forgotten about the big layoff of 20 low to mid-level people back in June to supposedly save money and balance the budget? Have the folks at 66 Brooks Drive forgotten that about 40% of parishes are in the red, while pastors are still working hard to raise money for the Annual Appeal?  What does this do to morale at the Pastoral Center for mid to lower-level employees to see these people with big titles and big salaries suddenly arriving to the 4th floor after the “sham search” that hired their boss for a $250K-$300K/year job?

What are the individual fund-raising goals for each entity–Catholic Appeal, Catholic Schools Foundation, Campaign for Catholic Schools–that this new combined fund-raising powerhouse is supposed to hit?  How are they each doing against each individual goal?

Anyway, here is a slightly edited version of the email from Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson.  He now seems to be 100% co-opted as the spokesman for the McDonough/Connors/Hehir regime:

On Friday (17 December) we will be welcoming the following six associates from the Campaign for Catholic Schools to the Pastoral Center.  They will be located on the 4th floor north.

Mary Flynn Myers, Vice President of Development
Mary has been the Vice President of Development for the Campaign for Catholic Schools since  December 2007.  Prior to joining the CCS she was a Senior Director for Biomedical Research Development at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, raising leadership gifts in support of basic and clinical research.  She has over 25 years experience in development.  A native of Arlington, MA, Mary is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross.  She resides in Boston and volunteers with the Children’s Liturgy of the Word at the Paulist Center.

Patricia Kelleher Bartram, Associate Vice President of Development
Pat joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in December 2007 from the UMass Memorial Foundation, where she worked for nine years as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development.  During that time, she staffed the Foundation’s Board of Directors and led them through a major reorganization.  She also directed two successful major capital campaigns.  She has over 25 years experience in development. Pat is a product of Catholic schools, having attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Shrewsbury, MA, followed by Notre Dame Academy, Worcester, MA.

Sandra A. Dowd, Director of Operations
Sandy joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in January 2008 from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she worked for 18 years.  For the past eight years she was Department Administrator of the Office of the Chancellor, and during the previous ten years she served as the Director of Alumni Relations and Special Projects.  A native of Michigan, Sandy earned a Bachelor degree from Michigan Technological University.  She holds a Masters in Public Affairs from the John W. McCormack Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Arthur Boyle, Development Officer
Artie was appointed Development Officer in February 2010.  For the past 25 years he had been in sales management, director-level and ownership positions with various companies and industries.  Most recently he was a senior loan officer with Heritage Mortgage Company. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is very active in church and local school activities, leading numerous prayer groups in Hingham and the surrounding area. He and his wife Judy live in Hingham.

Kate Doyle, Special Projects Manager
Kate Doyle joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in early 2009 after 12 years at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc., where she worked as an Executive Assistant.  Prior to Hill, Holliday, she worked for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in Boston. Kate graduated from Pennsylvania State University and lives in Hingham, with her husband and son.

Andrea Polonetsky, Director of Marketing and Communications
Andrea joined the Campaign for Catholic Schools in early 2008 with a marketing background.  She worked at Citizens Bank in Sponsorships and Brand Promotions, and as an Account Executive at Maine’s highest-rated news station, WCSH6.  She also worked on the planning of fundraising events for Life is Good, Inc. and the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.

Please join me in welcoming our colleagues in offering your support for their efforts as, together, we carry on the mission entrusted to us by Christ and His Church.

Blessings,

Fr Rich

#  #  #   #

Incidentally, in case people think the idea for this combined fund-raising entity and move to Braintree just came about recently, you can also think again about that one.  We have it on good word that the Chancellor was in on discussions about merging at least the separate fund-raising entitites–Jack Connors’ Campaign for Catholic Schools and the Catholic Schools Foundation–and locating them in Braintree starting back in the summer of 2009.

Have a good weekend!


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