John Ecker

Family of Faith in final stages

  • December 26, 2015

TORONTO - Despite this summer surpassing its $105-million goal, Toronto Catholics are still encouraged to donate to the archdiocese’s ambitious Family of Faith fundraising campaign.

“The campaign is definitely not done,” said John Ecker, Family of Faith’s communications director. “It won’t be done until every parishioner and every parish has had the opportunity to participate.”

Forty-two parishes are actively engaged in Wave 4 of the campaign, which is expected to wrap up around the end of January. By late December, the campaign had raised almost $141 million that will be used to support the Archdiocese of Toronto’s pastoral plan.

Following Wave 4, nine parishes, seven of which are running a “combined campaign” with a goal set above the standard 133 per cent of the parish’s 2012 offertory, will begin collecting donations and commitments.

“(They’re) campaigns that need to run a little bit longer” than the other 216 which made up the four waves and pilot phase, said Ecker.

Ecker regularly gets asked “now that we’ve reached the goal why does the archdiocese continue to want to raise funds?” He said it’s because Family of Faith is really not one campaign but a collection of 225 parish campaigns. Along with setting an archdiocese-wide financial goal, each parish established a unique set of “priorities” to be paid from the portion of funds raised that are retained by the parish — 25 per cent of the donations until the goal is reach go to parishes, with the remaining 75 per cent going to the Archdiocese’s pot.

“Once the parish reaches their goal they get 75 per cent” of each dollar collected beyond the benchmark, said Ecker, adding that most have exceeded their goal and have been retaining on average 43 per cent of the funds raised to cover projects within their parish.

“So what that means is that there is now more funding available for parishes to do the projects that they have established as priorities.”

It means fewer funds go to the archdiocese than it appears at a first glance.

“When we explain the way the funds are being allocated I think people are relating to that and understand it,” said Ecker, noting there is an anticipated 10-per-cent attrition rate since most donations are pledges spread out over five years. “(So) we are going to have to be well over $140 (million) to ensure that all elements are covered. We seem to be on track for that.”

While most parishes are exceeding their goal, some are not coming up with all the cash commitments they had set out to collect. But that’s okay, said Ecker.

“All we ask is that they work with us, work with the plan, to do their best to get there,” said Ecker. “If they don’t, despite every effort, that is just the way it is is. There is no penalty or debt owed towards the archdiocese’s share.”

For parishes that miss the mark and lack funding to complete campaign priorities, $10 million of the archdiocese share has been set aside for interest-free loans which parishes can apply for. This fund is also accessible to parishes with very costly priority projects.

St. Mark’s in Toronto’s west end, which is installing an elevator at a cost of about $200,000, was the first to tap into this fund, securing $145,000 after raising about $60,000 from its parish campaign.

And the final thing to keep in mind for those who’ve yet to make a contribution to Family of Faith is the looming Dec. 31 tax credit deadline, said Ecker.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.