The annual ShareLife campaign supports agencies like St. Bernadette’s Family Resource Centre. ShareLife has set a target of $13.8 million for its parish campaign this year. Register file photo

ShareLife seeks to challenge all-time haul

  • April 23, 2022

Weeks after putting a bow on a 2021 parish fundraising campaign that accrued a record $13.9 million, ShareLife is eyeing an encore that will equal or even eclipse last year’s success.

For the third straight year, $13.8 million is the parish campaign donation target of the charitable fundraising appeal of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Unlike 2021, that threshold was not met in 2020. Still, the $11.68 million raised during the year the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world was considered a considerable achievement that provided much-needed aid to the over 40 Catholic social service agencies supported by ShareLife.

Arthur Peters, executive director of ShareLife and director of development at the Archdiocese of Toronto, explained why sticking with the same goal was sensible.

“We were very blessed with the matching gift and the amazing generosity from our donors that allowed us to reach last year’s total,” said Peters. “We recognize that while many people were generous and able to give to ShareLife, there are a lot of people who are hurting from this pandemic. There were people who lost jobs who couldn’t donate like they normally could.”

Operating concurrently with the parish drive is a corporate campaign with a goal to raise at least $1 million.

The first of three ShareLife Sunday collections throughout the archdiocese’s 225 member parishes took place March 27. By April 8, the first in-church weekend netted $2.1 million for the parish campaign, over a million less than the $3.2 million captured a year ago. But Peters is expecting that number to rise as more donations are expected to arrive in the next days and weeks to close the gap.

ShareLife Sunday two and three are scheduled for May 1 and June 5.

While the entire Sunday collection slate wraps up before the year’s halfway point, the 2022 campaign lasts the entire calendar year. Social media platforms, brochures and videos crafted by various ShareLife agencies are some of the tools that will be deployed to keep the campaign front of mind. Peters said 15 ShareLife-assisted non-profits produced digital features that spotlight their mission, clientele and positive community impact.

“It has always helped to show in brochures or other ways the many categories of people that we serve,” said Peters. “We’re always interested in sharing with people how their donation has impacted somebody.”

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, powers ShareLife’s main campaign video with a call to model the benevolence exhibited by the Good Samaritan when he encountered the gravely wounded man on the road.

“The Samaritan comes along. He notices, he reaches out and helps him. He binds his wounds, places him upon his saddle and takes him to a place of refuge. He thinks of all the practical details that this man needs,” the Cardinal says.

“That is what our Lord God expects us to do — to show love in practical ways. With head, heart and hands, reach out with the hands of Christ to the one at the side of the road. And these days, so many people are at the side of the road.”

Families, people with special needs, immigrants and refugees, children and youth, young expectant mothers, international missionaries and seniors are among the “people at the side of the road” that ShareLife and its funded agencies connect with daily.

The archdiocese’s financial arm received an awareness boost heading into Easter courtesy of various Catholic school boards in the archdiocese hosting ShareLife Week from April 4 to 8. During the week, the entire school community is encouraged to learn about the ShareLife mission and how its agencies lend a hand.

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