Phila. Archdiocese Seeks Funds To Fortify Its Schools
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has launched an ambitious campaign to raise $100 million over the next few years, with a major portion of the money earmarked for its school system.
"The campaign is designed primarily to fortify our parish elementary schools, our archdiocesan high schools, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and an increasing number of struggling parishes," said Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua on April 16, in announcing plans for "Catholic Life 2000," as the effort is called.
A reported one-third of the 302 parishes in the archdiocese operated at a loss last year.
The archbishop added that 31 financially troubled parishes will immediately receive special assistance through the campaign.
The campaign will set aside $20 million for an endowment fund for the future financial needs of indigent parishes, Archbishop Bevilacqua said.
The bulk of the money raised is intended to go to aid the school system, which has an enrollment of approximately 125,000, second only to Chicago among Catholic archdioceses.
Officials said approximately 40 percent of the funds generated by the campaign will go to parishes for their education programs. It will be up to each parish to determine how much of the money will be spent on schools and how much on other education programs.
One-half of the targeted dollar amount to be raised by each parish will remain in the parish, the archbishop said.
Another 30 percent of the funds raised will go to an endowment fund to benefit the diocese's 25 highel10lschools, officials said.
The remaining 10 percent of funds will go to aid the seminary, to create a new Archdiocesan Spirituality Center for youth, and to renovate the archdiocese's archival center.
The archdiocese hopes to raise the $100 million in two phases, with approximately $20 million to be raised in major gifts over the next year, and $80 million to be raised in smaller contributions from parishioners over the next three to five years.
Archdiocesan officials said there are no current plans to close large numbers of parishes or schools, as some other archdioceses have done in recent years.