Students from St. Augustine School in Winnebago hold a sign that says thank you in the Ho-Chunk language. The students are, from left: Prince Payer, Osi Earth and Raiden DeCora, all fifth-graders. St. Augustine Indian Mission, which includes the school, will be one of the beneficiaries of Joy of Giving on May 19. ST. AUGUSTINE INDIAN MISSION


Joy of Giving Day to raise money and awareness for Catholic causes

Mark your calendars for May 19.

That’s when you can help your favorite Catholic schools, parishes and charitable organizations through an archdiocese-sponsored Joy of Giving Day.

More than 50 Catholic nonprofits in the archdiocese have signed on for the event so far, many before registration officially opened April 7.

Joy of Giving unites Catholic entities and helps raise money and awareness for an array of ministries, said Shannan Brommer, director of Stewardship and Development for the archdiocese.

“Joy of Giving speaks directly to the archdiocese’s vision of ‘One Church’ by providing a new opportunity to unify and amplify the voice of our Catholic community and its impact across 23 counties of northeast Nebraska,” Brommer said.

Joy of Giving was created after the Omaha Gives! fundraiser transitioned to SHARE Omaha in 2021, and organizers decided to narrow the day’s focus to nonprofits that rely on community-wide support. That decision excluded organizations that rely on institutional giving, such as churches, schools and membership-driven groups.

Variaan Vink, a third-grader at St. Augustine School in Winnebago, is hard at work on a recent school day. St. Augustine Indian Mission was founded in 1909 by St. Katharine Drexel and continues its Catholic legacy. ST. AUGUSTINE INDIAN MISSION

Joy of Giving aims to help make up for that lost revenue for organizations in the Omaha metro area, and it will help those in smaller communities that weren’t able to participate in giving day events before, Brommer said.

St. Augustine Indian Mission is among the Joy of Giving participants.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for us,” said Rebecca Meyer, director of development for the mission. “I’m glad the archdiocese took this project on.”

The money raised during Joy of Giving will be distributed directly to participating parishes, schools and ministries. Each will have a page on the fundraiser’s site:

Participating organizations can direct potential donors to the site through social media, emails and mailings.

A crew from across the archdiocese has helped bring about Joy of Giving and is offering support, guidance and resources to participating nonprofits, especially those with small staffs and those that rely heavily on volunteers.

The registration for organizations to join in remains open until May 12.

Joy of Giving is “a way to bring people together,” Meyer said, and an opportunity to highlight the work being done at the mission, which includes St. Augustine Parish and School in Winnebago, St. Joseph Parish in Walthill, St. Cornelius Parish in Homer and Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Macy.

The fundraiser will help pay for things like clergy vestments, altar linens and classroom technology, she said.

The “Catholic-centric,” collaborative approach of Joy of Giving is more than just another way to raise money, said T.J. Ernst, who works in development at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha and has helped organize Joy of Giving.

The joint effort gets more people involved in the mission of the Church, he said.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish hasn’t decided how it will use the money it raises, Ernst said, but it could help support a parish food pantry that feeds hundreds of people each month.

Joy of Giving has provided an opportunity for an “amazing collaboration” among Catholic organizations in the archdiocese, said Katie Risch Bakhit, vice president of advancement at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha.

Participating parishes, schools and charitable groups are sharing resources, a common faith and even some laughs, she said.

Duchesne has made other giving days opportunities for service for its students as they volunteer in the community. Joy of Giving organizers said they hope to make the giving day an annual effort and make service a bigger component, especially after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

For donors, Joy of Giving is an opportunity to give thanks to their favorite Catholic organizations and help support their work, Brommer said.

“I think it’s going to be a great day,” Meyer said. “We’ve got to get out and spread some joy.”

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