Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Campaign Exceeds Goal By More Than $11 Million

Leadership of the Stewards of God's Grace Campaign gather for Mass on June 5 in the Sarto Retreat Center Chapel in Evansville. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Catholics across the Diocese of Evansville have pledged almost $33.5 million to the Stewards of God’s Grace combined campaign through May 31, exceeding the two-year campaign’s overall goal by more than 50 percent, which translates to more than $11 million.


“I do believe the providence of God brought this opportunity to our diocese,” said Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, in a letter of thanks to the faithful across our 12 counties. That letter appears in its entirety elsewhere on this page, in English and Spanish.


The campaign began under former Bishop Charles C. Thompson, now Archbishop of Indianapolis. It is the first-ever diocesan-wide fundraising campaign; its design enabled parishes and the diocese to use a revenue-sharing model throughout the campaign.


Money retained by parishes is funding major projects each parish identified. Money retained by the diocese will used to establish new endowments through the Catholic Foundation of Southwestern Indiana, and to support a variety of diocesan programs, as outlined below.


“I am so grateful to (now) Archbishop Thompson for having the foresight, wisdom and courage to take on this challenge for the good of our diocese,” Bishop Siegel said.  “Its overwhelming success will be part of his rich legacy as the fifth Bishop of this local Church.”


How we got here

In 2015, the diocese hired the Steier Group of Omaha, Neb., a development firm that assists with diocesan and parish fundraising efforts across the nation, to research the feasibility of a comprehensive capital campaign to address the most pressing needs of parishes and the diocese. From September 2015 to January 2016, the Steier Group executed a campaign-planning study to gauge support for a parish-diocesan shared campaign; identify potential leaders and donors; help diocesan leadership prioritize the goals of the campaign; and project the amount of funds that may be raised using the firm’s model of fundraising.


Based on the results of the planning study, then-Bishop Thompson decided to move forward with a combined parish-diocesan capital campaign in line with the Steier Group’s recommendations. Stewards of God’s Grace began in March 2016 and will wrap up by the end of June.


After a detailed financial analysis, diocesan leaders set an overall goal of $22 million for the combined effort. The diocese, in its almost 75-year history, had never conducted a fundraising effort – let alone one of this magnitude.


The primary purposes of the campaign included raising funds for:

  • Each parish to address needs that existed outside of annual operation budgets.
  • The diocese to establish new endowments with the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Indiana, using approximately 60 percent of the diocesan portion, while actively funding:
    • Seminarians and priests.
    • Catholic education and faith formation for youth, young adults and not so young.
    • Catholic Charities programing and social enterprise program.
    • Energy efficient windows for chancery offices and a portion of funds for Cathedral renovation.


To date, 31 of the diocese’s 45 parishes have exceeded their initial fundraising goals. Nine of those parishes have raised more than 150 percent of their original goals. Campaign results through May 31 appear in the chart accompanying this report.