By Colleen Rowan
WEST VIRGINIA—One Mission One Day to Make a Difference. That was the challenge given to the diocese’s Catholic school community on May 5. Twenty-four hours to make a one-time gift to support their schools. And respond they did. A total of $229,256 was raised through the generosity of 1,257 donors. Varying amounts were raised for each of the 19 participating diocesan schools.
“I think it says that our communities believe in our Catholic schools and believe in the value of a Catholic education,” said Heidi Sforza, assistant director of Stewardship and Development who headed up the One Mission One Day initiative.
“Giving Days are all about rallying your families, alumni and school supporters to raise funds, inspire participation and build community,” she said on May 6. “We did all of those things yesterday! I was blown away by the success of One Mission One Day! It was better than I ever expected!”
Most of the schools are using the money for tuition assistance, she said, with the exception of a few. Corpus Christi School in Wheeling, which had the largest amount raised ($39,364) is using the money for maintenance and school improvement. St. Vincent de Paul Parish School in Wheeling, which had the fifth largest amount raised ($18,260) is using the money for renovations and classroom upgrades.
The second largest amount raised ($38,914) was for St. Michael Parish School in Wheeling. The third largest amount ($26,530) was raised for St. Joseph Catholic School in Huntington, and the fourth largest amount raised ($22,040) was for Madonna High School in Weirton.
Planning for One Mission One Day began at the diocese’s annual PACE (Parish Administration and Collaborative Education) Conference in October, but the initiative would come to take on a whole new meaning.
“Once the pandemic hit, One Mission One Day suddenly became even more important to our schools because so many of them had to cancel fundraising events they rely on for support,” Sforza said. “Because everything was done online, it was the one thing we never had to talk about canceling or postponing. We had to make some modifications, but we knew it could go on.”
The advancement directors, she said, have been participating in weekly Zoom meetings to keep the project on schedule.
This is the first year the initiative was extended to the rest of the diocese’s Catholic schools. In the past, it was the Catholic schools of the Northern Panhandle that participated in a similar community challenge called the Amazing Raise, which brought in $54,000 last year. This year, Sforza said, the Stewardship and Development Office jumped on board and invited all of the schools to participate.
“This has been so exciting for our school,” said Recheal Fuscardo, principal at St. Joseph the Worker School in Weirton. “This day allowed us to showcase all of the amazing things that take place at St. Joseph the Worker Day School and Grade School.”
Schools that opted not to participate did so for different reasons that included date conflicts, and participation in other fundraising events, among others. The Parkersburg Catholic schools were already participation in a similar community day that they have participated in before, and it fell on the same day as One Mission One Day. St. Francis de Sales Central Catholic School in Morgantown, for years, has been putting on their own giving day, which was held quite recently. School officials felt it was to soon to participate in another.
Amounts raised for the rest of participating schools are as follows: Central Catholic High School, Wheeling, $14,870; St. Joseph the Worker Parish School, Weirton, $13,073; St. Paul School, Weirton, $11,905; Our Lady of Peace School, Wheeling, $10,250; Fairmont Catholic Grade School, $8,075; Charleston Catholic High School, $4,000; Notre Dame High School, Clarksburg, $3,755; Our Lady of Fatima Parish School, Huntington, $3,625; SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Oak Hill, $2,825; St. Joseph Central Catholic High School, Huntington, $2,715: St. Joseph School, Martinsburg, $2,700; St. Francis of Assisi School, St. Albans, $2,475; Sacred Heart Grade School, Charleston, $1,950; and St. Mary’s Grade School, Clarksburg, $1,930.
For updated information, visit onemissiononeday.org (Contributing to this story was Joyce Bibey.)
One Mission One Day Raises More Than $229,000 for Catholic Schools
By Colleen Rowan