Final results are in and it’s official: school communities rocked the recent Giving Day, elevating the Diocese of Charleston to No. 2 in the entire country for funds raised.
The national fundraising campaign provides schools with a 24-hour window — and a proven formula for success — to raise money to help their schools.
Last year, only a handful of schools in the diocese participated but their success was impressive and duly noted. At the time, Peggy Wertz, the now-retired principal of St. Mary Help of Christians School in Aiken, said it was the easiest fundraiser they had ever done.
This year, 24 schools came on board. Most of them followed the detailed protocol developed by the Catholic Schools Development group at the Diocese of Charleston. The end result was $92,625.
Only the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark., raised more with $158,000. Rounding out the top three was the Diocese of Wilmington with $70,000.
In our diocese, a majority of the schools raised over $1,000, with several of them breaking the $5,000 mark.
St. Mary Help of Christians once again combined Giving Day with a student-driven Fun Run that made a whopping $25,677 for their school.
Charleston Catholic, a small school of 187 kids on the Charleston peninsula, raised $10,252. Dozens of other schools were likewise blessed by strong family and community support.
“It was really neat to see some of the names of people giving. Not just current students but families of former students, grandparents even,” McKay said.
Their youth waved handmade posters at parents in the car line as a reminder of Giving Day, but mostly, McKay said, it was a simple but effective campaign of emails, bulletins, newsletters and social media.
The same thing went for Prince of Peace in Taylors with about 150 students. They brought in $7,116 and Marianne Tully, principal, said she was overwhelmed by support from the community.
“It was just wonderful, it was such a great experience. I was just sitting there with tears of joy,” she said.
Rounding out the top four was St. John in North Charleston, which may be the smallest school in the diocese but still earned $7,055 from Giving Day.
Karen Durand, principal, said they simply followed the plan, including testimonial videos, great photos of students, and hourly posts.
For the parents and others who gave, most expressed gratitude to the schools for all they’ve done for the children. One parent noted that at its heart, Giving Day is a cycle of support.
Other participating schools were:
Bishop England High School on Daniel Island
Blessed Sacrament in Charleston
Cardinal Newman in Columbia
Charleston Catholic in Charleston
Christ Our King-Stella Maris in Mount Pleasant
Divine Redeemer in Hanahan
Holy Trinity in North Myrtle Beach
John Paul II in Ridgeland
Nativity on James Island
Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville
Prince of Peace in Taylors
St. Michael in Murrells Inlet
St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach
St. Anne & St. Jude in Sumter
St. Anne in Rock Hill
St. Anthony of Padua in Greenville
St. Elizabeth Anne Seton High School in Myrtle Beach
St. John in North Charleston
St. John Neumann in Columbia
St. Joseph in Anderson
St. Martin de Porres in Columbia
St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken
St. Peter in Columbia
Photo provided: Students at St. Mary Help of Christians School hula hoop at their Day of Giving Fun Run.