Catholic capital drive beats goal, raises $142M

Posted at 7:01 AM, Dec 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-26 07:01:44-05

In January, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati kicked off its first capital campaign in 60 years.

Dubbed One Faith, One Hope, One Love, its goal was to raise $130 million to support social services, Catholic education, local parishes, recruitment of priests and care for retired priests. As of Dec. 19, the campaign had raised $142 million in pledges, or 109 percent of the minimum goal.

Where the money will go

(Provided by Archdiocese of Cincinnati)

“We’re very encouraged,” said campaign spokesman Paul Clark. “This campaign is about building the church and our archdiocese for generations to come.”

VIDEO: The archdiocese explains its capital campaign.

Here are a few significant numbers related to the campaign.


The number of pledges through Dec. 19, which makes the average pledge $4,927. There are 480,000 Catholics in the archdiocese, which covers 19 counties in western and Southwest Ohio. That equates to a participation rate of 17 percent.


The number of students in the archdiocese, which has the nation’s sixth-largest Catholic school system. Fifty percent of the campaign funds — $71 million if all pledges are fulfilled — is slated for the schools.

As previously reported, $50 million will be used to create the archdiocese’s first centralized tuition fund, which will provide tuition help for needy students. The rest of the money for the schools will pay for professional training for teachers and administrators; for an in-depth look at religious education programs in parishes; and for programs intended to foster quality in schools, such as marketing and outreach to Latinos.


The number of parishes in the archdiocese. Twenty percent of the campaign’s funds are earmarked for local parishes to spend as they see fit. Some plan to use the money for mundane but important projects such as putting a new roof on their church building, Clark said.


The number of active deacons serving in the archdiocese. Like priests, deacons are trained at the Athenaeum of Oho in Mount Washington. Twelve percent of the campaign funds are slated for fostering religious service by providing tuition assistance for seminarians, permanent deacons and lay pastoral ministers; increasing the Athenaeum’s endowment for faculty and staff positions; and upgrading the facility to accommodate growth in the number of priest candidates.

As previously reported, there are more priest candidates studying at the Athenaeum this academic year than in the past 33 years.


The number of priests receiving benefits from the archdiocese retirement fund. That number is projected to grow to 140 in five years; by 2023 there could be more retired than active priests in the archdiocese, Clark said. Ten percent of campaign funds will support retired priests.

The typical priest with 40 years of service receives a pension of about $35,000 annually, Clark said, and the archdiocese also pays the priest’s Medicare supplement insurance.

It’s a generous benefit, he said, but the archdiocese makes no apologies for that. “These are men who have worked long hours and given their lives to the church,” he said.


The number of people served annually by Catholic Charities Southwest Ohio in Cincinnati and Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley in Dayton. Eight percent of the campaign, more than $11 million, is earmarked for these organizations, with $900,000 of it to recruit and train 25,000 volunteers to do everything from staffing food pantries to working as translators for Spanish speakers.

$9 million

Approximate cost of running the campaign. About half of the cost was for personnel, Clark said, with most of that paying for the training of 2,000 volunteers who solicited their fellow parishioners for donations.


Percentage of its campaign goal that St. Matthias the Apostle parish in Forest Park had achieved as of Dec. 7, the most recent date for which per-parish figures were available. That’s the highest percentage of any parish. St. Matthias’ goal was $215,000, and it has already collected $363,090 in pledges.

The parish with the highest goal was Good Shepherd in Montgomery, with a goal of $2.88 million. As of Dec. 7, only $371,000, or 13 percent of its goal, had been pledged. Good Shepherd was one of the last parishes in the archdiocese to start collecting pledges for the campaign, Clark said.

The goals were set proportionally to the weekly offerings from each parish, he said, so that parishes with higher weekly collections had higher goals.


The last year the archdiocese conducted a capital campaign of this magnitude. It raised about $8 million for such brick-and-mortar projects as the construction of new high schools, including Archbishop Moeller High School, Clark said. In 2015 dollars, that equates to $71 million.

$263 million

The total assets the archdiocese had at the end of June 2014, the most recent year for which audited information was available. That included $217 million in investments, $130 million of which is invested in a pooled investment trust fund with parishes and other institutions in the archdiocese. Most of the trust’s money (78 percent) is invested in corporate bonds.

At the end of June 2014, the archdiocese also had $165 million in liabilities and $82.8 million in unrestricted assets. The archdiocese finished the year with an increase of nearly $14 million in net assets, but then it transferred $14 million to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Priest Retirement Corp., an independent nonprofit that supports retired priests.