Bishop’s Annual Appeal pushing to reach goal by end of year

The Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries, which helps fund many of the Diocese of Nashville’s efforts to serve Catholics and the broader community, has flown under the radar for much of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But diocesan officials hope to make a push through the end of the year to reach this year’s goal of raising $3 million.

“It hasn’t gone as we planned,” said Ashley Linville, director of development for the diocese. “We hoped to wrap it up sooner rather than later.

“But if you compare it to last year, it’s not that much different than where we were,” Linville said.

Currently, the Bishop’s Annual Appeal has raised $1.9 million in donations and pledges, which is 63 percent of the $3 million goal.

“A lot of generous people have responded,” Linville said. “Between this point last year and the end of the year we had a lot of people who were extremely generous, and we’re prayerful they will continue to be generous again this year because we have a lot of ground to make up.”

Many donors to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal prefer to make their gift at the end of the year for tax purposes, Linville said. This year, as part of the CARES Act, “there are some big tax benefits for those who make larger gifts,” he noted.

“If anyone has questions about that, I would be happy to talk with them,” Linville said.

The Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries helps fund a wide swath of ministries, including educating seminarians and deacon candidates, the Office of Faith Formation, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and the Office of Family Life and Marriage, among others.

The Appeal also provides funding for Catholic Charities of Tennessee and its efforts to serve the vulnerable and needy in the community, which has been particularly important during 2020 with first the tornadoes that hit Middle Tennessee in March and then the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The need is still great because of what we’ve been through in 2020,” Linville said.

Despite the economic uncertainty, the diocese is hoping to build on the success of the previous two years of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, which set records for money raised. In 2018, the diocese surpassed its goal of $2.5 million by raising $2.6 million. Last year, the diocese raised just above its goal of $2.7 million.

“We’re asking people to give what they can,” Linville said. “We realize there are some who are unable to give right now. We just ask for those who are able to give that they continue so we can support those in need.”

The Appeal also has a goal of just under 7,900 donors. “Even if you can make a small gift, every gift is appreciated, and every gift makes a difference for our ministries,” Linville said.

The diocese will be accepting gifts to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries through the end of 2020, and people have several options for giving.

Donors can make a gift online at dioceseofnashville.com/appeal. They can also make a gift by texting the word “bishop” to 31996. “That will give them a link, and when they click on that link it takes them right to the giving page,” Linville explained.

Gifts can take several forms, including a pledge, a one-time gift, or a monthly gift. If people give online, they can set up an automatic recurring gift, he said.

Gifts can be pledges, cash or through a credit card. Donors can also mail a check, payable to Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries, to the Office of Stewardship and Development, 2800 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN, 37214.

For more information about the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries, contact Linville at Ashley.linville@dioceseofnashville.com or 615-645-9768, or Anna Beth Godfrey, assistant director of development, at Annabeth.godfrey@dioceseofnashville.com or 615-645-9769.