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Spotlight Report

Archdiocese says drive raised $200m

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 5/17/2003

The Archdiocese of Boston yesterday announced that it has raised $200 million through its capital campaign, a total the church called a remarkable accomplishment given the weak national economy and the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

With six weeks to go in its extended campaign, the archdiocese said it is unlikely to raise significantly more money at this point and acknowledged that it will fall short of its $300 million goal. But the church said it is delighted, given the obstacles, to have raised $200 million, which is the second-largest amount ever raised by a diocesan capital campaign.

''It's a huge success,'' said Elizabeth Jennings-White, development communications director for the archdiocese. Jennings-White said more than 26,000 people gave to the campaign.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law launched the campaign in June 2001 in an effort to help fund church education, social services, and health care. At the time, he said he had already raised 45 percent of the $300 million through pledges and was confident that he could raise the rest by December 2002.

But the economy was souring even as the church was launching its campaign, forcing some contributors to rethink their philanthropic commitments. And the sex abuse crisis exploded in January 2002, prompting many Catholics to decide not to give to the archdiocese.

In March 2002, the archdiocese decided to extend the campaign by six months in an effort to reach its goal; in December, after Law resigned, the church tried to reach out again to donors alienated by the cardinal.

''Even though the original goal was $300 million, the fact that over $200 million was raised in pledges and gifts during these past two years is extraordinary,'' said Kenneth J. Hokenson, chief development officer for the archdiocese.

The capital campaign is used to finance the church's long-term needs. The church's annual operating expenses are funded largely through another campaign, now called the Annual Catholic Appeal, which is now underway in an effort to raise $9 million.

Michael Paulson can be reached at

This story ran on page B8 of the Boston Globe on 5/17/2003.
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