Diocesan News

Waiting for the Winners: Results of The Tablet’s COVID Relief Fundraiser Soon Announced

MASPETH — Anticipation is building as DeSales Media Group, the parent company of The Tablet, tallies up all of the subscriptions sold for the newspaper’s COVID Relief Fundraiser, which will soon put cash in the pockets of the students who sold them and their school.

The fundraiser and contest that ended on April 15, challenged students of the Diocese of Brooklyn schools and academies to sell $20 subscriptions to The Tablet. The student receives $10 for each subscription sold (three orders are required to qualify), and their school receives $5. Seventy-five percent of the money raised will go directly to the students and schools.

The totals are adding up quickly and come at a critical time. The funds are needed to help cover the costs of tuition and for the hardships schools are experiencing due to the unexpected expenses associated with COVID guidelines.

As the fundraising race came down to the wire, St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy of Queens (SSKCAQ), Maspeth, emerged as a contender among the 52 participating diocesan schools.

In addition to the money raised for each subscription sold, there are grand prizes. The student who sells the most subscriptions will take home the $3,000 grand prize. Second place wins $2,000, and the third-place student will walk away with $1,000.

From left, St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy, Maspeth, students Gabriella DiGiovanna, Daniel Ryan, and Julia Wiszowaty made sure they put the “fun” in fundraiser by getting creative with ways to ask family, friends, and neighbors to subscribe to The Tablet newspaper. (Photo: Erin DeGregorio)

Schools will earn $5 for each subscription sold, plus two schools (based on enrollment numbers) that rack up the most orders will win an additional $3,000 grand prize.

The winners will be announced in the May 29 edition of The Tablet. Also, all of the grand prize recipients will be profiled in the paper.

While subscriptions could be sold online to help with social-distancing guidelines, many students, like those at SSKCAQ preferred the old-fashioned method of fundraising — collecting checks. They submitted more than 150.

Fourth-grader Julia Wiszowaty walked up and down her block with her mother, asking neighbors if they were interested in subscribing to the newspaper. She sold four subscriptions.

“It was fun to help support the school and spread the word of the Catholic paper,” Wiszowaty said.

Eighth-grader Daniel Ryan and his brother, sixth-grader Luke, sold at least 10 subscriptions and renewals to local parishioners after a Mass.

“It’s so great to know that the hard work paid off,” Ryan said, “and it was really enjoyable knowing that we could help raise funds for the school and for COVID-19 relief.”

Sixth-grader Gabriella DiGiovanna — who had never read the newspaper before the fundraiser and sold 10 subscriptions — said she enjoyed flipping through the pages for the first time last month.

“I especially liked the part where the kids write things,” DiGiovanna said in reference to Tablet Jr., the monthly four-page pullout produced for and by students of the diocese. “That’s a really cool part.”

Principal Catherine Mangone remarked on how the fundraiser held a deeper meaning besides offering monetary incentives.

“I know that when I read The Tablet, it’s to find out a Catholic’s perspective on what’s happening in the news,” she explained.

Mangone also noted how The Tablet’s coverage explores every crevice of local content, from Catholic youth organization sports to diocesan parish events to Catholic academy activities.

“We want to bring more people to church and to the Catholic academies,” Mangone said. “This is a way to do it — by letting everybody read and see what’s going on.”

Vito Formica, executive director of news content and development at DeSales Media Group, the non-profit that created and ran the fundraiser, said he was pleased with the outcome.

“This project has been fun and inspiring. We’re very happy with the response and feedback that we have received from participating schools,” Formica said. “And we’re looking forward to tallying up the orders and awarding the cash and grand prizes.”

Though the fundraiser is officially closed, one thing is certain — every dollar raised in the end is a victory. Mangone said the students’ hard work exceeded her school-wide goal of 150 subscriptions.

“We have increased enrollment quite a bit and may need to purchase some extra classroom materials,” Mangone said, noting how 310 nursery school through eighth-grade students are currently learning in person. “Once we get our total dollar amount, we’ll see how those funds can best be used to benefit the school.”

Fourth-grade teacher Maria Marrocco — who is also a technology coach for Catholic Telemedia Network (CTN), an instructional media resource for diocese schools — expressed her gratitude for this opportunity. As part of the fundraiser, schools were able to apply all subscriptions sold to their DeSales technology grant quota, which provides schools with iPads and Chromebooks. Because of the fundraiser, Morocco said SSKCAQ raised enough money and qualified for a grant to update all of its devices.

“It was a godsend, last year, that all our kids were able to go home with devices,” Marrocco said. “It was a wonderful partnership with The Tablet and DeSales Media, to be able to provide that while spreading the Good Word.”