WINDSOR TERRACE — What began three years ago as The Tablet’s “COVID Relief Fundraiser for Catholic Schools” will be back in September, allowing all participating schools and their students in the Diocese of Brooklyn to directly benefit from the campaign by earning cash.
Students will be challenged to sell or renew subscriptions to The Tablet newspaper, and more than 80% of funds raised will be distributed to the students and their schools.
According to Deacon Kevin McCormack, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn, the fundraiser is a win-win for all the participating schools and students. Deacon McCormack has committed to directly working with the principals and a chosen facilitator from each school who will act as a point of contact for the fundraiser. “We are certainly not taking this opportunity lightly,” said Deacon McCormack. “I think that the dates selected for the fundraiser, September through October, is the perfect time to engage the schools in this campaign.”
The preparations for the fundraiser will begin this month and the students will start selling subscriptions to The Tablet on Sept. 25, before the fundraiser concludes on Oct. 6. For every one-year $25 subscription sold, a student will receive $10 and their school will receive an additional $10.
Vito Formica, executive director of news content & development for DeSales Media, called the fundraiser an exceptional way for students and schools to receive extra help.
“Operating a school can be extremely expensive, and this campaign helps raise some major funds while at the same time helping students earn money for scholarships and for their families,” said Formica.
How it works
Prior to the start of the fundraiser, each participating student will receive packets that contain sales materials they can use to sell subscriptions to friends, family, and neighbors.
According to Len Camporeale, director of marketing and digital at DeSales Media, his team will create custom websites for each school so their students can share a link with prospective customers. They can sign up directly online by using a credit card. Customers who wish to pay by check will still be able to do so by using special forms provided to the students.
“The Tablet has been a longtime supporter of Catholic education in many ways, and this is just one more way we’re looking to partner with the schools and help them,” said Camporeale.
Big cash prizes
At the end of the fundraiser, top-selling students will win big prizes — first place is $3,000, second place is $2,000, and third place is $1,000. All other students who sell three or more subscriptions earn $10 for each subscription sold. These funds can be used to offset tuition costs for the following school year.
A $3,000 grand prize will also go to the school whose students sell the most subscriptions. Additionally, every school that participates in the program will earn $10 for each subscription sold by their students.
A sense of tradition
Vicar for Catholic Schools Msgr. David Cassato said the campaign reminded him of when he and his classmates would participate in his school’s annual Christmas card drive growing up.
“If you sold ‘x’ amount of boxes of Christmas cards, you got this prize and ‘x’ amount for that,” he explained. “This brought back that whole sense of tradition in trying to get kids involved and excited for prizes.”
While in past years certain schools rose to the challenge and sold a substantial number of subscriptions, including St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy and St. Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Academy in Queens and St. Athanasius Catholic Academy and Good Shepherd Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, Deacon McCormack wants all the schools in the diocese to participate in this year’s campaign. “We want to do better this year and encourage all the schools to sell subscriptions. And those schools that did come through in the past can help us promote the campaign by their example,” said McCormack.
Spreading the message of Catholic journalism is central to The Tablet’s mission. In fact, this year The Tablet took first place for a weekly newspaper at the Catholic Media Association awards ceremony in Baltimore. “We were really happy to receive that recognition,” explained Formica.
“And one of the things that they were really enamored about at the conference was Tablet, Jr., which is solely written by Catholic school students. A lot of people in the media are trying to reach young readers, and this is one way we have found that works. That’s why this fundraiser is so important in that it not only helps raise funds for the students but helps introduce them to Catholic journalism from a young age.”
Deacon McCormack reiterated his support for the campaign, explaining that he will be involved in every part of the process. “We’ll begin priming the pump in August, and we’ll hit hard in September. It’s never too early to introduce our students to the benefits of Catholic journalism, and this is the perfect way to get them involved. And we are really pushing for all the schools to participate in this year’s campaign,” he added.