Diocesan News

This Year’s Tablet’s Catholic School Fundraiser: ‘Bigger, Better Than Ever’

What a difference a year makes! The Tablet’s Catholic School Fundraiser is back and bigger than ever. For the first time, students who sell subscriptions to The Tablet and their schools will receive even bigger rewards. 

For every $25 subscription to The Tablet sold, both the student and their school will receive $10 each. 

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. 

The Diocese of Brooklyn’s Superintendent of Schools Deacon Kevin McCormack is actively involved in the campaign. He has been personally reaching out to principals and administrators to encourage their participation. 

What began three years ago as The Tablet’s “COVID Relief Fundraiser for Catholic Schools” is back this year for all participating schools and their students 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 McCormack, 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.” 

With two successful Tablet fundraiser wins behind him, Chris Scharbach, principal of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy, said that the most important thing principals should realize is that they are all part of the Diocese of Brooklyn and all work together. 

“Our families are probably among the biggest supporters of The Tablet. These parents have chosen Catholic education and have chosen to sacrifice so much so their children can attend Catholic schools. Some work two or three jobs so they can afford it, so those families are certainly going to want to read Catholic journalism,” Scharbach explained. 

“So, I think when families realize that we do have a unique weekly newspaper that’s been around for over 100 years, since 1908, they will have the opportunity to support that paper,” Scharbach said. 

“Many places in our country don’t have a unique diocesean newspaper where families can read about our schools, our parishes, and our CYO programs,” Scharbach added, insisting that the importance of having an unbiased, non-sensationalist paper like The Tablet cannot be overstated. 

Vito Formica, executive director of news content and development for DeSales Media, the ministry that produces the Tablet, 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. 

“We could not have been happier with how previous fundraisers turned out,” he added. “We know that students across the diocese can do even better this year in helping to support not only their schools but Catholic journalism as well.” 

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. 

Readers can sign up online using a credit card and enter the student’s name for credit. If they wish, they can also pay by check using a printed form provided by the student. 

“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-seller 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. 

Two $3,000 grand prizes will go to schools grouped in large and small categories – based on enrollment. Additionally, every school that participates in the program will earn $10 for each subscription sold by their students. 

A sense of tradition 

Msgr. David Cassato, vicar for Catholic schools, 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 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,” he said. 

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,” he added. “ 

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. 

“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. 

Msgr. Cassato is also encouraging schools and students to push themselves to surpass last year’s numbers. “This year’s campaign will be bigger and better than ever,” he said.