Catholic Schools kicks off ‘Securing Our Future’ campaign

Published 6:54 am Thursday, May 20, 2010

Father Joe Fogal had two simple words for the crowd gathered at St. Edward Catholic Church Wednesday evening — sacrifice and pride.

Those words were the backbone of Fogal’s prayer to kick off the “Securing Our Future” campaign, an initiative aimed at generating $3.5 million for Austin Catholic Schools over the next three years, the first such campaign in a quarter century.

Fogal was among a handful of speakers, students, singers and parishioners — including Bishop John M. Quinn of The Diocese of Winona, the campaign’s honorary chairperson — who attended Wednesday’s ceremonial event.

The funds are being sought to provide scholarships, improve teacher compensation, upgrade technology and technical support, modernize and upgrade the science labs, library and media center, address facility upgrades including heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems and benefit the schools’ endowment — essentially a full makeover for Austin Catholic Elementary and the Pacelli Middle and High schools, the two units that make up ACS.

The schools serve 346 students.

To date, ACS has received nearly $1.5 million from more than 30 pledges and donations, including $750,000 from the Hormel Foundation and another $100,000 from Hormel Foods.

Father Fogal harked back to his key words when he described why people have been — and should be — motivated to donate.

“There is a sacrifice in things we really love and desire,” he said. “(And) there is a pride we bring (at Austin Catholic Schools), a legacy, a heritage.”

St. Edward member and campaign organizer Randy Kramer said securing the remaining $2 million in the next three years may seem daunting, but he said it is a reachable goal.

“When we organize our efforts, maybe it doesn’t seem so insurmountable,” he told the crowd. “The cumulative effort of everyone in this room is huge.”

A recently completed feasibility study may add some weight to Kramer’s words. In the study, completed this past winter, 115 people were interviewed about whether they would commit financially to the future of the two Catholic schools. Eighty-two percent said they would.

And on Wednesday, those involved with ACS looked to start drumming up support even more.

“If there was ever a time to dig a little deeper for a good cause, I think this would qualify,” Kramer said. “We’re off to a good start, but there is still a lot to do.”