FAQ

  1. What makes Catholic Extension unique?
  2. How does Catholic Extension fit into the larger Catholic Church?
  3. How is Catholic Extension different from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) “Home Missions?”
  4. What is a mission diocese and how many are there?
  5. How do you determine which dioceses are mission dioceses?
  6. How does Catholic Extension decide what programs to support?
  7. How many grants does Catholic Extension make each year?
  8. What parts of the country receive the most grants?
  9. Can you fund all the grant requests Catholic Extension receives?
  10. How do you ensure that funding is used appropriately?
  11. How much money do you raise each year?
  12. How many donors give to Catholic Extension? Where do they live?
  13. Can I give directly to a mission diocese?
  14. Can I designate my gift to a specific program or diocese that Catholic Extension supports?
  15. What is your administrative cost or “cost to raise a dollar?”
  16. Do you take up collections?
  17. Does Catholic Extension provide disaster relief?
  18. Does Catholic Extension offer volunteer service opportunities?
  19. Do you accept donated items to distribute to the mission dioceses?

  1. Q: What makes Catholic Extension unique?

    A: Catholic Extension was founded more than 100 years ago to support and strengthen poor mission dioceses in the U.S. and its territories. It continues this goal today by raising funds to invest in people, ministries and infrastructure and empower others to contribute to the growth and vibrancy of the Catholic Church.

    Unlike Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, it does not provide direct services to address poverty or offer emergency assistance. It also differs from Glenmary Home Missioners and Maryknoll, which are communities of priests and brothers who serve as missionaries and provide broad-based ministries in the U.S. and abroad.

    Instead, our goal is to enable others to help themselves and their communities by providing the critical funding for them to celebrate and practice their faith.

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  2. Q: How does Catholic Extension fit into the larger Catholic Church?

    A: Catholic Extension is a 501(c) (3) organization and is recognized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The Archbishop of Chicago serves as Chancellor of the Board of Governors, although Catholic Extension is not part of the Archdiocese.

    We are one of many charities, such as Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, that exist to support the Catholic Church, and our mission is focused on strengthening the Catholic Church in the U.S.

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  3. Q: How is Catholic Extension different from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) “Home Missions?”

    A: The USCCB Home Missions include many of the same mission dioceses that Catholic Extension supports. However, they are funded through an annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal; Catholic Extension is funded entirely by private donations.

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  4. Q: What is a mission diocese and how many are there?

    A: A mission diocese can sustain itself only with outside support. Some are impoverished. Some are geographically isolated. Some have large populations but few Catholics. Of the country’s 196 dioceses, 91, or 46 percent, qualify as mission dioceses. These dioceses represent 71 percent of the country’s landmass in 33 states.

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  5. Q: How do you determine which dioceses are mission dioceses?

    A: On an annual basis, Catholic Extension reviews updated financial information from current mission dioceses to maintain their “mission” status. Every three years, we also survey the mission dioceses to review both financial and non-financial information. To evaluate their standing, we consider their current assets in relation to their pastoral needs and geographic coverage. Additionally, we use a formula that indicates a lack of critical resources, including areas such as financial means, infrastructure, learning and training institutions, professional opportunities, and philanthropic opportunities.

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  6. Q: How does Catholic Extension decide what programs to support?

    A: Catholic Extension’s Board of Governors sets our funding priorities, and bishops from the mission dioceses submit annual grant requests to obtain support for these designated areas. Some of these priorities include:

    • Educating leaders
    • Building churches
    • Sustaining basic operations
    • Engaging young Catholics
    • Strengthening capacity
    • Supporting social outreach services

    Additionally, Catholic Extension grants support 13 partnerships and strategic initiatives with leading Catholic universities and organizations to address nationwide challenges facing the church, especially in the mission dioceses. Some of these programs include the Lay Leaders Education Initiative, National Hispanic Lay Leadership Initiative and Catholic School Initiative.

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  7. Q: How many grants does Catholic Extension make each year?

    A: We make more than 1,000 grants every year, totaling more than $20 million. In 2011, we were able to grant $21.9 million, which was the largest amount ever given in any year.

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  8. Q: What parts of the country receive the most grants?

    A: In 2011, the regions of the country that received Catholic Extension grants, in order of priority, were the West, Midwest/Plains, Southeast, Southwest and U.S. territories.

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  9. Q: Can you fund all the grant requests Catholic Extension receives?

    A: Catholic Extension receives more grant requests from the mission dioceses than it can fulfill. For instance, in 2011 we received $27.75 million in grant requests and only could fund $21.9 million.

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  10. Q: How do you ensure that funding is used appropriately?

    A: Catholic Extension has an annual reporting and evaluation process that mission dioceses must complete before they receive a new grant. Additionally, we stay in touch with our grantees to demonstrate to our donors how their support makes a difference.

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  11. Q: How much money do you raise each year?

    A: In 2011, total fundraising revenue was $23.0 million. We distributed $21.9 million in grants to the mission dioceses – the largest amount ever given in any year of our history.

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  12. Q: How many donors give to Catholic Extension? Where do they live?

    A: In 2011, 13,550 donors gave to Catholic Extension. Our donors come from all over the country; the top five areas of support include California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas.

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  13. Q: Can I give directly to a mission diocese?

    A: Mission dioceses receive funding from several sources, including individuals, but Catholic Extension directs funds to diocesan offices, special diocesan ministries and parishes in the mission dioceses. It works closely with these dioceses to identify needs and find resources to meet these needs, as well as include them in national partnerships and initiatives.

    These needs and partnerships are what we ask our donors to support. We also partner with the mission dioceses to oversee funded programs, ensure resources are used as intended and keep our donors informed about the impact of their support.

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  14. Q: Can I designate my gift to a specific program or diocese that Catholic Extension supports?

    A: Yes, when you make a gift to Catholic Extension you can designate it to a specific mission diocese, a ministry or parish within a mission diocese, or a partnership or strategic initiative. Common funding areas that Catholic Extension supports include building churches, seminarian education, salary subsidies, and youth ministry, such as religious education and campus ministries programs.

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  15. Q: What is your administrative cost or “cost to raise a dollar?”

    A: At Catholic Extension, we calculate our costs to raise a dollar by dividing fundraising expenses by total fundraising revenue. Our funding expenses include all operating costs associated with our fundraising efforts. Fundraising revenue includes all charitable contributions received from donors who are either living or deceased. In 2012, fundraising administrative costs as a percent of revenue was 14 percent. In other words, it cost Catholic Extension 14 cents to raise every dollar.

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  16. Q: Do you take up collections?

    A: Catholic Extension does not take up parish collections. It is funded exclusively by private donors through annual and major gifts, foundation grants, charitable gift annuities, planned gifts, and sales from the Catholic Extension Calendar Program.

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  17. Q: Does Catholic Extension provide disaster relief?

    A: Catholic Extension provides support For mission dioceses in three primary areas—people, infrastructure and ministries. It does not provide support for disaster relief on an ongoing basis.

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  18. Q: Does Catholic Extension offer volunteer service opportunities?

    A: Catholic Extension does not currently coordinate volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Catholic Volunteer Network at www.catholicvolunteernetwork.org or 800.543.5046.

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  19. Q: Do you accept donated items to distribute to the mission dioceses?

    A: Catholic Extension does not have the resources or space to collect and distribute donations, such as Bibles or other goods. If you are interested in donating liturgical items, please contact T.H. Stemper, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at www.stemper.org or 800.686.3610.

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Your gift to Catholic Extension is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Catholic Extension is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.