Catholic Charities announces $400,000 challenge gift for capital campaign

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Dianne Towalski
The Visitor

Nine donors are challenging Central Minnesotans to make an impact on the community for generations to come by matching their $400,000 contribution to Catholic Charities’ “Saving Children, Saving Families” capital campaign.

The campaign, which has already raised more than $3 million, first helped to finance the new Intensive Treatment Cottage at Catholic Charities’ St. Cloud Children’s Home, said Steve Bresnahan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud.

logoThe ultimate goal for the campaign is to raise $8 million, half to pay for the project at the Children’s Home and half to create an endowment for a pool of funds that can be used to support any of Catholic Charities’ programs in times of increased need, Bresnahan said.

“We believe that people should have food to eat, people should have a safe place to live, and people should have someone to listen to them and help them in their time of need,” he said. “Things come up where we have to scramble to find funding. Having this pool of funds would allow us to [help in those situations].”

Catholic Charities provides more than 40 services to meet the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of people in the 16 counties that make up the diocese.

It also has stepped in to help during emergencies, like the tornado that touched down in Wadena in 2010 and when lightning struck Roosevelt Early Childhood Center in St. Cloud last summer. The organization also helps to provide programming to schools when there’s been a tragedy, and it makes grief counselors available to schools dealing with the death of a student.

“These are the kinds of things you have to plan for ahead of time. When it happens, it’s too late to plan for it,” Bresnahan said.

“When the recent recession hit, community members really stepped up to help those who were suddenly in need in our community,” he said. “We hope that will always be the case, but when a town is wiped out by a flood or tornado … funds are needed immediately. We can’t wait to ask and gather, we have to spring into action and help.”

By planning now, Bresnahan said, Catholic Charities is preparing for future disasters, crises and potential budget shortfalls.
“It’s critical because we’re dealing with such basic needs with people,” he said.

The campaign also will be a source of funds for research and development of new programs and services that may be needed in the future, allowing Catholic Charities to implement new programs more quickly, Bresnahan said.

Donations to meet the $400,000 challenge can be made in person at 911 18th St. N., in St. Cloud, online at or via phone at 320-650-1646.