To Teach Who Christ Is


Q: What is the meaning behind the theme, “To Teach Who Christ Is”?

ATo Teach Who Christ Is is a capital and endowment campaign that raised more than $400 million in gifts and pledges: $150 million for parish needs determined locally, $150 million for scholarships to Catholic schools through the Catholic Education Scholarship Trust, $30 million for critical facility issues, $10 million for religious education training for catechists, $8 million to enhance the academic excellence of Catholic schools, and $2 million for innovative new religious education programs. 

Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., chose the theme because of its significance to his order, his vision of our archdiocese, and the spirit of the campaign. To Teach Who Christ Is comes from the writings of St. Eugene de Maze nod, founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who sought to teach “who Jesus Christ is.” At St. Eugene’s canonization, Pope John Paul II reflected that he was “a man of Advent, a man of the Coming. He not only looked forward to that Coming, he dedicated his whole life to preparing for it, one of those apostles who prepared the modern age, our age.”

Q: How is the campaign helping parishes?

A: Central to this effort was ensuring that parishes are strong and vibrant communities of faith. Parishes were able to respond to their own issues while joining together as an archdiocese to strengthen the work of the Church in neighborhoods throughout Lake and Cook counties. Parishes will receive more than $150 million for local needs based on pledges to the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign.

Q: What is the Catholic Education Scholarship Trust?

A: The Catholic Education Scholarship Trust is an independent 501(c)(3) trust. The Northern Trust serves as the directed trustee. Funds designated to the trust are reserved exclusively for scholarships for students in Catholic schools. The trust is a permanent endowment and funds are invested to create spendable income and achieve long-term appreciation of capital. To ensure the trust is a long-term source of funding for scholarships, only a portion of its income will be disseminated each year through The Phoenix Scholarships. 

Q: Who is eligible to receive scholarships from funds raised in the campaign?

A: After the Catholic Education Scholarship Trust endowment fund has been invested and income is available, scholarships awards will be made to qualified students in Catholic schools in Cook and Lake counties. These funds will be distributed as Phoenix Scholarships through the Office of Catholic Schools. Parishes and communities with the resources to assist their own families and students are asked to do so to ensure these valuable resources are available to parishes and communities with the greatest need.  

Q. If a parish school eventually closes, and the parish had identified Catholic school scholarships as one of the local needs in its parish case for support, what happens to the parish scholarship program?

A. If the local parish campaign case for support called for Catholic school scholarships and the parish or school closes, funds collected in the campaign shall continue the scholarship program for parish families attending other Catholic schools.

Q: Will campaign gifts pay for the legal settlements for victims of clergy sexual abuse?

A: No, campaign funds will be used only to support ministries, parishes and Catholic schools, as outlined in campaign materials.

Q: How should payments be made to fulfill a pledge?

A: Donors were given the option of fulfilling their pledges with monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments. The Archdiocese of Chicago is processing all gifts, and provided an acknowledgment letter articulating the identified schedule for payment reminders. These payment reminders are being sent directly to donors according to the identified schedule. If you have not received a gift acknowledgement in a timely manner, please contact the campaign office at 312.534.8500. Payments on pledges should not be made to the parish or included in the parish offertory basket. The Archdiocese of Chicago will facilitate this process to ensure parishes are not burdened with the task of auditing payments during the five-year pledge period.

Q: Can a donor fulfill a pledge with a credit card or automatic bank withdrawal?

A: Yes, To Teach Who Christ Is recommends donors fulfill their pledges using a credit card or an electronic fund transfer (automatic bank withdrawal). To Teach Who Christ Is received more than 70,000 pledged gifts, and credit card payments or automatic bank withdrawals will save considerably on operational materials and postage. If you would like to switch your payments to a credit card or automatic bank withdrawal, please contact the campaign office at 312.534.8500. 

Q: Are gifts to the campaign tax-deductible?

A: You will receive an acknowledgement of your gift for tax purposes. In addition, please consult with tax and financial experts.

Q. What happens to a parish’s To Teach Who Christ Is funds if a parish closes?

A. If a parish closes, all campaign gifts, along with all other parish assets, will follow parishioners to the receiving parish. For example, if St. Mary Parish closes and is merged into St. John Parish, all of St. Mary’s assets become the assets of St. John.

Q: What was the cost of the campaign as a percent of revenue?

A: The cost of the campaign relative to the current pledge total was 6 cents on the dollar. This cost included professional fundraising counsel for four years, printed promotional materials for more than 300,000 families, specially produced videos, database management, and gift acknowledgement and pledge fulfillment for more than 70,000 donors from 2013 to 2021. All costs are flat fees for services performed, and the total costs are less than industry standards identified by the Indiana University School of Philanthropy