Legacy Campaign Tops Goal!

Update as of 12/4/19. Overall, the Legacy Campaign received total gifts and pledges of $749,604.41. This includes commitments from 160+ St. Alphonsus contributors, the Hommerding Grant from the Catholic Development Foundation in Fargo, and the Catholic Extension Society Grant. A proposal to the Raskob Foundation was declined. Dollars raised above the initial $600,000 goal have been earmarked for future capital needs, among them the rectory.

As for repairs, Marian reports, “Tuck pointers got 70% done before the October snow storm.  They are on hold until May when the weather warms and they can apply the seal coat, caulking, and paint the stucco.”

“We have found that the church basement needs a drain system installed.  Not certain of details at this point.”


Over 180 households took part in our parish survey in March 2019.  There were a variety of opinions, but one thing in common: how much you all care for St. Alphonsus and its future.

St. Alphonsus is blessed with beautiful stained glass.

On April 23 I met with the Parish Council and Building Committee.  Without revealing any names, I had the committees read every comment submitted.

When done, a couple of things were clear.  First, caring for the church structure must be our top priority.  Generations before us built a beautiful church. We must do the maintenance necessary to hand on what we’ve been given.

Second, it would be helpful to share more information with parishioners regarding parish finances.  There were questions regarding our endowments, banking, and other matters.  In late May I’ll publish a separate document that goes over all of that.

Third, because we have a parish school, some expressed a desire that we seek additional outside funding.  You will be pleased to know that process is underway, with two large grant applications submitted in April.

We now begin the Legacy Campaign

   “We can thank our own parents and grandparents, who sacrificed to give us a beautiful church and form us in the faith. 
   Through the Legacy Campaign we are maintaining and handing on to the next generation that same gift.”
                  – Bill and Darlene Brooks, Campaign Chairs

What is the purpose of the Legacy Campaign?

It is a fund drive for repairs and major maintenance for the church, fellowship hall and school. 

The church is the first priority, with tuck pointing the ‘big ticket’ item.  Tuck pointing replaces mortar between bricks, thus preventing water from infiltrating the interior.

Tuck pointing replaces mortar between bricks.

Other church items include a fire alarm system, drain tile and other measures designed to protect the structural integrity of the church.  For the interior, plans include plaster, paint and floor coverings.

In the survey, a number of people said they liked the projection screen for songs.  At the April 23 Parish Council meeting, Fr. Phil explained that one of the reasons it fell into disuse is the time it takes to prepare the slides for each weekend Mass. So the Parish Council is still deciding what to do regarding the projection screen.

This spring the roof between the fellowship hall and church began to leak.  That will be repaired, along with the ceiling in the hall.

School repairs were discussed at length by the Parish Council, and a decision was made to move forward with repairs to the roof and interior as outlined in the recently published Project Overview.  At the same time, the Council recognized the desire of many parishioners to seek additional outside funding, which is already underway.

What is the financial goal? 

The goal of the campaign is $600,000. 

Is the rectory included in the financial goal?

No. After reviewing the survey and the projected campaign gifts, Fr. Phil reminded the Council that the rectory, though dated, is comfortable enough and can wait.  That said, the Council passed a motion that campaign funds beyond $600,000 be earmarked for capital improvements.  The Council saw that as a way to hopefully provide ‘seed money’ for the rectory or other future capital needs.

Have we sought any outside funding?

Yes.  As of June 30, 2019 three grant applications were submitted.  The first application was made April 24 to the Catholic Extension Society requesting $80,000 for help with the tuck pointing.  They made their decision on July 29, 2019 awarding us $33,000 as a dollar for dollar match for new gifts.

Bill and Darlene Brooks, Campaign Chairs

The second application was made to the Catholic Development Foundation in Fargo, requesting a Hommerding Incentive Grant.  On Friday, May 17, 2019 we received word that St. Alphonsus had been awarded a matching grant. For every $10 donated by parishioners, the grant will award $1, with a grant cap of $100,000. 

The third application was made in late June to the Raskob Foundation requesting $25,000 for school roof repairs. We were considered at their board meeting in November 2019 but declined.

Can we earmark our gift or pledge for a specific area?

Yes.  On the pledge form you can designate your gift or pledge to (A) Where capital needs are the greatest, B) Church and fellowship hall repairs C) For school repairs. 

Why don’t we just take money out of the church and school endowments to make repairs?

There are two reasons.  First, it’s important to respect the donor’s wishes.  A number of large estate gifts were reserved for the endowments out of deference for donors who wanted to ensure the long-term financial health of the parish and school. 

Second, earnings from the two endowments have become an important part of the operating budget.  As of 4/30/19, the parish endowment was valued at $1,444,263. Since 2014 it has paid out $230,608 in earnings.

As of 12/31/18, the school endowment was valued at $1,838,993.  In 2018 alone the endowment generated $88,000 in earnings.   Since inception, it has paid out $2,137,600 in earnings to support the school.  In short, if the endowments were used up for other things, we would lose an important ongoing source of funding at a time when we need it most.

Can donors make a single gift rather than pledging?

Of course.  On the pledge form, just indicate the total commitment and amount enclosed (or the date you plan to make a single gift.)

Can we make monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments?


If we choose to pledge, how long is the pledge period?

That’s up to you.  Create a plan that suits your circumstances.  The pledge may be from one to five years.  In the survey, a number of people indicated interest in the 60-month plan.  The table below illustrates how even a modest monthly gift adds up over time.  When a number of people make such a commitment, it creates a big impact on the overall bottom line.

Are there tax-advantaged ways for retirees to give?

In the March 2019 issue of the New Earth, Steve Schons writes, “Give from your pretax assets by making an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) rollover gift. If you are 70 ½ or older, this strategy allows you to give up to $100,000 directly from your IRA rather than take the required distribution from your IRA. It doesn’t result in a charitable deduction, but will help you avoid tax on the distribution. This strategy works for both itemizers and non- itemizers.” (p. 28) 

Consult your tax or financial advisor to see if this strategy is right for you.