For the past decade, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been recognized as Giving Tuesday, a time for people to remember during their holiday shopping to set aside donations for charitable organizations. In preparation for this year’s event, which arrives Nov. 29, the Diocese of Trenton’s Catholic schools plan to focus attention on the value of a Catholic education and issue an appeal for support within the Catholic community and beyond.

“This will be our schools’ fifth year participating in Giving Tuesday,” said Christine Prete, associate director of development operations for the Diocese, who added that it is part of the Diocese’s “Catholic Schools Have It All” initiative. Giving Tuesday is sponsored by the diocesan Departments of Development and Catholic Schools and is presented via a dedicated website – leadinfaith.org – and testimonials presented in a Giving Tuesday video.

Prete speaks in the video about her personal experience as a graduate of both Catholic elementary and high schools, which “helped me grow and develop as a woman, a wife, a mother and a professional.”

She decided to become a catechist this year “as a way to give back for my Catholic upbringing,” she said. “It is my hope that [Catholic school] alumni challenge themselves through volunteer opportunities with their church and allow the Holy Spirit to guide them.”

About 70,000 alumni of diocesan Catholic schools will receive a letter encouraging their support for the annual campaign, informing them about how Catholic elementary schools will be participating on Giving Tuesday. A toolkit will be sent to the schools, focusing on celebrating Catholic education.

Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, diocesan superintendent, wrote in the alumni letter: “Our Catholic schools are focused on Catholic values, high academics, and social growth. ... Your support will guarantee the choice will be available for future generations of Catholic students.”

“Each year the program grows, and we get students engaged through an activity that asks a question about their faith and Catholic schools,” explained Prete. In 2019 the students were asked, “How can you be a leader in faith?” The 2020 program prompted, “Why are you thankful for Catholic education?”

“For 2022 we are providing all students with a sturdy paper ‘smartwatch’ that asks them to participate in nine random acts of kindness, celebrating giving back to their community,” said Prete. The smartwatch includes the messages “Donate,” “Pray” and “Volunteer,” including suggestions for each, such as “Do a chore for someone without them knowing” and “Collect coats and give them to a homeless shelter.”

Giving Tuesday participation will be promoted and updated throughout the day on diocesan social media outlets.

In 2021 the Giving Tuesday event raised a total of $46,200 for diocesan Catholic schools.

“The annual fund finished at $182,053,” Prete noted. “This includes gifts made throughout the campaign year from July to June – the highest to date for the history of the campaign.”

Giving Tuesday began in New York City in 2012 and has grown every year since, becoming an independent nonprofit and global movement inspiring participation by millions for various worthy causes. In its entirety Giving Tuesday across the globe collectively raised $2.7 billion.

To become an advocate for Catholic schools and raise money through your personal network, or for more information on Giving Tuesday, contact Christine Prete, 609-403-7218, cprete@dioceseoftrenton.org.  Visit leadinfaith.org to view the Giving Tuesday campaign video.