Capital Campaign



How did St. Bernadette acquire its debt?

Our debt is the result of the construction of our beautiful church and Family Life Center, which cost slightly more than $12 million.

What new facilities does the parish have because of this debt?

  • Purchased our land from the Diocese of Palm Beach
  • Church
  • Created multiple worship spaces
  • Ministry offices
  • Numerous meeting spaces
  • Bell tower
  • Grotto

  pdf Pledge Card, Fullfilling our Promise (506 KB)

How much money did our previous campaigns raise?

While our previous campaigns were successful, the challenge of completely retiring the debt remains. The Be Part of the Dream campaign raised $2,010,309 in pledges and additional gifts. The Building the Dream campaign raised $3,365,824 in pledges and additional gifts. In total the previous campaigns raised $5,376,133.

How much is our debt?

A 40-year loan for $7,075,576 was secured through the Diocese of Palm Beach at an interest rate of 4 percent. The current balance of the loan is $6,796,966.

What is our current monthly payment?

Our current monthly principal and interest payment is $32,521. Currently we are only able to make payments of $24,000 a month, which only covers the interest payment.

Why is it important to reduce or eliminate our debt at this time?

Making a commitment to substantially reduce or eliminate the debt now will save millions in interest payments. Without the burden of debt, we can shift our focus to helping our parish programs grow and thrive while fulfilling our parish’s mission. In addition, over the next five years we anticipate that we will need funding for maintenance issues and shifting our focus from paying off our debt will allow us to pay for these repairs and maintain our facilities.

Will all of the money raised during the campaign go to pay the principal of the loan?


Why do we have so many second collections?

Each year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops requires second collections by every parish, which fund nationwide services and occur approximately monthly. These are separate from second collections required by the Diocesan Services Appeal, which fund only services in the Palm Beach diocese. We are required to participate in all of the collections without exception.

What is the Diocesan Services Appeal (DSA) and what does it fund?

  • The Diocesan Services Appeal (DSA) is the Diocese of Palm Beach’s annual stewardship appeal. The revenue is used for the following:
  • Vocations, Seminary and Diaconite Formation
  • Catholic Charities
  • Catholic Education and Faith Formation
  • Marriage and Family Life
  • Cultural Ministries
  • Communications
  • Support Services

How much money does our parish contribute to the DSA each year?

Each year we are required to raise $100,000 as our parish contribution to the DSA. The diocese has given us a $200,000 discount to offset the amount we pay in interest on our loan.

Why do we need to have a capital campaign if the annual reports from the last five years show a revenue surplus?

The annual reports compare that year's budget with that year's actuals and only show whether we were under or over budget for that year. A positive number shows that we either received more income than expected or reduced our expenses more than expected. A negative number shows that we either received less revenue than expected or spent more than expected.

Each year we send $48,000 of our surplus to the Diocese to build an emergency savings account. The rest of the surplus is carried over to the next year to cover lows suffered from July to September due to a reduced number of parishioners.

Where is the revenue from concerts and other events in the annual report?

These can be found in the Other Income section as Social and Event Income.

Do we currently have any funds set aside for building maintenance and repairs?

We have a savings account with the Diocese but no reserve fund for maintenance issues that may arise.

What are the memorial opportunities for this campaign?

Memorial opportunities are available for individual and combined campaign gifts of $30,000 and above. Please contact the Parish Office for information about available opportunities.

Why emphasize personal visits?

Personal, face-to-face contact remains the single, best way to ask for support. It emphasizes the personal nature of giving, allows for a thorough presentation of the campaign case, gives potential donors the opportunity to ask questions and allows stewards to express their own personal enthusiasm.

How were suggested pledge amounts established?

Suggested pledge amounts were established using a formula based on annual giving over the past three years to the parish, pledges to past campaigns and amounts reported during the campaign planning study.

Why emphasize pledges?

Pledges allow donors to consider giving more than is possible through “one-time” gifts. Any commitment is easier to make if we know we can do it over time. We buy homes and cars and make so many other commitments this way. Pledge-type giving allows us to truly consider doing our best.

Why is each donor asked to complete a pledge form?

A donor is asked to complete a pledge form so that the gift may be appropriately recorded and acknowledged by St. Bernadette. Donors are asked to sign a pledge card to indicate that they have agreed to the terms of the gift indicated on the card.

Is my pledge legally binding? Will it be confidential?

No, a pledge is a gift, one you consider to be meaningful to you. All we ask is that you do your best and advise us of any financial changes that will impact your pledge. All pledges will be kept as confidential as possible. Only the people responsible for maintaining the records will have access to your pledge.

When would the parish like payments to begin?

We encourage supporters to consider a 10 percent down payment with their pledge to provide help now, and then begin making their payments within three months of their pledge. Bottom line, though, it’s up to the donor.

Can I be flexible with payments?

Yes. Some people may need to delay the start of their pledge by a month or two. There is flexibility in the payment of the pledge, i.e. weekly, monthly or annually. Options are indicated on the pledge card and should be clearly marked by the donor.

If a donor wants his/her pledge automatically withdrawn from a savings or a checking account, is that possible?

Yes, have them follow the instructions on the pledge card. Transaction fees range from 1.9-2.5%.

If a donor wants his/her pledge paid with a credit card, is that possible?

Yes, have them follow the instructions on the pledge card. The campaign will accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Please note that the church is charged 1.9-2.5% for every credit card charge.

Is my campaign gift tax deductible?

Gifts to the campaign are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Donors with specific questions regarding tax deductibility should contact their financial advisor.

What happens if I am unable to fulfill my pledge?

Pledging is only an estimate of giving. Sometimes situations may prevent a person from honoring their full pledge, while other events may allow a person to increase their pledge. If you need to modify your pledge, contact theParish Office.

How do I know if the company I work for will match my gift?

The best way to know for sure is to contact your Human Resources department. They will be able to tell you if the company matches gifts, if there are any restrictions to religious organizations and what information you will need in order for them to match your campaign contribution.

Why did we hire a consultant to help us with the campaign?

The Diocese of Palm Beach strongly suggests hiring outside consultants to run capital campaigns to ensure accuracy and transparency. The decision to hire a consultant to help us with a capital campaign was also made because our staff does not have the time to dedicate to fully running a campaign. We chose to hire The Steier Group, a company based in Omaha, Nebraska that specializes in working with Catholic parishes and schools across the country, because their model for successful fundraising is hands-on project management. From day one, our organization has benefited from a campaign manager providing weekly on-site service for the duration of our fundraising effort. In addition to a full-time campaign manager we also receive feedback from the entire management team, have a dedicated graphic designer and grant writer.

For the Fulfilling Our Promise campaign, what percentage does the Steier Group receive?

The Steier Group is paid a flat fee, agreed up by the client’s leadership and the Steier Group. The fee is not a percentage of funds raised, rather a fee for services provided from January to May 2016. The fee is $125,000 plus travel and lodging expenses which are estimated at $20,000. In addition the parish will pay for the printing of all campaign materials.

Click pdf HERE (7.18 MB) for the Case Statement