Changing Lives Together

A renewed sense of mission and stewardship was the cornerstone of the Changing Lives Together initiative. Each disciple utilized a unique combination of our Lord’s gifts of time, talent and treasure to help achieve parish and Archdiocesan goals detailed below. The faithful, pastors, parishes, Archdiocesan staff and consultants collaborated in this transforming initiative, and much more was accomplished than we could have imagined.

High on that list of accomplishments is the confidence that we now have that when we work and pray together, and place our trust in the Lord, we can meet our challenges and accomplish the mission He has placed before us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the Archdiocese of Detroit conduct the Changing Lives Together Capital Campaign?

The Changing Lives Together Capital Stewardship Initiative was launched in 2011 to address some of the most critical needs of the parishes and the Archdiocese of Detroit. It was designed to engage all the parishes in an initiative that would address the following pastoral priorities and help to ensure a bright future for the Church in southeast Michigan.

What were the priorities of Changing Lives Together?

  1. Strengthening our parishes
  2. Strengthening Catholic education and faith formation
  3. Strengthening our priests, priestly formation and future leadership
  4. Strengthening the Church in the city of Detroit

Strengthening our parishes was identified as the top priority. Accordingly, 70 percent of the funds raised in this initiative were returned to the parishes. Each parish was asked to reflect upon its pastoral priorities and unique needs such as establishing or growing a school or ministry endowment, debt retirement, renovating school or parish structures, constructing new buildings, or enhancing academic curriculums, religious education programs for youth and adults, and charitable outreach.

The plan called for the Archdiocese to retain 30 percent of the gifts received to fund priorities 2 through 4, and to fund the initiative’s expenses.

What was total fundraising goal and what was the fundraising goal for each of the four priorities?

Strengthening Parishes | $95,000,000

Each parish prioritized its unique needs and opportunities and developed a plan and case for support.

Strengthening Catholic Education | $15,000,000

The Archdiocese of Detroit is blessed with 90 Catholic schools including 67 elementary and 23 high schools. This element of the Changing Lives Together initiative will substantially strengthen the existing endowment for tuition assistance for Catholic primary and secondary students, which has provided nearly $50 million to students since 1994.

Strengthening Priestly Formation and Future Leadership | $8,000,000

Providing lifelong training and support for those who minister in the Church is an essential duty of the Archdiocese. The initiative built a fund to provide for the continuing education and formation of our priests. In addition, this element will increase funding for the education and formation of our seminarians and will provide additional funding to assist lay men and women preparing for church ministry.

Strengthening the Church in the City | $4,000,000

This element of the initiative established a fund for the Church in the City that will provide grants to help underwrite parish ministries and programs vital to the ongoing witness, mission, and presence of the Church in Detroit and other resource-poor areas of the Archdiocese.

Changing Lives Together Expenses | $13,000,000

Expenses for this initiative included professionally designed and printed materials; video production and duplication; website development; database administration; professional consulting and legal fees; gift acknowledgements; postage; and pledge fulfillment for this five-year Archdiocesan project involving all our parishes.

Changing Lives Together Overall Goal | $135,000,000

How were these priorities determined?

The initiative priorities were derived from Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral vision and informed by an extensive year-long planning study that involved a broad cross-section of clergy and lay leaders. This process tested the feasibility of these initiatives among those who would be leading the initiative. The planning study underscored the appropriateness of these initiatives for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

How was the goal for each parish determined?

Based on the planning study feedback and on the advice of the Changing Lives Together Steering Committee comprised of pastors, lay volunteers, and archdiocesan staff, each parish was assigned a campaign goal equal to 90 percent of its annual offertory collection.

How were the campaign proceeds shared?

70 percent of the gifts received by the parish were returned to the parish; and 30 percent of the proceeds remained with the Archdiocese to support the Archbishop’s pastoral initiatives and to pay the major initiative expenses. Once a parish reached its target goal for the initiative, it retained 100 percent of any additional funds raised.

How many people contributed to the campaign?

As of December 31, 2017, 76,000 families made a pledge. This is 28 percent of our registered families.

How much was raised and how much has been collected?

As of December 31, 2017, $125 million in pledges have been raised and $105 million in payments have been received.

How much was raised for the Church in the City element and where has it been spent?

While the goal for the Church in the City case element of Changing Lives Together was $4 million, $1,450,000 was raised. In December 2017, $1,446,558 was transferred from the Archdiocese of Detroit to the Catholic Foundation of Michigan and placed in a Church in the City Endowment. In June 2018, an additional $37,050 was transferred to the Foundation for a total of $1,483,608. More funds may be transferred as additional pledge payments are received.

The Catholic Foundation, through its Grant and Impact Committee, is equipped to solicit and evaluate grant applications according to the archdiocese’s granting guidelines for this endowment. Church in the City grants must:

  • Serve communities in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck.
  • Actively support groundbreaking faith formation and education.
  • Infuse creativity into support for evangelization into the urban Catholic life.
  • Build innovative evangelistic programs in line with Unleash the Gospel that boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus and lead souls to a personal encounter with Him.

In December 2018, the Foundation awarded $71,500 in grants from the Church in the City Fund to 17 Catholic parishes and organizations in the geographic scope of the fund including Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. Priority was given to evangelistic programs and those with matching grant opportunities. As will all endowments, the fund will grow over time. In June 2019, the balance of the fund was $1,436,000. Parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations in these cities may contact the Catholic Foundation of Michigan for a grant application.

A list of the projects, organizational recipients, award amount and fields of interest follows:

How have the proceeds for the Archdiocesan priorities been used?

The plan called for a minimum of 70 percent of funds received to be returned to the parishes to fulfill parish-identified priorities, with the remaining 30 percent allocated to three archdiocesan-wide priorities and for campaign expenses. Through December 31, 2017, distributions for archdiocesan priorities include:

$4,400,000 has been invested in the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation to augment tuition assistance to qualifying families with children in K-12 Catholic schools in southeast Michigan. Since its inception in 1994 this endowment has provided nearly $50 million in K-12 tuition assistance in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

$2,500,000 has been designated for priestly formation as well as clergy and lay leadership development. These funds are invested in the Archdiocese of Detroit Loan Deposit Program to provide assistance for the continuing education of priests; and the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation for tuition assistance to seminarians and qualifying lay men and women preparing for Church ministry. 

$1,450,000 has been designated to strengthen Catholic ministries in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. These funds have been placed in an endowment with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. Beginning in the fall of 2018, grants will be awarded to Catholic parishes and schools and other Catholic organizations in the inner city. The endowment provides support for evangelization, Catholic education and faith formation, service and outreach, and building vibrant Catholic communities. Parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations may contact the Catholic Foundation of Michigan for a grant application.

As pledges to Changing Lives Together are paid, funds are proportionally distributed – 70 percent to the parish, 30 percent to the Archdiocese. When Changing Lives Together pledges are fulfilled above the parish goal, the parish retains 100 percent of the funds received. If parish campaigns fall short of their goal, funds potentially available for parish priorities and those for the archbishop’s initiatives are reduced. When parishes exceed their goal, the three archdiocesan-wide priorities do not receive additional funds; rather, those funds are applied to parish initiatives.

Posted: August 2019