DIOCESE OF BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS
Greater Mission was invited to help the Diocese of Brownsville conduct a pre-campaign planning process to discern its most important priorities as it looked to the future. The Diocese includes a population of more than 1 million Catholics and serves four counties on the southern border between Texas and Mexico. The poverty level in the diocese is 30% — more than double the national average. The people are 90%+ of Mexican heritage and practice their faith with great devotion and selfless willingness to serve.
The Love Builds Hope campaign was launched in January of 2020 with 14 participating parishes.
Bishop Flores determined that a campaign would help the diocese shift more to proactively funding its greatest needs. The process was initiated with surveys of the priests and diocesan ministry leaders. Diverse teams of clergy, religious and lay leaders from around the diocese were brought together to discuss possible solutions to the priority needs identified. The most significant funding priorities and possible solutions were shaped into a draft case for support with a goal of $30 Million. A comprehensive study of giving and external research was conducted to validate that there was enough giving capacity to support that goal.
A Feasibility Study was conducted that included interviews with representative lay leaders and visits by the Greater Mission team to meet personally with every pastor to receive their input and to discover the priority needs at the parish level. A proposed name for the campaign — Love Builds Hope — was discerned by Bishop Flores. The Feasibility Study resulted in a modified goal of $24 million and a case for support that gave greater priority to the extensive needs of the parishes. Greater Mission also recommended the establishment of the Love Builds Hope Foundation to steward and distribute funds raised through the campaign and to serve the diocese beyond the campaign. Additional key plans were also proposed to establish the Builders Circle for leadership giving and the Hope Legacy League for planned and estate gifts.
The Love Builds Hope campaign was launched in January of 2020 with 14 participating parishes. Materials were created and produced, a website was developed, a new database system was designed, a Foundation Board was created, Builders Circle meetings were held at the diocesan level to invite six- and seven-figure gifts, parish core teams were established and parish schedules were developed. In March, the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis led to diocesan-wide shelter-in-place restrictions that forced a suspension of all live church ministries and activities. Campaign work continues behind the scenes, including assistance to parishes with electronic giving and research on new revenue sources through public and private foundations.
Additional steps to reprioritize the case for support are now being considered to allow the campaign to be an important part of the revenue solution for the Diocese of Brownsville. Through the crisis and well past it, the work of the Foundation and Campaign will be more important than ever.