Caritas Philippines boosts ‘inclusive’ fundraising campaign

The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines has intensified its fundraising efforts, aiming to enlist at least one million donors by 2025.

Jun 19, 2024

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of Caritas Philippines, addresses the crowd during the 41st National Social Action General Assembly in Iloilo City on June 18. Photo by Mark Saludes


By Mark Saludes
The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines has intensified its fundraising efforts, aiming to enlist at least one million donors by 2025.

“For the next two years, the ‘Alay Kapwa’ Expanded Fund Campaign is one of our main focuses, which we envision as a stable source of funding for our programs,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of Caritas Philippines. 

Alay Kapwa, meaning “offering oneself to one’s neighbor,” is a Lenten initiative by the Philippine Catholic Church. Established in 1975, it promotes Gospel values of justice, peace, and compassion.

It provides Lenten materials for 86 diocesan centers and established a Solidarity Fund for disaster response. In 2021, it was rebranded to be more inclusive and relevant.

In 2023, Caritas Philippines officially launched the Alay Kapwa Expanded Fund Campaign, a “more inclusive” and “sustainable” resource mobilization program.

Fr. Carmelo Caluag, the new executive director of Caritas Philippines, said the expanded fund campaign “is already up and running” but “we are currently awaiting some government permits before we can make the appeal more public.” 

The priest said that, unlike other fundraising efforts, the Alay Kapwa Expanded Fund Campaign “does not rely” on huge benefactors but on ordinary people.

“With Alay Kapwa, we want to become a church for the poor, of the poor, and with the poor. And given that framework, we also want the poor, in quotation marks, to become donors, not just recipients,” said Fr. Caluag. 

He said the fund campaign aims to gather PHP500 million annually, or US$8.5 million. “Everybody can donate PHP500 (US$8.5) a year, which is around PHP42 (US$0.72) a month.” 

“So, we are not Alay Kapwa from the rich. Everyone becomes part of the endeavor,” he said. 

The details of the fundraising program were discussed during the 41st National Social Action General Assembly, held in Iloilo City in the Archdiocese of Jaro from June 17 to 21.

The meeting, themed “Social Action Network: Journeying to Empower Communities in Faith, Love, and Justice”, has gathered over 250 social action workers from 67 dioceses. --LiCAS.news

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