Over 30 "Happy Santas" gather at the Padua House during a visit by members of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation dressed as Santa or his helpers to give gifts and sing carols in Belle Chase, La., Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. The Padua House is residential care home for people who are medically fragile operated by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. The deck the Santas are standing on was made by volunteers of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation so that wheelchair bound residents could move around under the trees.

On Nov. 27, we observe #GivingTuesday, as a special day following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With nearly every country in the world participating, it is a global giving movement that inspires communities to unite and to give back.

Here at home, this spirit of gratitude and generosity is evident through the #iGiveCatholic on #GivingTuesday campaign. Created and launched by the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans as a New Orleans-based giving day, #iGiveCatholic now spans from Alaska to New Jersey. In 2015, #iGiveCatholic’s first year, $1.36 million was raised for 112 parishes, schools and nonprofit ministries in New Orleans. Last year, $3.6 million was raised within 17 archdioceses and dioceses. Now in its fourth year, there are 29 participating dioceses and archdioceses, representing nearly 2,500 organizations.

What started as a local movement on #GivingTuesday is now considered the most successful Catholic crowdfunding event to date. We have always known that New Orleanians are extremely generous, but now communities across the country are coming together to make a huge impact. Giving through #iGiveCatholic is seen as a tangible way to put our faith into action!

Our benefiting local organizations are the ones that provide critical services and programs serving all New Orleans citizens: In the classrooms at St. Michael Special School, beneath the roof of Hotel Hope, through the many works of our parishes, under the care of Catholic Charities, and at the dining room table thanks to Second Harvest Food Bank, to name a few.

Everyone is invited to log on to to “GiveCatholic” on Giving Tuesday. Donations of $25 or more will be accepted for the participating organizations. Here you'll find familiar charities that directly impact our local community, as well as many new ones.

The goal of #iGiveCatholic is to inspire the community to come together and celebrate philanthropy while we make a positive difference in our world. It is a call to return our blessings back with the Church and all those the Church helps and supports in our communities. We hope you will join us for #iGiveCatholic on Nov. 27.

Cory J. Howat

The Catholic Foundation

New Orleans