Successful "Forward Together" Campaign Raises $11.15 Million

Thursday, August 18, 2022


Saint Meinrad's three-year, $10 million "Forward Together: For the Life of the Church" campaign reached its goal six months early and went on to raise $11,154,319 before it officially ended on June 30. 

The funds will establish two new initiatives, the Center for Youth and Young Adult Evangelization and the Institute for Sacred Music, as well as renovations to St. Anselm Hall and the Archabbey Library – the buildings where the new programs will be housed.

“What could be more important to the ‘life of the Church’ than to provide opportunities for our youth and young adults to grow stronger in their faith?” asks Pam Schwenk. She, her husband Mike, along with Tom and Linda Weintraut, served as co-chairs for the campaign.

Saint Meinrad has offered the “One Bread, One Cup” program for the last 28 years and the Young Adult Initiative for the last five. “Both of these programs have been very successful,” Pam says. “However, Saint Meinrad saw the need to provide additional programs for those beyond the high school and college years.”

The Center for Youth and Young Adult Evangelization will offer a youth ministry degree program, ongoing formation, workshops, and other resources for young adults and those who minister to them.

And with Saint Meinrad’s expertise in chant and sacred music, it’s essential to continue this work and reach a broader audience. Mike says, “The Institute for Sacred Music will provide opportunities to continue the research on the history and theory and provide a central resource center for those seeking to learn more about sacred music.”

Workshops, study tours, performances and other events will make sacred music available to musicians, scholars and those in parishes. “It is so important not to lose our history of sacred music and chant,” he says.

The campaign was not without challenges, however. “Before we got too far into the campaign, we lost Mike Ziemianski, the vice president of development for Saint Meinrad,” recalls Tom Weintraut. “Fortunately, Duane Schaefer quickly assumed the vice president role, and he and the Development Office kept the process on track.”

Then COVID hit. Linda remembers the campaign leadership assessing whether the campaign should continue. “This was a very trying period for everyone, including the volunteers on the Campaign Cabinet and the Regional Committees. There was so much uncertainty about the impact of the coronavirus on our society. We had concerns as to how we would contact prospective donors.”

Key to the campaign’s success was the support from volunteers. “Right from the start, it became apparent that the existence of dedicated volunteers and the loyal donors was very real,” Tom and Linda agreed. “There was warm welcome for the project and pledges quickly came in.”

“The fact that this campaign met its goals, earlier than projected, reflects how well the campaign was received,” says Tom and Linda. “And it demonstrates the special relationship that exists between Saint Meinrad and so many loyal and dedicated volunteers and supporters.”

Renovation work began in May in St. Anselm Hall. The work includes a new water main, an upgraded HVAC system, new electrical panels, energy-efficient lighting, upgraded elevator controls and an improved fire suppression system.

Empire Contractors of Evansville, IN, is doing the work on St. Anselm Hall, while Krempp Construction of Jasper, IN, is responsible for the library renovation. Total cost of the construction bids is $10,782,000.

The library renovation began in early June, after the books, materials and staff offices were relocated. The work includes expanding the space for the archives and the Rare Book Room. Other improvements include updated electrical systems and elevator controls; an upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning system; and energy-efficient lighting. A slanted roof will be built to replace the flat roof.