Set Up for Success

After 15 years, the Catholic United Financial Raffle
continues to help Catholic schools improve

by Gabby Barton, Raffle and Marketing Coordinator

Cheering students, staff and guests welcomed guest of honor Matthew Hackenmueller to St. John’s Area Catholic School in Foley, Minn., on the morning of Monday, April 19. Out of 140,000 tickets sold, Hackenmueller purchased the winning ticket from a St. John’s student in the 2024 Catholic United Financial Raffle. All four members of the Hackenmueller family took hold of the giant $20,000 grand prize check from President Mike Ahles at the ceremony.

“Can they cash this big check at our Credit Union?” Ahles joked with the staff.

In an unexpected development, Susan Porter of St. Cloud, Minn., was also at the event and surprised St. John’s staff by donating the $1,000 Best Buy gift card she won in the Raffle to the school. Principal Christopher Smith said he had spoken to a staff member just that morning about needing funds to purchase Chromebook computers for the fall. Porter’s gift card donation would directly help that need.

You can watch the Foley Event by clicking here.

Celebrating its 15th year, the Catholic United Financial Raffle raised an outstanding $1.41 million in 2024, the third highest total in Raffle history. The 2024 Raffle, held from Jan. 12 to Feb. 18, involved more than 14,000 students from 80 Catholic K-8 schools in Minnesota and South Dakota.

What began in 2009 with less than 20 schools and just over $100,000 raised, has transformed into a significant initiative, raising $15.6 million for Catholic education in 150 schools across Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Sole sponsor Catholic United Financial supports schools with promotional materials, tickets, and prizes, benefiting programs, tuition, technology, and facilities.

The Impact Continues

School leaders and Raffle Coordinators told us the impact of the Raffle continues and the excitement it generates year after year is still going strong.

Barb Novinska from St. Stephen’s Catholic School in Anoka, Minn., has been managing the Raffle for the school for three out of the eight years they’ve participated. During this time, the school raised an impressive $386,195 in total.

“Every single dollar earned staying directly in our school is such a huge benefit to our students and entire school community,” said Novinska. “[The Raffle] is such an easy way, not only to support Catholic United Financial, but also to support many Catholic schools. It truly sends a great message on how important Catholic education is.”

Raffle Coordinator Stephanie Jakoblich from St. Jude of the Lake Catholic School in Mahtomedi, Minn., started managing the fundraiser in 2022. In those three years, the school raised $58,968. “It means a lot for us to be a part of the Raffle. It allowed us to do a lot of things we couldn’t do.” St. Jude School staff utilized Raffle funds to remake the entryway, build another staff bathroom, and provide sports team uniforms and equipment.

Jakoblich adds, “It’s good to bring up the fun atmosphere aspect within the school community because the Raffle itself is just fun. The kids get excited, like, ‘Oh, my mom, dad, and I sold my grandma a ticket. I hope it’s the winning one!”

Jill Young of Aberdeen Catholic School System in Aberdeen, S.D., has been managing the Raffle for seven out of the 11 years the school has participated. During that time, the school raised more than $225,000. “The money goes into our budget and is used to help every single student, faculty, and staff member,” said Young.

Beyond raising money, Young provides fun incentives for the kids. “I think of it as a way to do some really fun experiences for our students.” This year the Aberdeen students reached their goal, and a bouncy house was brought in as a reward.

“The beautiful thing about this fundraiser, as you know, is it’s already set up for our success.”

Catholic United Financial is a member-owned not-for-profit financial services company whose mission is to connect people of faith, protect their future and generously impact parishes, schools, and communities. For more information, visit www.catholicunitedfinancial.org/raffle.