In all its efforts to help the poor and the vulnerable, Catholic Charities of Tennessee strives to open pathways to a better future for all the people it serves.
It is asking the people of the community to support those efforts through the Pathways to Possibilities Breakfast. Presented by the Most Rev. J. Mark Spalding and the Diocese of Nashville, the event will be held at 7 a.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Davidson Ballroom of the Music City Center in downtown Nashville.
"It's very important to us," said Mark Barry, director of mission advancement for Catholic Charities. "This is our largest fundraiser of the year. ... It has become more important as federal funding has been reduced."
Pathways for Possibilities provides funding to Catholic Charities' areas of greatest need, which are often important programs that don't receive funding from a government grant, Barry said.
"Many of them have to do with basic needs," he said, including: the North Nashville Outreach program at the McGruder Family Resource Center; the Loaves and Fishes Community Meals program that provides breakfast and lunch for free three days a week at Holy Name Church's Strobel Hall in East Nashville; the Individual and Family Counseling and School Counseling programs; and elements of the Pregnancy Counseling and Adoption program.
While federal funds for the types of social services offered by Catholic Charities are falling, the needs of the community remain, Barry said.
"We estimate we serve 9,100 unduplicated individuals over the course of a year. Each will be served an average of seven to eight times," Barry said. That results in a total of more than 70,000 service connections a year, he added.
Catholic Charities' services are open to all who need them.
Pathways to Possibilities is not only a fundraiser, but also a "friend-raiser," Barry said.
"It's the largest single gathering of supporters for the work of Catholic Charities in our community," Barry said.
"It's an opportunity to tell our story" to people who have an interest in supporting the type of services Catholic Charities provides to the community, he added.
There is no cost to attend Pathways to Possibilities, although those attending will be asked for a donation, Barry said. The event is paid for through the generosity of the sponsors, including: Presenting Sponsors Bishop J. Mark Spalding and the Diocese of Nashville; Platinum Sponsor Chris and Bubba Donnelly; and Gold Sponsors: Ascension Saint Thomas Health and the law firm of Taylor Pigue Marchetti and Blair.
Pathways to Possibilities will begin at 7 a.m. with registration and networking. "We will have plenty of coffee," Barry said.
Breakfast and the program will begin at 7:30 a.m. "We commit to get out around 8:30 a.m.," Barry said. "From the beginning, that's been one of our key elements of our program. We respect people's time. ... We can tell our story concisely and make a case of why their support is necessary."
Bishop Spalding will give a brief blessing and welcome before breakfast is served, Barry said. There will be a video presentation and Bishop Spalding "will reinforce the importance of the work of Catholic Charities in the community and why it's important for the community to support its work," Barry added.
John Rodgers, board president of Catholic Charities, will conclude the program.
Sponsorships are still available, Barry said. For more information about attending or being a sponsor, contact Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-760-1028.