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Southwest Orange Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 3 years ago

Two women raised $1.4 million for Holy Family Catholic School

Suzanne Maphis and Sharon O’Malley, leaders of Holy Family Catholic School’s Raise the Dough campaign, are passing the fundraising baton on to new organizers.
by: Brittany Gaines Reporter

DR. PHILLIPS When Suzanne Maphis and Sharon O’Malley heard the number - $1.4 million - they could hardly believe their ears. They knew their countless hours of volunteering to organize the Raise the Dough campaign was supporting Holy Family Catholic School, but they never realized the size and scope of the impact.

“When you add it al together, it’s like, ‘Wow,’” Maphis said.

For the last seven years, the two women have organized the annual fundraiser, held during the church’s annual Southwest Fall Fest. And over those seven years, their fundraising efforts have resulted in raising $1.4 million for the school.

“I was floored,” O’Malley said of the toal. “I never thought about it.”

The entire fundraiser revolves around a single raffle drawing, where the winner receives more than $50,000. Tickets cost $100 a piece, and the drawing is always held at 8 p.m. on the Saturday during the festival.

But as Maphis and O’Malley know, the planning and preparation needed requires months of work.

“We just know what we have to do,” Maphis said. “There are a lot of moving parts.”

Their work begins in April as they start the early stages of planning for the fundraiser. But once the school year begins, the work increases. For the first 12 weeks of school, they easily spend 40 to 50 hours a week working on the fundraiser, O’Malley said. And their work includes everything from paperwork and selling tickets at events to taking phone calls and putting tickets in the mail.

“We had a parishioner who ordered tickets, and he was so nervous about getting them in time that I drove them to his house,” O’Malley said.

They’re known for carrying around clipboards full of paperwork and information. But next year, the two women will be handing off their clipboards to two new volunteers - both of their children will graduate from eighth grade this year. 

“We will pass the baton, but (our replacements) have good ideas to take this to the next level,” O’Malley said.

But despite their confidence handing the fundraiser to someone else, they are leaving behind big shoes to fill.

“They are going to be sorely missed,” said Sister Dorothy Sayers, principal of the school.

Looking back on seven years of volunteering, both Maphis and O’Malley said their work was worth it.

“Once you realize it has a purpose, it’s not work anymore,” O’Malley said. “It’s such a family here. It’s an amazing, special place.”

“We did a lot of good, and I feel good about it,” Maphis chimed in.

The money raised is used primarily to boost the salaries of teachers who work at the school. Any funds remaining are used for additional financial projects, such as paying off the track. 

But for O’Malley and Maphis, who have both watched their children grow up at Holy Family Catholic School, supporting the teachers has been their biggest motivation over the years.

“If we can help subsidize that salary, then it’s all worth it,” O’Malley said. “It’s to keep these special people in this job. That’s the big one."

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