Frequently Asked Questions

Campaign FAQs

I only support parts of the proposed project. Can I have my contributions fund only those parts?

Gifts can be designated as follows:

  1. The campaign offers multiple special “commemorative opportunities.” These opportunities allow donors making a qualifying gift amount the unique chance to designate their gifts to a particular part of the project and dedicate it in honor or memory of those they choose.
  2. Both the new school and each parish’s promised commitment to the Upon This Rock Campaign are “projects” being funded by pledges to our One Faith – One Family – One Future Capital Campaign. When completing your pledge, you may designate any portion of your pledge toward one or the other if that is your desire.

How did the leadership come up with my gift request amount?

Gift requests are based on family giving history, gifts to prior campaigns and input that was received during the campaign planning study. Great care has been taken by the parish leadership in establishing our request amounts. These requests are not an expectation, but rather an invitation to consider a sacrificial investment toward the parish. We are grateful for all gifts, regardless of size. We only ask that you give in a way that reflects the gifts you have received.

Who is being asked to give to the campaign?

Every family in our school and our parishes, friends and supporters of Catholic education in our community and any alumni for whom we have contact information will be invited to participate in the campaign. Everyone will be asked to consider a three-year commitment. While we know the bulk of the funds raised for the campaign will come from individual donors, we will also approach foundations and corporations to seek their support.

When will I be asked to give to the campaign?

Before asking for support we must first ensure we are prepared. We are in the process of finalizing our case statement and campaign goals, training volunteers and gathering leadership gifts. We will begin the official process in September. In the meantime, we will share progress, plans and answers to other frequently asked questions on the campaign website.

How do I know the money is going to be used wisely?

Every dollar donated to the campaign will be accounted for, going toward the projects presented in the case statement and related expenses. Also, should donors choose to do so, they will be given the option to restrict their gift to a specific area or need to make certain that the money is used in accordance with their intent.

How are parishioners being contacted throughout the campaign?

We are committed to make all information concerning the campaign and its progress readily available to all of the faithful. Communications are being sent through a wide variety of mediums including direct mailings, emails, announcements at Mass, various social media platforms, bulletin announcements, volunteer visits, the parish and school websites and the campaign website.

Does the company we’re paying to run the campaign get a certain percentage of what we raise?

No. The fee we’re paying the Steier Group, the firm providing guidance for our campaign, is a fixed fee. When measured as a percentage of funds raised, our fundraising costs are forecasted to be between 1.5% and 3% of every dollar raised, fee and expenses combined.

Can I give appreciated stock or securities to support the capital campaign?

Yes. A gift of securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.), not only provides an immediate financial gift but can also offer the donor a tax advantages and an immediate charitable deduction. For more information, please consult your financial and/or tax advisor for the appropriate steps.

About the Project FAQs

What do we expect to accomplish in our three-year plan?

The overall goal of our campaign is to raise funds to meet our obligation to the Upon This Rock campaign (in support of priests), retire the debt incurred on the land and to construct the new Catholic school in northeast Bettendorf. Elements of the construction project include:

  • Two classrooms each for grades K-8
  • STEM and Arts classrooms
  • Commons area with attached chapel
  • High school-rated gymnasium
  • Preschool and childcare facility
  • Administrative offices
  • Playgrounds, parking and separate drop-off areas for school and preschool

The intention is to complete all these projects by the fall of 2025.

In what order will the projects be completed?

Once the campaign is completed and funding projections are known, the order in which the projects are completed will be decided by parish leadership, in cooperation with architects and the Diocese of Davenport. Many factors are taken into consideration, including the most urgent priorities, the school calendar, and projects that must take place chronologically or simultaneously to avoid disruption to family and school schedules.

What is the long-range plan for the two parishes?

The long-range vision is  to build a new school and church at the northwest corner of Hopewell Avenue and Criswell Street and eventually seeing Our Lady of Lourdes and St. John Vianney becoming one parish: St. Joan of Arc. There are many decisions yet to be made as we travel this path, but this is the direction we are moving

What is the long-range plan for the existing properties?  Will they be sold?

Since we are focused on the new school, we are not addressing this question in the short-term. Long term, yes, we would expect to sell the current properties. However, that decision would be made by parish leadership and the diocese.

What other options were considered for the school?

In addition to purchasing surrounding homes, we considered many options including various building sites, renovating, even relocating to Saint John Vianney and not having a school.  Taking into consideration economic, societal, demographic and diocesan trends, a master plan for a combined church and school on a single Bettendorf campus in the growth area was determined to be the best option

What would be the estimated project debt incurred for this
project? How would it be divided between the parishes and
the diocese?

Up to 40 percent of the project’s overall cost could be financed.  Whatever debt is incurred will be borne by the combined parish entity. The diocese must approve the debt, but it is not responsible for the debt. We absolutely want to minimize the debt.

Other than the current market value of the OLOL couples, what other assets of both parishes would be used to fund the project?

Our Lady of Lourdes received an estate gift of $2 million from the estate of Jim Victor. One million dollars went toward the purchase of the new property, and $1 million will go toward the campaign for the new building. Our Lady of Lourdes has set aside some extra funds to begin the process.

Additionally, the land that was ultimately purchased is larger than the need for the project, and the additional acres are an investment that can either be held for future development or sold later at a profit. In the meantime, the additional land will remain as rent-paying cropland.

What’s the projection for long-term maintenance, and how will it
be funded?

While specific numbers aren’t available, it is reasonable to expect that a newer facility will be more energy efficient and require less maintenance than current structures, especially in the short-term. Even before construction of the new school is completed, the newly formed Scott County Catholic School System will lease our education facilities and fund long-term maintenance through tuition and parish assessments.

How did we “size” the various classrooms, childcare and Pre-K areas?  Do they meet or exceed our needs and approved standards?

How did we “size” the various classrooms, childcare and Pre-K areas?  Do they meet or exceed our needs and approved standards?  The classroom sizes meet standard requirements, are on par with Pleasant Valley district standards, and are larger than what Lourdes Catholic School has currently.

The original plan was to fit on 25 acres. Is that still the plan, and could some of the 65 acres purchased remain as rent-paying cropland?

As the long-range plan for the parishes and the diocese became clearer, it became apparent that a 25-acre site would not provide the space needed to grow the school and eventual church. Until we break ground to prepare the site for construction, it will remain rent-paying cropland. Once we break ground for the new school, keeping a portion of the property available to rent is an option we are considering.

What are the current and projected enrollment trends in the diocesan
Catholic schools?

Catholic News Agency recently reported that, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, Catholic school enrollment nationally was trending down 2% to 3% annually. That rate more than doubled during the pandemic. However, after returning to in-person learning, enrollment in Catholic schools began trending toward pre-pandemic numbers and continues to grow – in some areas, at rates higher than the pre-pandemic, downward trends.

Trends in Scott County Catholic K-8 schools show similar patterns: Pre-pandemic enrollment trending down, sharp declines during the pandemic, and post-pandemic enrollment trending upward: Given this context, it’s noteworthy that enrollment at Lourdes Catholic school remained relatively steady during this same time frame (data taken from enrollment data from Scott County Catholic Schools)

The opportunity for maintaining that trend in the new Bettendorf Catholic school is even greater now that the Iowa state legislature has approved Educational Savings Account (ESA) grants for students attending private and parochial schools at the same time a  growing number of parents that desire an alternative to public schools.



What is the Iowa ESA Program?

The Students First Act created the Iowa ESA Program, which makes state funding available to every student in Iowa between kindergarten and high school. The funds are placed into education savings accounts and can be used by eligible families to cover qualified educational expenses, such as tuition, fees, and books.

We’re facing fewer parishioners and fewer priests, but is a new school the best source of evangelization?


Yes! Without a Catholic school that offers non-Catholic/Christian parents a choice, it becomes more challenging to introduce the Christian faith to students and parents who are not Catholic.  Sure, there are other avenues and ways to give witness to the
Gospel, and we should use them. But, Catholic education remains one the most effective outreach tools the Church has for making
disciples. It equips young Catholics to live out their faith, and it helps non-Catholics experience the love of Christ in how teachers nurture their children and in how the parish ministers to the community and its families.

Upon This Rock FAQs

What is the Diocese of Davenport?

The diocese encompasses 74 parishes in 22 counties of southeast Iowa. The diocesan offices assist the bishop in fulfilling his role as chief shepherd to sanctify, to teach and to govern the Diocese of Davenport.

 Why does the diocese need a campaign?

The diocese is on solid footing, but the future will bring significant financial challenges as the diocese seeks to fund priests’ retirement and health care costs and the cost of education for seminarians. The campaign also has the potential to strengthen parishes across the diocese.

 What is the state of diocesan finances? Is this a desperate situation?

The diocesan financial picture is strong and the Annual Diocesan Appeal has remained steady in recent years. This is not an emergency situation. The diocese is looking at future needs for retired priests and at the need to remove any obstacles it can for seminarians, those now in formation and those to come.

 What are the campaign goals for UPON THIS ROCK? How will our parish commitment be split up?

Seventy-five percent of our commitment will go toward the health care and retirement costs of priests, and 25 percent will go toward the funding of seminarians’ education.

 How many retired priests are there? How many more are nearing retirement?

As of late 2021 (when the Upon This Rock campaign started), there were 98 diocesan priests, 39 of them retired. An additional 33 were age 60 or above, which is expected to put great pressure on the retirement system operated by the Priests’ Aid Society as these priests retire over the next 10 to 15 years. (Retirement age is 70, though some stay active beyond that age.) Put another way: In 2021, 73% of the diocese’s priests either were retired or within a decade of retirement age.

 What’s the basic financial situation for retired priests?

During active ministry, priests are provided housing. They are responsible for their own housing costs in retirement, and situations vary widely for retired priests. They live on a mix of personal savings, Social Security and a monthly stipend of about $2,000 from the Priests’ Aid Society.

 How does the funding strategy for priests work?

For decades the Priests’ Aid Society – an organization separate from the Diocese of Davenport and governed by its own board – has been instrumental in helping diocesan priests cover the costs of health care and retirement. The organization relies on two main income sources: the investment income of its fund and an annual assessment of parishes.

 Why is more money needed?

With so many retirements on the horizon and health care costs rising significantly in recent years, the Priests’ Aid Society’s current income structure will not be able to keep up without additional funding.

 Has the retirement situation been studied?

The Priests’ Aid Society had about $15 million in its fund for the health care and retirement costs for priests as of late 2021. To gain an understanding of how much would be needed to ensure that the Priests’ Aid Society could keep up with its growing costs, the Diocese of Davenport engaged the services of the firm Gabriel, Roeder, Smith and Co. (GRS), a national actuarial and benefits consulting firm that specializes in such questions for U.S. dioceses. In its report, GRS forecast that the Priests’ Aid Society would need an additional $24 million to fund completely the health care and retirement needs of all diocesan priests while also eliminating the Priests’ Aid annual assessment of parishes. The Upon This Rock Campaign’s $28 million goal includes more than $16 million for priests’ retirement and health care costs, a major step toward fortifying the fund for decades to come.

 Will the Priests’ Aid Society assessments of parishes go down?

The campaign plan would reduce the assessments by 25 percent for at least five years, freeing up money in parishes’ budgets for other uses. (This assessment is separate from the Annual Diocesan Appeal, which funds a variety of programs and ministries.)

 Doesn’t the Annual Diocesan Appeal pay for retired priests’ costs?

A small percentage of the ADA goes to the Priests’ Aid Society as the diocese’s payment for priests who are assigned to diocesan duties outside of parishes. In other words, the diocese is assessed just as parishes are.

 Do the health costs apply only to retired priests?

No. Health insurance for priests, retired and active, is covered through the Priests’ Aid Society.

 Doesn’t Medicare cover retired priests’ costs?

Yes, retired priests are eligible for Medicare. The Priests’ Aid Society covers the costs for supplemental health coverage.

 How does funding for seminarians work, and why is more money needed?

A fund managed by the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Davenport has in recent years covered the costs of seminary education and formation. That fund was bolstered by an effort in 2015-16 that generated about $500,000 from donors. That money, as well as several large additional gifts in recent years, has allowed the foundation to continue to cover the quickly rising education costs of seminarians; the total runs about $55,000 per year per seminarian. However, about $100,000 per year is being pulled out of the fund to cover the costs that go beyond investment income and the amount raised during the Annual Diocesan Appeal. That means that at that rate and without additional money, the fund for seminarians will be exhausted as soon as 2024.

 How many seminarians are in formation, and how does the future look?

There has been a decline in the number of diocesan seminarians. In the 2021-22 class, there were eight. Until recently, a typical year would see a total of 11-14 seminarians in the discernment process. We are hopeful for and praying for more, of course, and the diocese’s Vocations Office is always at work trying to plant seeds that may grow into vocations in future years. A beautiful video spotlighting our 2021-22 seminarians is one good example of how the diocese is trying to inspire young men to consider answering the Holy Spirit’s call. It is important that all of us pray for vocations and invite particular young men to consider a vocation to the priesthood.

 I thought the last diocesan campaign (around 2009) was used for retired priests and seminarians. Why do we need more money?

Only about $3.7 million, or 17%, of the money raised in that $22 million campaign was for vocations and retired priests. That portion has worked as it was supposed to, helping the Priests’ Aid Society and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Davenport fund those needs until now. (The foundation handles the seminarians’ education costs, operating distinctly from the diocese.) Over that time, the needs have grown dramatically as more priests have retired, health care costs have risen and the cost of educating seminarians has exploded.

 Will we face another diocesan campaign for this purpose in a few years?

There is no plan for another campaign. Our research indicates that with a successful campaign now, these needs for retired priests and seminarians will be satisfied for the foreseeable future.

For a complete list of all Upon This Rock Capital Campaign frequently asked questions, please visit