Is it possible for St. Agnes School in Osakis to conduct successful fundraising campaign in the middle of a pandemic, when many Catholic churches are closed and door-to-door fundraising methods aren't available?

The answer is "Yes!" Students, faculty and families were able to raise $20,615 through the Catholic Schools Raffle program between Jan. 15 through Feb. 28, which surpasses St. Agnes School's goal of $20,000. Along with 81 other schools, St. Agnes raised a combined total of $1.49 million -- a new record for the program.

Since January 15, students of St. Agnes have been selling $5 raffle tickets as part of the Catholic Schools Raffle, a fundraising program provided free of charge by sponsor Catholic United Financial since 2009. St. Agnes is one of 82 schools in Minnesota and the Dakotas that were involved in 2021.

"As we continue with hardships due to this pandemic, it feels so good to chalk something like this into the win column," said Michael Ahles, president of Catholic United Financial. "It has been our privilege to offer this program to local Catholic schools for the last 12 years. We knew through experience how creative and enterprising the families and staff at these schools are. They have taken things to a new level in 2021, despite the challenges the lockdowns threw at them. We're amazed and encouraged at this show of support for Catholic education. Congratulations to everyone involved."

The 2021 Raffle officially concluded on March 11 with a prize drawing ceremony broadcast live on the Catholic United Financial website. The prizes, valued at over $40,000, included a new 2021 Ford Ecosport SUV, vacations, a $5,000 home improvement package, gift cards, 65-inch smart TVs and more.

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Funds raised by participating schools, like St. Agnes, are used to enhance school programs and facilities, including funding field trips, building playgrounds, supplementing tuition costs and providing new education technology.

Video, photos and a list of prize winners and results are available at: www.catholicunitedfinancial.org/raffle