By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
The effort of some Notre Dame alumni to discourage donors from supporting the university because of its commencement invitation to Barack Obama is bearing some fruit. The alumni leading the effort just sent out this release:
DEARBORN, MI (April 27, 2009)—Organizers of ReplaceJenkins.com, an online effort urging alumni and donors to the University of Notre Dame to withhold donations, announced Monday that they have personally confirmed over $8.2 million in withheld donations as a part of their national outreach effort.
The website ReplaceJenkins.com has received over 900 pledges from alumni and donors promising to withhold future donations. Several of the largest gifts include estate bequests to the University that have been removed from donors' wills. ReplaceJenkins.com organizers have personally confirmed a majority of the largest donations, and continue to verify the validity of millions of additional gifts.
ReplaceJenkins.com spokesperson David DiFranco (Class of '95) commented: "We knew many donors and alums were unhappy with the decision to honor a pro-abortion president, but we never expected this large of a response. We can hardly keep up, and this is only the beginning. We can only imagine what fundraisers at the University are experiencing, but understandably not reporting."
"The process of verifying the largest donors has been carefully conducted," DiFranco explained. "We dismissed the obvious bogus submissions, and are not counting a huge number of larger donations that we are still in the process of verifying. We are speaking directly with donors, and in several cases we have spoken with estate attorneys to confirm that Notre Dame has been stripped from a donor's will. We are going about this process with a critical eye in order that the numbers we report are accurate. For that reason, the $8.2 million we are reporting today is actually very conservative."
Alumni and financial supporters of the University of Notre Dame launched the online effort just over one week ago in an effort to withhold donations from Notre Dame, until Rev. John Jenkins, CSC is replaced. The coalition website—www.replacejenkins.com—urges supporters to withhold all contributions to the Notre Dame General Fund until President Jenkins is replaced with someone who is committed to the authentic identity of Notre Dame, grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church.
"As momentum continues to build, we are now certain that the financial penalty resulting from the decision to honor the most pro-abortion president in our nation's history, will be enormous. The fact that this effort is necessary is unfortunate. However, alumni and supporters of Notre Dame have little other recourse than to protest with their pocketbooks. We will continue our efforts as long as it is necessary to bring about positive change at Notre Dame that will honor 'Our Lady's' University," said DiFranco.