CHERRY HILL Camden Catholic High School hoped to raise $50,000 during its first one-day giving event, based on a theme of the school's Irish roots and held on St. Patrick's Day.

The luck of the Irish was with organizers, who reached that goal by early afternoon and went on to raise $63,302 by day's end.

The school turned to alumni and current students and their parents about three weeks before the event. It collected "Irish Giving Day" donations through the annual alumni newsletter and letters to donors, in addition to phone and online donations.

By the time the March 17 event began, an e-mail announcement went out with news that $25,679 had been raised as of 6 a.m.

"We have been anticipating this day for many months," said Mary Whipkey, president of Camden Catholic High School. "And we were confident in the enthusiasm of our community to get behind the idea."

"We had a quiet goal of $50,000 and were thrilled to see that surpassed early in the afternoon," she said.

As part of the campaign, the school profiled 10 students in targeted e-mail requests for donations. The student profiles helped put faces on the need and connected alumni, donors, and parents of former students with today's high school, student activities, academics, and scholarships, which the Camden Catholic Annual Fund helps support.

During the 24-hour period, there were more than 100 first-time donors, 20 donors of at least $1,000, and a total of 420 donors - all contributing to the total.

The board of trustees promised a 100 percent match for the donations from the classes of 2005 to 2014 to encourage young alumni to get involved.

The money raised benefits the annual fund, which helps close the gap between the school's tuition cost and the actual cost to educate each student.

- Edward Colimore