Saint John Paul II Elementary raffle raises $22,290, helps exceed regional million-dollar fundraiser goal

Funds to help boost school facilities and programs

John Paul II.jpg
John Paul II Elementary School.
Matt Gade/Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — St. John Paul II Elementary School recently wrapped up their annual raffle ticket fundraiser campaign, and once again it exceeded its goals while helping a regional fundraising effort top $1,000,000 for the 10th year straight.

Students and staff at Saint John Paul II School put in the extra effort this year by raising $22,290 through the Catholic United Financial Raffle and helped achieve the program’s tenth year in a row of raising more than $1 million for Catholic schools in the upper midwest.

“Our goal was $15,000. We get our goal by taking the number of students who will be selling tickets and multiply that by 20, because we’d like them each to sell 20 tickets on average,” Robin Cahoy, principal for St. John Paul II Elementary School, told the Mitchell Republic. “And they went way over that.”

Since Jan. 13, students of St. John Paul II sold $5 raffle tickets as part of the Catholic United Financial Raffle, a fundraising program provided free of charge by sponsor Catholic United Financial since 2009. St. John Paul II is one of 85 schools in Minnesota and South Dakota that participated in 2023 and raised a combined total of $1,389,332 for Catholic Education. The school exceeded its fundraising goal of $15,000.

“To achieve this level of success for 10 straight years is a testimony to the dedication of Catholic school families and staff, and the communities that surround them,” said Michael Ahles, president and CEO of program sponsor Catholic United Financial. “We’re honored that we could unite our 75,000-plus members of Catholic United with the students and staff of St. John Paul II and the community of Mitchell. Congratulations on an amazing program.”


The six-week selling period concluded on Feb. 26. As the tickets were sold and money came in, families and staff counted their results, knowing that they would keep every dollar their school raised. Catholic United Financial provided all promotional materials, raffle tickets and prizes for the program at no cost to each school.

“Most of (the raffle tickets) are sold to grandmas and grandpas and uncles and moms and dads and family friends,” Cahoy told the Mitchell Republic. “And we have little incentives along the way.”

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The amount raised this year also topped the fundraising total for last year, which came in at about $21,000, Cahoy said.

On March 9 the raffle officially wrapped up with a prize drawing ceremony broadcast live on the Catholic United Financial website. The prizes, valued at over $45,000, included a new 2023 Chevy Trax SUV, a dream vacation, grills, a Soft Tub© Spa, electronics, gift cards and more.

Catholic United also rewarded the hard work of the top selling student, Madison Henke at Saint John Paul II School, with a Singing Machine© Karaoke system and the chance to win a scholarship worth up to $500.

Funds raised by participating schools, like Saint John Paul II School 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 prizewinners and results are available at:

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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