Started in 2007 as a way to help struggling Catholic Schools, the Catholic Schools Sweepstakes has raised more than $8 Million, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the schools.
For the first three years the program was run as a pilot with participation that was limited to schools in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. After the first year, it was evident that the program was a winner. Only 13 schools participated the first year; soon it was 24 and then 28. In 2011, the program was opened to all Catholic schools in Texas. That year 41 schools chose to participate and in 2012 and 2013, 55 schools took part in the program. Prizes grew from one grand prize to a grand prize and 19 secondary prizes. In 2014, 60 schools took part in the program and prizes increased to 56. In 2015, 61 schools from 10 dioceses participated. Fifty-nine schools have signed up to participate in the 2019 Catholic Schools Sweepstakes program.
Ticket sales begin the fall and the drawing has historically coincided with Catholic Schools Week.