Dear Seminary Community,
Last week we closed the 2012-2013 Annual Fund drive with a bang, achieving the 16% increase which was our goal. The final tally on dollars contributed was $1,086,877.17.
Breaking the one million dollar mark was akin to breaking the sound barrier. Virtually no one believed that this was possible at this point. As you may know, when we formulated the strategic plan just two years ago we projected a goal of $1 million by 2016. Since then we have reformulated Annual Fund goals at a much more aggressive level, and we have already observed what a positive difference this can make to our mission.
Achieving the $1 million goal means that there are other impossible things we can achieve.
This achievement rests on many factors, but among the most important factors are the leadership of the Board of Trustees, the continuing support of our entire Seminary community, our faculty, administration, staff, students, alums, President’s Round Table and other generous stakeholders, and the work of our Institutional Advancement Office led by Linda Medley.
The support of the Board was both essential and absolutely over the top! While giving throughout our constituency increased by some 16%, giving among our already generous trustees increased by 69%. The Board of Trustees demonstrated amazing leadership with trustee-to-trustee challenges and challenges issued by trustees for all stakeholders. I know of no seminary board that has demonstrated deeper across-the-board support for a school. We as a seminary community are very grateful to our Board of Trustees for their generosity and leadership. This is the kind of leadership on which we can build our school's future.
Throughout our Seminary community we have seen increases in giving. We have seen increases among long-time supporters of the Seminary, throughout the larger community, and across the country. We have also witnessed the support of new friends of the Seminary, people who have decided to invest in the future of our Seminary because of the difference they believe it can make in our world. Pastors and church members have told us how much they appreciate our commitment to erase seminary indebtedness. Congregational leaders have told us how excited they are about the potential for our Black Church Studies program and D2D. Without their support – without your support – this vision will never become a reality.
The work of the Institutional Advancement Office was simply phenomenal. Linda Medley’s first week on the job was at the end of November. She began putting her team into place (in our core fund development staff only Judy Johnston remained), and mobilizing this team to achieve the goal right away. But, effectively, the team as a whole was working on a half-year calendar. Imagine what they can do with a whole year! The Institutional Advancement Office deserves our gratitude for a job well done. And I have every confidence that after they fill one more position (they currently have an open position in Seminary Relations), they will be able to accomplish much more. As I said to them last week, "just because something is impossible, doesn't mean it isn't do-able."
Thank you again for the confidence you place in Louisville Seminary. Together we have achieved an enormous goal. But we are just getting started.
We have a comprehensive campaign ahead of us that will effectively change the way theological education is done. We must continue to undergird our Seminary's core mission with a solid Annual Fund effort every year. We need to ensure the long-term future of our school with greater emphasis on planned and estate giving through membership in our Caldwell Society. And we need to search out and find the next generation of promising ministers for the future of our church and educate them for ministry in an increasingly diverse and fast-changing society.
I have every confidence that with your dedication we will accomplish much more than we can even dream today.