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President's Message on Achievement of Louisville Seminary's Annual Fund

by Michael Jinkins | Jun 10, 2014

Dear Seminary Community:

President Michael JinkinsI am extremely pleased and grateful to announce that Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary exceeded its annual fundraising goal for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The final tally for dollars contributing to the ongoing success of our seminary totals $1,246,116.00.

Exceeding our annual fundraising goals speaks to the ever-increasing engagement and enthusiasm that our alums, faculty, staff, students, churches, friends and the community have for the quality, transformative theological education that Louisville Seminary offers. Our supporters, as do we, feel that the seminary is poised to be THE leader in preparing students for a life dedicated to ministry and service. This enthusiasm was apparent at our recent Baccalaureate service and Commencement exercises, where both venues were filled to capacity. The chair of our Board of Trustees, Dr. Pamela Kidd, noted that it was the most memorable commencement that she has participated in.

It is a great time to be a part of Louisville Seminary. The education provided is second to none. The beauty of our campus and sense of community is legendary. The Annual Fund provides this education, campus and all the conditions needed for a learning and gracious community. Money matters to our seminary’s success and sustainability, and here are two reasons why.

The first reason is the simplest. Money matters because of what the dollars do.

In the movie The Right Stuff, astronaut Gus Grissom made the rather cryptic remark: “No bucks, no Buck Rogers.” He meant that without funding, rockets and astronauts don’t get off the ground. Much the same can be said of theological education. Every aspect of theological education requires dollars, from providing excellent professors to maintaining student housing and from operating an excellent library to keeping the roof on our beautiful chapel.

Our seminary’s operating budget for this past year was $9,197,339. Eighty-five percent of that budget goes to instruction, financial aid, academic support and institutional support. Only 5% goes to facilities, and the other 10% goes to the various auxiliary services that include things like community- and church-related services. Incidentally, the lion’s share of every dollar raised goes to the mission of educating men and women for ministry with 58% of our budget (across categories) dedicated to the salaries related to retaining a world-class faculty as well as great administrators and staff.

In short, healthy revenue empowers us to provide the highest quality education for ministry available.
The second reason is perhaps more important. Responsible intergenerational stewardship ensures that the school we leave for future generations is even more robust than the school we inherited.

Stewardship, as an old friend once said, is always about more than money, but it is never about less than money. Stewardship is also about holding in balance the needs of the moment and the needs of the future. This balance has never been more important than it is today, and it is nothing new.

Ellis Nelson, when he served as president of Louisville Seminary three decades ago, said that the seminary has no right to mortgage its future for the sake of its present. That’s why every decision we make about expenditures and income, and every dollar we raise, is made with the long view in mind. Like any household, a school must evaluate and prioritize various needs, interests and desires. Like any household, a school must allocate limited resources in a manner that gets the most out of every dollar. This is not just a matter of thrift; it is a matter of justice. We hold our seminary in trust. It is our mandate to efficiently and effectively raise and manage our revenue today so that those who come after us will also be able to build on our success.

Yes. This is a message of pride in what we accomplished this year. It is also a reminder of why we put so much time, effort and energy into our fundraising efforts. Most importantly, however, this is a message of thanks, profound gratitude to you. We (and I mean our entire seminary community) cannot stand tall in our achievements without your ongoing personal and, yes, financial support. The roots of ministry are planted here, and the branches grow all over the world. You provide the water and warmth that keep the ground fertile. Our seminary grows because you make it grow and we believe it can grow even more. I am humbled by your tremendous dedication to this very special place.

Thank you for helping us prepare men and women for the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for helping us provide the best theological education possible so that every graduate of Louisville Seminary is equipped to serve and to lead in this very diverse and often divided world.

Thank you for helping us ensure that Louisville Seminary will be able to provide to future generations the same great quality of education we provide to today’s students.

You are true believers in our mission and in life dedicated to serve in God’s name.

Michael Jinkins

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