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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Annual Report 2013-2014 was mailed to our friends and alums last week. It makes impressive reading. Giving is a vitally important indicator of an institution's health. People give because they feel connected, want to support the mission of the school, and feel that the school is using their gifts carefully and responsibly. In this report, we have not simply listed the gifts for the year, but we have also recognized milestone giving (those whom over the years have given more than $100,000) and giving by class. It is a reassuring report in so many ways. As many have done so in the past, our present friends and alumni are stepping forward to continue to support the Seminary.

We went for transparency in this report. So you can see the growth of the endowment which shows it increasing from $120 million in 2010 to $161 million in 2014 (p.10). And we have included the Statement of Financial Position (which shows total assets of half a billion p.3). And you might wonder whether this is wise? Why give to an institution which clearly has so many resources already?

The answer is simple: every gift we receive is used for mission now and into the future. VTS isn't going to disappear. There is no risk that your hard earned money will ultimately be disbursed in a bankruptcy court or spent to finance the closure of the M.Div. in severance packages to faculty. Instead everyone who gives can be confident that that gift will go to support the students, staff, and faculty of the Seminary. The gift will make a difference to the future of the Church. These gifts support the training of leadership for a whole variety of ministry settings. And our students are well-trained and impressive. These gifts are making a real difference.

There are two important indicators when it comes to giving for a school. The first is the amount; the Annual Fund goes into the operating budget. The Annual Fund enables us to balance our budget. We need these gifts. The second is the participation: We want to grow those who are giving. Even a small amount makes a difference: Many $25 gifts soon add up - forty people giving $25 each covers the cost of two students receiving spiritual direction. It really helps. 

Thank you Ms. Carol Kyber (editor), Ms. Linda Dienno and Ms. Debbie Townsend for the content. It is a great celebration of a good year.  Now of course we need to do it all over again for this academic year. If you have already given, then thank you; if not, then please consider giving today.

The Very Rev Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President

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