The Foundation for Christian Education

Written by Brandon Allen 

Executive Director | Fortify Foundation 

What comes to mind when you think of a foundation? This may vary depending on what part of a foundation you are connected to. Foundations are often community-based with the goal of connecting philanthropists with other nonprofit organizations that are attempting to make their community a better place. If your school has ever received a grant, you know what a blessing it can be. There are often philanthropists that may not have a direct connection to your school, but they appreciate your mission and are willing to support it! I wish I could share all the stories from schools receiving a brand new fleet of buses to receiving tens of thousands of dollars, all to help support their mission of training children to have a Biblical worldview. 

This is what Fortify Foundation wants to help out with on a national scale. We want to connect our partnered schools with donors that may not be directly aware of your school and help you get the resources you need. However, this is just a small sliver of what our Foundation was created for. 

I talked with an administrator who was making a recent inquiry. After our conversation, the summary was that we were a hybrid foundation, financial institution, marketer, and fundraiser all wrapped up into one. If you’ve been receiving our monthly newsletter throughout the year, perhaps you’ve noticed our goal through this piece is to help out all Christian schools by providing continued education in each of these areas. We know we aren’t the typical foundation but we also want to address the core of what we do and how we can help every Christian school pave the way for future success. 

What is Fortify Foundation doing for Christian Education? 

It is our mission to ensure that Christian education is sustained for generations to come. God has granted an awesome heritage for many of our Christian schools. Whether it’s 10, 20, 30, or even 50 years since the inception of your school, should our Lord and Savior continue to tarry, our foundation wants to see those numbers continue to grow for decades to come. We all know the importance that our schools have in impacting the future of our country. We also know that relying on political influences and certain donations is not going to be the best nor most reliable strategy when it comes to the continuation of your school. Our foundation wants to help you be a little more strategic by coming alongside your school and developing a long range plan that will ensure a stronger future. 

How will this happen? 

Endowments may or may not be a new concept to you. In either case, I can guarantee you that each and every person reading this excerpt wishes they had one setup at the inception of their school because of what it could be doing for them today. Of course, the longer your school has been in existence, the greater the potential it has to be contributing back to your school’s budget. By way of example, there are currently schools that have over a third of their budget completely taken care of through their endowment each and every year. On top of that, their endowment is invested in an account that ensures it keeps up with inflation and maximizes the potential for future growth versus that money sitting in a bank account that is worth less today than it was even a year ago. 

Imagine if you had a fund that was contributing to your budget like that. What would you do with greater flexibility in your budget? Would that be the difference in higher wages for your teachers? How about maintaining the costs of that new and necessary expansion to your facility? How about providing further students scholarships? Or perhaps considering the option of decreasing tuition from year to year? Of course, it may just be that this fund is what keeps you going through the leaner times that your ministry may go through in the future. I’ve had many conversations with administrators about the 2020 PPP loans and the more recent ERC. I know many boards have struggled with whether or not they should take advantage of these options and also wondering what strings might be attached in both the short and long terms. 

If an endowment had been setup years ago, would this be the difference your school needed to keep you clear of these conversations and decisions? 

I recently read about a k-12 school that gave away $500,000 dollars to a community project through its endowment. Yes you read that right. Half a million dollars used from their endowment that was more than what they needed for their school. You may not ever quite be in that position but this hopefully helps you understand the power of what an endowment can provide for the future of your school. 

What does the Bible say? 

Back in 1973, a man by the name of Howard Dayton read through the Bible with the sole intent of finding and categorizing any and all Scriptures that pertained to money. By the end, he had built an index with 2,350 verses that talk about finance and how a Christian should make use of it. By contrast, an estimated 693 verses deal with the subject of prayer. Would you have ever imagined that the Bible deals with finances over 3 times more than it does with the subject of one of the most powerful tools the Christian has? While I will most certainly not be able to go through Dayton’s index in this article, I do want to draw your attention to a few examples I think we all should consider. 

A few months ago, I wrote a fairly detailed article on the example that Genesis provides through the story of Joseph. You probably never considered it this way before, but Joseph in essence built an endowment to sustain all of Egypt and the surrounding areas including his own family (Genesis 41-47). Remember, this was setting aside today that which would be used to get them through in the future. 

Even in today’s culture, we often hear the terms sustainable/ renewable especially when it comes to things like energy. While I am a big proponent of taking care of what God has entrusted to us, one thing we all must realize is that God has given us the exact resources we need to sustain every person on this planet. Vegetables from the ground, fruit from the trees, and even animals were all used to give us the nutrition that we need. There is truly never a time where the population will ever surpass the resources that God has granted us (Genesis 1:27-30; Matthew 6:25-26). God has endowed the earth to sustain the future. 

What about the part that David played in building the temple? Remember that it was his desire to build a house for the ark and ultimately for God to dwell in (2 Samuel 7). God passed that responsibility on to his son Solomon but allowed David to set aside the necessary resources to sustain that future project (aka an endowment). This would be a project like no other due to the foresight and proper planning that God allowed David to have a part in. Even the queen of Sheba would take note of its magnificence and recognize their God behind it (1 Kings 10:4; 2 Chronicles 9:3). 

Sure, you may not ever be in a situation where administrators will travel from all over to come see your spectacular facilities, but, you will provide an asset that will continually grow and contribute back to your school. 

One final thing I want us to consider comes from the parable that Jesus portrays in Luke 12. In this passage we are granted a warning of stockpiling money so to speak. An endowment accomplishes the exact opposite. This is not for the purpose of building a greater storehouse, but rather creating a steady source of future income to future generations of students and staff alike. I know for many of us, the aim is not an issue of covetousness in any way, shape, or form but we know that often through an inheritance situation things can change quickly. Dollar signs start forming in our eyes and all we can think about is what we can do with that lump sum that is about to come our way. An endowment is setup as an infinite resource that always lives off of the spendable balance created from the principle plus returns created as a result. Again, giving the future of Christian education the best fighting chance that we can possibly give. 

What can you do? 

As a foundation, we know that the concept of an endowment is fairly new to the average Christian school. This is why we want to reach and educate as many schools through this newsletter, podcasts, and future venues. As we are reminded in Ecclesiastes 4:12, we can do greater things together and our foundation is here to help make that happen. If your school has not considered an endowment before, we’d like to invite you to setup a brief meeting where we can talk further about how our foundation can help further sustain the future of your school. Should your school partner with Fortify Foundation, it is our aim to help you build your school’s endowment as quick as possible! Through the development of a personally customized marketing strategy and continued support, we hope to see your school experience the benefits of what this continued asset can do for you. 

I want to leave you with one final thought. . . Is your school worth investing in? 

When it comes to the future of Christian education, we sure think so!