Year in Review for 2022

Written by Brandon Allen 

Executive Director | Fortify Foundation 

As we wrap up with our final newsletter for the year, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on all that God has done in and through our ministry. 

It was back in 2019 that the vision for our organization had finally come to fruition and Fortify Foundation was officially established as a 501(c)(3). As we all can relate, little did we know what 2020 would bring. Looking back, almost every Christian school has been able to see the hand of God working in and through those difficult circumstances. I doubt there is a single person that could have predicted how God would have used that year to impact Christian education. It has potentially caused the single most uptick in Christian schools that this country has ever seen. God has granted us another great opportunity to share the gospel and impact the next generation for Christ. 

If our foundation could have chosen a different time to get started, it would have most certainly been back in the 70’s during the boom of Christian education. Oh, what it would have done for the schools we have today. As God would have it, He used 2020 to be a good springboard for our organization to help school administrators understand the need for rethinking how we ought to handle and plan our finances. In a single year, God has moved us forward across 8 state lines with 2 more soon to follow, and quadrupled our partner rate over the previous year. It has been such a privilege being able to converse with school administrators and board members all across the country. It doesn’t matter the history, or the size of the school, we all have one thing in common. We all are looking for continual and creative ways to raise the necessary funds to move our respective schools forward. 

Some schools are blessed to have advancement/development teams to help them ramp up their fundraising opportunities. Other schools may not have a full team but have a willing volunteer which helps manage this aspect of their school. Without a doubt, every school staff member has multiple hats they typically have to wear to make the most of what God has granted them. 

Regardless of whatever situation God has placed you in, there are still seasons of ups and downs. The donors of the past may be just that, in the past. Some of the biggest supporters you might have had have now moved on in some way, shape, or form. Each of us are constantly looking for new individuals whom God would use to help support our schools. Fortify Foundation has been blessed with many new donors this year. We are continually raising towards our own internal endowment to maximize the benefit to our partnered schools. 

God has granted both large gift donors as well as donors that were willing to give recurring donations moving forward. As you know, both are greatly appreciated and greatly needed. Our in-house aim is to be 100% sustained off of our endowment so we can immediately lower our fees to our partnered schools so they can continue to experience a nonprofit that truly has their best interest at heart. 

I’m confident that anyone who spoke to one of our partnered schools would hear how they have experienced the benefits of our foundation and how it has worked for them. Every school has received between 50-100% in matching gifts just at the inception of their fund. This has created an immediate jumpstart on their endowment fund and allowed them to fully gain back from any potential loss before those initial monies would be compromised. 

Beyond the initial match, our partnered schools have also experienced additional matching opportunities for any donations received to their fund. Some schools have already been able to take advantage of company matches provided through similar programs. This is typically only provided to those with a separate independent 501(c)(3) status. Even if your organization has not been able to take advantage of that up until now, this is a great way to receive those additional benefits just by having a fund set up with our foundation. In other words, if a school has a donor that has contributed to their fund in 2022, they could have potentially received dual matches through both their company and one of our foundation’s current donors. This is truly maximizing the benefit and gaining some excellent traction for the future of your school. 

Our foundation has also accessed as many opportunities as possible in order for your donors to give to your fund. The wonderful thing about endowments is that they are great magnets for alternate gifts. Our foundation has already attracted both immediate and deferred planned gifts. Even though your donors may be short on cash in the immediate, they may still have the desire to give to your school through other assets that God has blessed them with. You may have already experienced those with a tremendous heart for giving, but perhaps you haven’t always been able to open the door for their alternate gifts. We tend to think from our own perspective but we fail to meet the donor where they are potentially at. Knowing that cryptocurrency has been something that many individuals have gotten involved with, we have also made sure that the process of giving from their crypto portfolio is as seamless as possible. The key is to continue to think outside the box and ensure your organization is ready to receive whatever, whenever, and however that donation may come. 

It has been our pleasure to be able to help our partnered schools with the development of marketing strategies and the recent implementation of a true donor cultivation plan. This is truly the key that unlocks the door to future major gifts. It is one thing to receive a one-time donation which we all can be thankful for. However, most one-time gifts are not necessarily the capacity that they could otherwise be if we implemented a proper plan. This is another thing that our foundation has learned and built upon. 

I am sure by now we all know the value of progress. I’ll never forget one of the best examples I received in this area….What is the difference between a 25- year veteran teacher and a 1-year teacher who has taught for 25 years? Education! We all need to strive to continually improve and master the craft that God has called us to. 

As a Foundation, we want to do everything we can to see the future of Christian education sustained for as long as the Lord tarries. No doubt it will be harder and harder to find donors who are willing to sacrifice for your school in the future. We know that the only way is to think smarter and not harder. Fortify Foundation is just another piece to your puzzle in helping develop that long-range plan alongside your short-term needs.