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Forging Our Future Campaign

Spire on the Tower at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Through the faith witness of this school, God continues to call us to forge a future where all will know the love of Christ.

Garrett-Evangelical has been at the forefront of Christian theological thought, evangelical outreach, and social action for more than 160 years. Still, our work is only beginning. Through the faith witness of this school, God continues to call us to forge a future where all will know the love of Christ. In order to remain strong, and attract and educate the very best leaders for tomorrow's church, Garrett-Evangelical must increase its endowment.

The seminary depends on endowment income to meet the growing expenses that are not covered by tuition and current operations support. Tuition provides less than one third of the seminary's annual operating budget, and annual gifts provide another third. Endowment income must provide the remainder.

The seminary has entered the Final Lap of an endowment campaign, Forging Our Future. The Phase Two goal of $60 million was met and, in October 2009, trustees voted unanimously to raise the goal to $100 million and extend the duration of the campaign. The phase three goal of $76 million was met and included increasing commitments to unrestricted endowment and endowed leadership scholarships and endowed one faculty chair. The Final Lap goals include endowing four faculty chairs, increasing commitments to the unrestricted endowments and endowed leadership scholarships, and endowing the seminary's distinctive strengths. To read more about these goals see the tabs below. 

Click here to make a gift today or create a pledge using the Gift Intention Form.  If you have questions or would like further information on ways to give contact David Heetland, vice president for development, by email or 847.866.3970.


Building Our Unrestricted Endowment

Goal: $45 million

Nearly 70% of the seminary’s current endowment is restricted for specific purposes, which limits our flexibility to address critical issues and develop new programs.

One of the most critical issues to be addressed through an enhanced unrestricted endowment is renovating seminary facilities with significant deferred maintenance, especially the Sherman Avenue apartments. The earnings from an expanded unrestricted endowment will allow Garrett-Evangelical to renovate this building.

An enhanced unrestricted endowment will also allow Garrett-Evangelical to address emerging needs in a rapidly changing world and to say “yes” to innovative ideas that grow out of its strategic planning process.

An unrestricted endowment is vital to the long-term strength for the seminary. Needs and strategic goals change from time to time. Earnings from an unrestricted endowment allow the seminary to address those needs and goals, and stay on the cutting edge of theological education.


Providing For Our Future Students

Goal: $40 million

While Garrett-Evangelical makes every effort to keep tuition low and financial aid high, most students still find it difficult to make ends meet. The seminary also loses talented students each year who don’t enroll simply because they can’t afford it.

In order to ensure that all students called to ministry have access to a quality seminary education, Garrett-Evangelical must expand its scholarship support. Endowed scholarships are needed at both the master’s and doctoral levels.

The need is especially great for leadership scholarships to encourage the best and the brightest to consider ministry. A $400,000 endowment would provide an annual leadership scholarship of $20,000 in perpetuity – enough to provide full tuition.

Scholarships are also needed at other levels to enable all qualified students to pursue their call to ministry:

  • A $300,000 endowment would provide an annual $15,000 scholarship
  • A $200,000 endowment would provide an annual $10,000 scholarship
  • A $100,000 endowment would provide an annual $5,000 scholarship
  • A $50,000 endowment would provide an annual $2,500 scholarship


Strengthen a World Class Faculty

Goal: $12 million

Our faculty brings the seminary to life through inspired teaching, mentoring, spiritual formation, debate, and ministry to the church at large. Yet, faculty salaries are modest and often significantly less than teaching positions at universities, colleges, and even high schools.

Endowed chairs in key disciplines are a proven way to attract and retain outstanding faculty members and to ensure that key disciplines remain an essential part of the seminary curriculum.

Garrett-Evangelical was fortunate to receive multi-year grants for faculty positions in Methodist Studies and in Global Christianity and World Religions, but these grants will soon end. The seminary hopes to permanently endow these positions so that current and future students will have an opportunity for in-depth study in these areas. Garrett-Evangelical also hopes to endow several other faculty chairs that support our new curriculum.

Opportunities to strengthen Garrett-Evangelical’s world class faculty include:

  • $2 million to endow a full-time faculty position
  • $1 million to endow a part-time visiting faculty position
  • $500,000 to endow a faculty research fund
  • $100,000 to endow a faculty development fund


Enhance Educational Programs

Goal: $3 million

Garrett-Evangelical is seeking to endow its distinctive strengths. One of those strengths is its Styberg Library, which is recognized as one of the outstanding theological libraries in the nation. However, the budget for collection development is significantly underfunded compared to libraries of similar size. Although ninth in the United States in terms of its collection’s size, the library’s budget for purchasing new materials ranks 58th. Strengthening the library’s endowment will enable the collection to thrive and the library to remain a true hallmark of excellence.

Another distinctive program that Garrett-Evangelical hopes to endow is The Church and the Black Experience. Instituted in 1970 as one of the primary emphases of the seminary, its purpose is to ensure the integration of black religious experience into all aspects of seminary life, including student recruitment, faculty development, curriculum planning, and special programs. Areas where alums are seeking assistance from CBE today include church growth, conflict resolution, and community organizing. We are also excited about the prospect of a new Black Sacred Music initiative. In order to address these and other goals, CBE needs to build a permanent programmatic endowment.

A new priority has emerged from the Chicago context in which we live. There is a growing need for theological education in the Hispanic/Latino/a community and the school is committed to building this opportunity into a major strength.

Other distinctive programs the seminary would like to endow in the years ahead include youth ministry and field education

Opportunities to enhance Garrett-Evangelical’s educational programs include:

  • $1 million to build the library endowment
  • $1 million to endow The Church and the Black Experience
  • $1 million to endow other distinctive programs at Garrett-Evangelical

Gift Intention Form

Forging Our Future Gift Intention Form

Download the Gift Intention Form or use our online form.  If you have questions or would like further information on ways to give contact David Heetland, vice president for development, by email or 847.866.3970.