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Heetland Receives the Eliza Garrett Award for Surpassing Capital Campaign Goal

May 18, 2017
David L. Heetland Receiving the Eliza Garrett Award

Rev. Dr. David L. Heetland, Vice President for Development at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, was honored with the Eliza Garrett Distinguished Service Award for the successful completion of the Forging Our Future capital campaign, raising over $100 million for scholarship, faculty, program, and unrestricted support. President Lallene J. Rector presented Heetland with the award at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 11, 2017.

Heetland, currently the seminary’s longest serving employee, came to Garrett-Evangelical in 1983 and has been fundraising ever since. In 2003, as a part of the seminary’s sesquicentennial celebration, the Forging Our Future campaign was publicly launched with a goal of $35 million. Just three years later, the goal was raised to $60 million and upon completion in 2009 the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to raise the goal again to $100 million. With the completion of the Forging Our Future capital campaign, Heetland has overseen the most successful capital campaign in the seminary’s history, raising over $100 million and doing so six months ahead of schedule. Worth noting, the seminary did not rely on a professional firm or consultants for any part of this capital campaign, but trusted Heetland to lead every step of the way.

When presenting the service award to Heetland, President Lallene J. Rector said, "During David’s tenure at Garrett-Evangelical, the seminary has held the distinct honor of being the only seminary in the United States to be recognized as one of the top ten seminaries in fundraising for 31 years in a row. Now, with the completion of this historic campaign, David has secured the future of this institution. For this, and so much more, the seminary will be forever indebted."

While the gifts and expertise Heetland has brought to the seminary over the last 34 years are immeasurable, perhaps his greatest contribution is his commitment to understanding fundraising as a vocation and living out a theology of stewardship. In his book, Fundamentals of Fund Raising (Discipleship Resources, 1989), Heetland writes, “I have come to see fundraising not simply as a satisfying career, but as a vitally important ministry.” Time and again the seminary has seen the results of his ministry through what he calls “happy surprises,” or simply put, that inspired moment when someone says “yes.” Through every phone call, appeal, visit, Small Informational Gathering, Ministry Sunday, and more, Heetland has modeled a theology of stewardship that recognizes “God is the source of all gifts” and Jesus “invites persons to use these gifts in a manner which bene ts all creation and demonstrates a commitment to God.”

An ordained minister in full connection with the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church, Heetland is the author of numerous articles, a sought-out speaker, and a Certifed Financial Planner. He holds a bachelor
of arts degree from the University of South Dakota, MDiv and ThD degrees from The Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and a Diploma in Theology from Cambridge University in Cambridge, England.

The Eliza Garrett Distinguished Service Award is presented in the name and spirit of Eliza Clark Garrett, who was the inspiration and chief benefactor/ founder of Garrett Biblical Institute. Founded in 1853, the school has grown and evolved into Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. The award is given to honor persons who, by their imaginative acts of communal restoration and healing, reflect God’s mission and purposes for our world.