Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS, announced today that Southeastern Seminary exceeded her $50 million comprehensive campaign goal with $50,221,165 in gifts, faith commitments and planned gifts.
“It is difficult to overstate the enormity of this God-given success,” Akin said. “The impact of this campaign will stand not merely for generations but for eternity.”
In a note to the campaign’s supporters, Akin wrote, “The faith and faithfulness of the pioneers who dared to dream of a $50 million goal has been rewarded. The deepest desires of the 3,384 donors who made this victory possible are coming to fruition as our graduates take increasingly bolder risks to pursue the nations for the glory of King Jesus.”
He continued, “We are celebrating this milestone now, but it is just a foretaste of the celebration we will enjoy in eternity when we consider every way our Heavenly Father has multiplied the sacrificial gifts of His people to ransom millions, even billions, through the once-for-all sacrifice of His Son.”
Of the $29 million in dollars received, approximately $7.7 million was added to the endowment. Another $7.2 million went toward the construction of Patterson Hall, dedicated in October of 2008. Gifts to support ongoing operations through the Southeastern Fund totaled approximately $7.5 million, and remaining gifts were designated for building renovations, scholarships, grants, and other special projects.
The campaign spanned 11 years and concluded on Dec. 31, 2013 with 3,384 donors of record. Of the $50.2 million raised, approximately $29 million has been received with an additional $21 million in anticipated support through faith commitments and planned gifts.
Daniel Palmer, director of financial development, said, “A comprehensive campaign counts nearly all charitable giving including support for operations, endowment, grants, buildings and other special projects. The value of a comprehensive campaign is that it is focused on our overall mission. This is a comprehensive campaign with a comprehensive impact.”
A donor’s last gift is often the greatest gift, sometimes many times larger than all the other support given throughout their lifetime.
Southeastern invites individuals and couples who plan to support Southeastern through a Will, Trust or Charitable Gift Annuity to join the Timothy Society and share in an annual celebration banquet with others who have committed themselves to the progress of the gospel through a planned gift. “For most Christians, a charitable bequest through a Last Will and Testament is a profoundly meaningful way to make a lasting gift with an everlasting impact,” noted George Harvey, director of planned giving. “It has been my deepest joy to help people meet their family’s needs and maximize their Kingdom impact.”
“It’s a miracle,” Harvey said. “When you consider that God has provided so bountifully during the worst economy in our seminary’s history, there is no other explanation than that the favor of God is with this seminary. From start to finish, God has led this campaign in such a way that there can be no question that He gets all the glory.”
Today, Southeastern trains nearly 3,100 students, 700 more than when Akin took the helm 10 years ago. Because denominational funding through the Cooperative Program has been flat over that same period, private support has become a critical part of funding the work of training tomorrow’s pastors, teachers, missionaries, counselors, and non-profit leaders engaged in ministries ranging from corporate chaplaincy to pregnancy support.
“Over the last five years, what I have witnessed is this, the real margin of excellence in sending Great Commission people into both the churches in this country and on foreign missions comes through private giving,” said Henry Williamson, SEBTS trustee and campaign chairman.
“The funding trends are clear,” said Art Rainer, vice president for institutional advancement. “Support from ministry partners right here in the Triangle, across North Carolina, and throughout the country is essential. Without partners who pray consistently and give generously, the meteoric rise of Southeastern over the last decade would have simply been impossible.”
Akin has overseen a 69 percent increase in donors, an 83 percent increase in annual receipts to the Southeastern Fund, and a $10 million increase in the market value of the SEBTS endowment including 37 new endowed accounts and the installation of six endowed chairs.
“God has been at work through President Akin’s vision of a seminary radically committed to impacting eternity,” Palmer said. “Making the case for supporting a seminary can be challenging because seminaries too often fail to connect the work of training students to the work of making a Great Commission impact.”
“At Southeastern, we do not have that challenge," Palmer said. "The case for supporting Southeastern is clear and compelling because there is a direct connection between giving and reaching the nations through students who are well-prepared to go the distance for Christ.”
In Southeastern’s recently adopted strategic plan, growth in private support is a leading priority. The strategic plan emphasizes that, “Keeping tuition affordable is a significant part of Southeastern’s missionary strategy. … When students graduate without debt, they are often willing to take bolder risks for the sake of the gospel – leaving the comforts of home and family to plant their lives in new and challenging contexts. Significant growth in private giving is the only viable [budgetary] solution over the long term.”
When he learned of the campaign’s success, Bart Neal, retired vice president of institutional advancement and the campaign’s architect said, “This is just the beginning. This is a reminder that God delights to do great things. What a great day for Southeastern, her donors and the Kingdom of God. I cannot wait to see what happens next.”
To take part in what happens next or to learn more about the campaign, contact Daniel Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.761.2352 or visit www.sebts.edu/give.
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.