News & Insights

In tough economic times like these, some communities are looking to their local theological schools as potential sources of income. And it's easy to see why. As tax-exempt organizations, theological schools don't contribute to the local tax base in a way that can be counted easily. Charges begin to fly that a theological school uses services that it doesn't pay for.

How best to answer such bad press?

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, is in the thick of this. The seminary already makes a voluntary payment to the town for the children of on-campus residents who attend public primary and secondary schools. But the local newspaper, the Salem News, has reported that some local residents and officials want the seminary to pay more.

In response, Gordon-Conwell's executive vice president, Robert Landrebe, and its director of communications, Anne Doll, crafted a careful 1,800-word article. I think it's a model of disclosure and Christian charity. In the article, which was published in the Salem News on March 26, Landrebe and Doll express their appreciation for the local community and their commitment to its welfare. They cite an economic impact study that shows how much the seminary benefits the local economy through jobs and spending. And they explain clearly but firmly why they do not want to enter into a contractual arrangement to pay make payments "in lieu of taxes." 

If your theological school is facing community pressure to "pay its own way," you would do well to read Landrebe and Doll's article. 

Read the article in the Salem News here.

Read the response by Robert Landrebe and Anne Doll here.

Top Topics

Roles & Responsibilities



Board Essentials

Upcoming Events

The In Trust Center hosts learning community spaces throughout the year. Check out our upcoming events below.

Closing the Trust Gap


The current and very troubling condition of trust is a clarion call to action. But despite the dismal data showing pervasive organizational distrust, every organization can assess their current level of trust, learn and adopt a proven trust building framework, and then develop a meaningful and long-lasting plan of action. This webinar details the knowledge and practical next steps to strengthen workplace culture as a result of closing the trust gap.

In Trust Center Resource Grants


An In Trust Center Resource Grant offers member schools a chance to explore innovation at their institutions through a matching grant opportunity of up to $15,000. Listen to this 30-minute information session, including Q&A, as we provide details on eligibility requirements, funding priorities, application process. Previous grantees are eligible to apply as long as they are not within our current funding cycle.

Conflict + Crisis: Navigating the Shoals, Part 2 – A Deeper Dive


Presenter Donna Alexander, President & CEO of Advoxum Global Strategies, offers best practices for navigating conflict and crisis. She examines the crucial elements of defining conflict and crisis, identifying, and prioritizing affected stakeholders, utilizing effective communication strategies, and ultimately, executing a plan of action. Click here to view.

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

In Trust Center provides Resource Consulting to our members at no charge. Contact us today and let us guide you to the most helpful resources for your situation.

Contact Us