In “Five Practices for Stewarding Seminaries Well,” (Spring 2023), Steven G.W. Moore emphasizes that the fundamental principle of high functioning boards is “stewardship of mission.” I particularly appreciated Moore’s focus on friend-raising and fundraising for the institution. Those who serve on the board of a seminary have a responsibility to introduce people to the school and help them to find a way to connect with the mission and ministry. I affirmed Moore’s suggestion of reading The Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen. Upon the arrival of a new vice president of institutional advancement to our school, each member of the board was given this book; we engaged in a conversation about its themes and the need to develop an identity as a fundraiser as an extension of our commitment to the mission of the school. I would encourage those who have not read it to do so, and if you have read it, read it again. If board members are not friend-raisers and fundraisers for the mission of our institutions, we miss the opportunities to further shepherd the good work of our schools and maximize the potential impact of the schools we serve.
Rev. Dr. Michael Ford
Board Chair, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
The article “Thou shalt Raise Money Well” (Spring 2023) reminded me of why I fell in love with fundraising and why I consider it a ministry. As Dr. M. Thomas Ridington stated, fundraising is about genuine relationships, with donors and our institutions. Our priority is to accompany people on their spiritual journeys. By doing so, the financial support will come naturally. Dr. Ridington states the great temptation of fundraising, which is believing we are in control. Our true joy as fundraisers is knowing that God is using us to do His work with others, a privilege we shouldn’t take for granted. I am humbled by the deep and meaningful interactions with donors. Many share things that they don’t feel comfortable sharing with their own families. In return I have received even more than I could give to donors; their faithfulness and generosity has helped me in my faith journey. God is good!
Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Oblate School of Theology
In his article, ““Five Practices for Stewarding Seminaries Well,” Dr. Steven Moore identifies aspects of board governance that are foundational to effective oversight of schools. Any parsing of the complex role of board governance will align with Dr. Moore’s five practices, especially those focused on mission and leadership. The emphasis at an embedded school may be shared with the enveloping institution, but an embedded board has the same responsibility for the mission, especially through resource allocation and care of faculty and staff. A visible, sustaining investment is evidence that a board member views the role as more than an honor. These behaviors can be aggregated as “advocacy,” whereby the investment by some board members (e.g., clergy) through perspective and connections is a contribution that is co-equal with monetary gifts.
Dennis Smid, Ph.D.
Retired Chair, Board of Regents, Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary
In Trust magazine welcomes your letters! Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.