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Gordon College, printing houses, and more news of charity and philanthropy

A Weekly Review

Editor’s Note:  Most Fridays, MinistryWatch will post a round-up of news about charity and philanthropy. 

Christian College Receives Record Gift.  Gordon College announced on Oct. 4 that it had received a record-setting $75.5 million donation.  The gift is part of a campaign goal of raising $130 million over the next couple years.  Many of the new funds will go to scholarships and other financial aid.  College President D. Michael Lindsay said the gift means that students enrolling in 2020 will immediately receive an additional 15 percent in financial aid.  According to Christianity Today, “Donations this big tend to go to Ivy League schools and state research universities. According to data compiled by the Almanac of Higher Education, only a handful of evangelical colleges—including Regent University, Liberty University, Oral Roberts University, and Westmont College—have ever received gifts over $70 million.”

Having Maximum Impact.  Donations like the one mentioned above, to Gordon College, have the potential to be transformational.  However, the history of philanthropy is littered with stories of large gifts that either did not accomplish the intended goal or – worse – that took a formerly great organization off-purpose.  That’s why an article by Hannah Martin and Ellie Buteau caught my attention.  “How Can Major Individual Givers Best Support Nonprofits” reminds us that 68 percent of the total charitable giving in this country comes from individual donors.  However, a decline in small donors has created a greater dependency on “major donors,” which for purposes of the study they did is a donor who gives more than $7500 to a single organization.  Among the conclusions of the study:  One of the greatest needs of major donors is to educate themselves more about the organizations they give to.  The greatest need for non-profits:  multi-year commitments that allow them to be more effective at making long-term plans.  I recommend the article, and the study the article is based on.

Local Shalom.  When disaster hits a region, the national news will usually report on what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is doing.  We will see press conferences of the governor sending in the National Guard.  But what about the work of local churches and other non-profits?  Not so much.  That’s why an article by David Berlan of Florida State University is so interesting.  He studied Hurricane Michael, which hit his home state of Florida.  He discovered that after FEMA and other government agencies are long gone, local “the burden [falls] on local nonprofits” to finish the recovery efforts.  He adds, “In the largely rural Florida counties where Hurricane Michael hit hard, a few nonprofits are leading the way with rebuilding efforts that bring local religious congregations, businesses, governments and independent organizations together. These new networks are coordinating efforts by national, regional and local organizations that bring their own expertise and resources. The donations, which include cash, services, supplies and volunteer labor, add up to about $145 million.”  It should come as a surprise that many of these organizations are faith-based, and that the media often ignore these efforts.  You can read more about that phenomenon here.

Printing Houses.  One of the more interesting Christian non-profit charities I’ve run across in a while is New Story.  New Story builds homes for the world’s poor, and it does so in a most unusual way:  by using 3-D printing technology.  Since 2015, the organization has “printed” more than 2,000 homes.  You can read more about this innovative ministry, it’s 29-year-old founder, and the challenges it has encountered, by clicking here.

Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine, and Vice President of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 25 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.