Q. What happens when two graduates of Christian schools fall in love, get married, live very productive lives and then want to give back?
A. They donate to the Christian School Foundation.
Two graduates of Woodland Christian High School in Breslau — high school sweethearts who describe themselves as “blessed with many kids and blessed financially” — have made a commitment to donate a substantial annual sum for enrolment bursaries.
They are making their gift through the Christian School Foundation.
“We feel giving back is important,” explained the husband, father and successful business owner. “We have come to realize that Woodland Christian High School offers a superior choice to anything else and needs to be encouraged and supported.”
The couple, who don’t want their names used, have always ensured their children attended Christian schools, even moving to a new community in order to make sure a Christian high school would be available for their teenagers. Realizing how important Christian education was to them, they decided to make sure other families would be able to experience the same blessing. They created a tuition scholarship for a student graduating from Community Christian School in Drayton and attending Woodland.
Their annual gifts will mean that in four years-time (once this scholarship program has been fully implemented) as many as four families will have access to entrance scholarships and ongoing financial support for the four years of high school, said Paul Branan, Development Director at Woodland Christian High School.
“Families who otherwise may find it a struggle to send their teens to a Christian high school will be blessed,” Branan said. “At a time in their lives when they are making significant life choices, these students will be making those choices in the context of a Christian educational community.”
The couple chose to channel their gifts through the Christian School Foundation because it was a way to ensure that their instructions would be implemented and their gift would have lasting impact, said Henry Koornneef, executive vice-president of the Christian School Foundation.
“We listened, to make sure we are doing exactly what the donors wanted,” said Koornneef, who is a certified financial planner. “They were obviously grateful for their years at Woodland and they felt they should do something about it.”
The couple are humble about the way in which their business endeavours have been successful, and for the ways in which God has blessed them. For them, it’s natural to give.
“We do it because we have been blessed,” he said. “We don’t like to talk about it, we prefer to do it on the down-low. But we do it because we see a need, and it isn’t us — it’s what God has given, what God has entrusted us with.”
Christian education is not the only cause that benefits from the couple’s generosity. They support numerous kingdom causes. “But Christian education is important — I see it so often, that kids can get on the wrong track,” he said. “We would like to further God’s kingdom through these scholarships.”
Koornneef said the couple’s donation can serve as an example to other graduates of Christian schools, who similarly realize that their success in life can be attributed, in part, to a strong educational foundation.
Koornneef would like to see alumni at every one of the Christian School Foundation’s 24 member schools create similar tuition scholarships for their alma maters.
“It’s a way of paying it forward,” Koornneef said. “If Christian school alumni can give even a few dollars each year: that money can be endowed with the Foundation and the gifts can grow. Seeds will be planted for a lasting legacy.”