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Providence Aims to Raise $85,000 by Grad

Providence College and Seminary has rolled out an aggressive fundraising challenge to its supporters: to raise $85,000 by April 25, the day of the school’s college graduation ceremonies.

The school in Otterburne, MB, which offers graduate and post-graduate university-level education from an evangelical Christian standpoint, is celebrating its 85th year of operation.

In spite of a poor economy, Providence continues to be optimistic about the stability of its operating structure. As the oldest Christian college in Manitoba and having weathered many economic storms, financial strain is nothing new to Providence.

“Some Christian schools, including Providence College, experienced modest to good new student enrolments in fall 2009, which is a positive indication.” said Dr. Gus Konkel, president of Providence. “So enrolment drops always require budget cuts. The biggest single source of income for private schools is tuition. At major Universities, programs must be maintained with lower budgets, the same is true of smaller schools.

“Over the last few years, we have all been unavoidably reminded of the financial situation in Canada and the U.S.A.,” said Margaret Schonewille, the new director of development at Providence. “Unfortunately, the truth is that this shortfall did not only affect the car manufacturers and the big corporations; it affected everyone, even Providence College and Seminary.”

“Providence is a Christian academic community in the evangelical tradition that teaches people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service,” said Schonewille. “It is a privilege for us as a school that God has entrusted us with the lives of so many people over the past 85 years.”

Providence graduates work and serve in Manitoba in a variety of ways, but because of the emphasis the school puts on helping others, it is a fact that many graduates do not end up in a position to help the school financially.

“Manitoba has around 200 pastors that are Providence alumni,” says Sue Screpnek, alumni coordinator. “Youth for Christ in Manitoba has over 20 staff members who are from Providence. Graduates are attracted to be trained for the social service industries like social work, teaching, and counseling—our alumni are working hard in Manitoba to change our communities to be better places.”

“So our alumni aren’t always in a position to give because of the social services positions they take.”

Providence alumni and their financial contributions make up part of the school’s operating budget. As a private Christian college and seminary, operating costs are not entirely covered by student tuition or public funding; the school is heavily dependent on donations from its supporters and the $85,000 challenge has been issued to raise awareness of the current need.

“The fundraising goal of $85,000 is a huge challenge. The time to increase our financial stability is now,” says Schonewille. “We want people to remember how their life was impacted by Christian higher education, and then celebrate those memories by helping to pass along that experience to someone else.”

“So we have created a Celebration Goal this year to raise $85,000 by graduation, April 25. As a school, we realize that, alone, our goal is impossible, but as we celebrate what God has done, and are looking with great anticipation to the Lord’s leading in the lives of our students, their families, our faculty, our staff and you, our donors, it becomes very possible.”

When asked what she would say to Providence supporters Schonewille said “We simply could not do what we do here at Providence without you. Please donate to Providence now, when the school is managing the effects of the economic downturn. The need is real; your donation will count toward helping us continue in our mission, and toward remembering 2010 as a memorable year: a point of financial stability in unfriendly economic seas.”

For more information on the $85,000 Challenge, please contact Margaret Schonewille, at 1-800-668-7768 or (204) 433-7488 ext 236 or today.

10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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