Donate to LESF by Dr. John Chou
Greeting in the Lord.
A financially sound seminary should receive its income from three sources: tuition, annual donation, and its foundation, preferably equally from each source. Contribution from its foundation allows the seminary to provide lower tuition for students and reduce stress from the seminary’s annual fundraising. Logos Evangelical Foundation (LESF) supports Logos Evangelical Seminary (LES). This “third leg” was intended to provide long-term financial stability for LES and its expansion.
A foundation usually contributes 4-5% of its net worth to its supported seminary. Therefore, to provide a healthy support for LES’s current annual budget of $4.2 million, LESF needs to be able to contribute $1.400,000 annually. To do so, LESF should have at least a net worth of $28 million. Unfortunately, LESF currently only has approximately $9 million in assets. This is in contrast to Harvard Foundation and Fuller Foundation, which have assets of approximately $35 billion and $220 million, respectively. Our foundation is therefore in poor health. The seminary growth has outpaced its foundation. This places a lot of burden on the seminary’s annual fundraising. To ameliorate this issue, our LES president has challenged LESF to increase its assets to at least $15 million by 2019. LESF board has set our 2017 goal at $11 million or to raise at least $2 million this year. It has been difficult for LESF to raise funds, but LESF board members have agreed to fast and pray with LES once a week for this goal and trust in the Lord for His blessings.
LESF has always strived to increase its returns and minimize costs through sound investments. For example, we invested in a property, rented to a Burger King restaurant, which has yielded 10+% annual return during the past eight years. Recently, we acquired another property and are renting it to Christian Brothers Automotive Company, which has yielded 6.4% annually while promoting Christian faith and values. Both investments have rent increase clauses. We have also utilized organizations such as Commonfund to provide good returns on our diversified investments while minimizing our costs.
Recently, as I approach my sixth decade, I have been thinking about our legacy to our children. I was again reminded of how we enter the world empty-handed and will also exit the world empty-handed but can send our financial blessings forward by investing in God’s kingdom and ministry. As stewards or trustees of God’s blessings, we will all be accountable to Him when we meet Him (see the Parables of the Talents in Matthew 25 and Luke 19). It is a blessing to leave an inheritance to our next generation, but like Warren Buffet said, “Parents should leave children enough money so that they would feel that they could do anything but not so much that they could do nothing.” Jim Elliott also said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” As a result, my wife and I have established a Family Mission Fund in LESF, hoping our children will follow our example and continue to invest in His kingdom. It’s like establishing an altar to the Lord for His blessings.
Therefore, I would encourage all donors to consider investing in His kingdom and establishing a legacy by making a major donation to LESF, so that we can continue to support His ministry locally and globally through LES.
John S. Chou, Chairperson, LESF