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Posts Tagged ‘endowment’

Story by Mimi Bennett

Who would imagine that Deuteronomy 29:29 (The secret things belong to the Lord but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever…) could have been written as the vision statement of the FBC Scholarship Fund Team? Do you know who they are? Or what they do? It is an amazing and gratifying story.

calloutThe FBC Scholarship Fund has been in existence since the 1930s but the details of its inception have been lost to history. Yet, since that time, college bound FBC students have been awarded scholarships year in and year out. All the funds have come from FBC members, some unrestricted and some with specific stipulations. Carl Johnson, President of the Endowment Fund, which manages the investment of the scholarship funds, reports that they currently stand at about two million dollars. This comprises approximately 10% of the church’s total endowment. Each year an amount equivalent to 5% of the Scholarship Fund is awarded to students. In 2017, this will be a little more than $100,000.

FBC's Best Kept Secret

Chaired by Jim Markham, the dedicated members of this standing committee are Sue Atkins, Susan Hughes, Bart Dalton, Jim Norvelle, Martha Selden, and Richard Szucs. They have worked together for many years and annually review all applications submitted and determine the amount of each award.  Amounts vary according to a point system and are confidential, but virtually everyone receives something. As the team works through their process, they consider such things as active FBC involvement, church membership, GPA, family income, how many other college students may be in a family, and the applicant’s year in college. Extra points are awarded if the student will be a college freshman and bonus points are awarded to those who are in seminary. Students must submit an application annually to be considered for continuing funds.

The work of this ministry begins in mid-December when high school seniors are sent a letter inviting them to apply for a scholarship. In January, an informational meeting for students and their families is held to clarify the process and answer any questions. Information and deadlines are available on the FBC website under the Communities tab and are published in the Sunday bulletin and First Family News. Applications are submitted online and the deadline must be adhered to strictly. No application will be looked at that is submitted after the published deadline. This year that date is May 1.

The work of the FBC Scholarship Fund Team begins in earnest once the deadline passes. Through the spring, all the information is prayerfully and carefully reviewed and decisions reached by unanimous consent. Hope Cumbia is the lynchpin here. She assembles all the applications and organizes them for team members to use as they determine each scholarship. Once students are notified about their awards, Hope coordinates sending the checks directly to the individual colleges and schools. In the past 18 years, $1,400,000 has been awarded to 840 FBC students. This is a remarkable achievement.

FBC’s steadfast commitment to provide financial assistance toward the education of its students is not truly a secret. The Scholarship Fund Team, however, operates below the radar for many. Now that this ministry has been revealed to us all, it belongs to us all and to our children forever. The opportunity to contribute to the future is compelling.

Editor’s note: For more information contact Jim Markham (804-261-5527) or any other team member.

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