Would you turn down a $5,000 donation?

Ask yourself, and your board, this question: Would you turn down $5,000 a year, forever? How about $10,000? How about $100,000 a year?I hate to say this, but many of our area Lutheran schools are doing just that: turning down "free" money. Money that could provide significant support for now and into the future."Dize is crazy," you're probably muttering while you sip your coffee. "We'd never turn down money, at any level." Sure, assuming there's nothing illegal or illicit with the source of this money, we'd all welcome that annual support, and maybe even dedicate the ongoing gifts to support a specific program or new effort at your church or school.However, if your school isn't taking full advantage of the Endowment Match Challenge available through The Lutheran Foundation, then you're doing just that: throwing away support for your future.Since the 2009 school year, The Lutheran Foundation has provided a matching challenge--based on factors such as enrollment size--to endowment funds of schools every year. Since inception, only three schools have met their match every year: Ascension, Bethlehem, and St. Paul's. By meeting the match, they now have thousands of dollars available to them every year--forever. Funds to upgrade technology, funds to support a classroom aide, funds to pay the heat bill.Last school year, seven schools met their match, and five schools partially met their match, but five schools didn't provide one dollar of matching funds. In total, more than $200,000 of free matching money available from The Lutheran Foundation disappeared after June 30. Since the inception of the Endowment Match Challenge, nearly $900,000 has gone unmatched.How did your favorite school do with its matching opportunity? How long will The Lutheran Foundation provide this opportunity? I suggest that you place these and similar questions at the top of your list at the next school board meeting, congregational meeting, PTL meeting--and consider making your own gift to help set the future for your school.