Western Theological Seminary

Ways to give

The Seminary Fund

The backbone of support for Western Theological Seminary is the Seminary Fund.  Your gift to the Seminary Fund makes a direct impact on our students by helping us meet our operating needs without passing those costs along to students in the form of tuition.  Through your generosity, students will be able to enter ministry prepared to be pastors, teachers and counselors without carrying an overwhelming burden of student loan debt. 

Did you know?

  • It costs over $30,000 per year to educate each M.Div. student at Western
  • M.Div. tuition is $13,120 annually 
  • The difference between our actual cost and tuition comes from donations from people like you and earnings on our endowment (also created by gifts)

You can make a difference!

Make a recurring gift through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Electronic banking makes donations convenient and cost effective. 

How do I get started?

  • Simply select the amount of your monthly contribution (minimum of $10)
  • Print the authorization EFT form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
  • Mail the completed form to:

Western Theological Seminary
Advancement Office
101 E. 13th St.
Holland, MI 49423

Then what?

  • We will notify you when the first transaction will occur. Transactions take place on the 15th of each month until your pledge is paid or until you make a written request to stop.
  • We will send a receipt and letter of thanks for your total contribution at the end of each calendar year.

Questions about EFT? Contact LuAnne VanSlooten at advancement@westernsem.edu or (800) 392-8554, x109.

Give Stock, Securities, or Real Estate

If you give securities which have appreciated significantly in value, it is possible to gain a substantial tax advantage by not having to pay capital gains tax.

Stocks/Securities

Please contact our Advancement Office at 616.392.8555 for routing instructions

Securities are credited at the mean value between the high and low trades on the date they were hand delivered, mailed (postmark date), or placed in Western's name.

Real Estate

If you own a home or other property you no longer need and you would like to make a charitable gift, giving real property may be an efficient way to meet both goals.

1. Property that has grown in value:

If you sell real estate that has increased in value, you will likely be faced with a significant capital gains tax. By gifting the property to Western Seminary, you will receive a charitable income tax deduction for the full value of the property and will avoid capital gains taxes. This essentially produces a double tax savings.

2. Property that has decreased in value:

In this situation, it is generally better to sell the property outright and give the cash proceeds. By giving the property, you may only receive a tax deduction for the fair market value. In selling it, you may be able to establish a capital loss that can then be deducted from your taxes, as well as receiving a charitable deduction for the amount of the cash gift.

3. Giving property, but retaining the use of it:

It is possible to make a gift of a home or vacation property and continue to enjoy it for as long as you wish. A tax deduction is allowed for the eventual gift in the year the gift is arranged.

Charitable gifts of real estate can provide substantial benefits to you and Western Theological Seminary, but they generally involve more tax and other legal complexities than other types of donations. Please contact us at advancement@westernsem.edu or (800) 392-8554, or contact your legal advisor to learn more about giving real property.

Does your company match gifts?

More than 1,000 companies help to increase the gifts of their employees (and sometimes retirees) by matching their gifts. For every dollar you give to Western Theological Seminary, your employer may match it.

What do I need to do?
Simply fill out a matching gift form from your employer and send it with your gift to Western Theological Seminary. We will complete the form and process it through your employer. They will in turn send a donation to Western if the gift matches their qualifications.

Does my company participate?
To learn if you work for a matching gift company, contact your employer's human resource office.

Special opportunities for giving

You may designate your gift to the Seminary Fund (annual operating costs), a specific endowment fund, or a special project.

The President's Club

The President's Club members are alumni/ae and friends of Western Seminary who have a vision for its future. They fervently believe in the seminary's mission to prepare leaders for the church of Jesus Christ.

Gifts of President's Club members are for the general support of the seminary, as well as special projects, and thus have an immediate impact on the life of students and faculty.

Purpose of Membership

  • Encourage ongoing support of Western Seminary by its loyal alumni/ae and friends.
  • Provide the continuity and framework within which tangible and lasting gifts and bequests may be made.
  • Assure proper and deserved recognition to those whose membership will add much to insuring a bright future for Western Seminary.
  • Establish a means of communication and free exchange between its members and the seminary's president, faculty and staff.

Membership Privileges

Members will meet at least once each year on campus. They will hear a report from the seminary's president on the current state of Western. Members may contact the president or various members of the faculty and staff regarding their insights concerning the future of the seminary. A special section in the seminary's Annual Report will be set aside to honor members of The President's Club.

Conditions of Membership

Membership in The President's Club is by invitation. Prospective members who make a commitment to do one of the following are eligible:

  • Contribute at least $1,000 per year to any fund.
  • Contribute an outright gift of $25,000 to any fund, which may be payable over five years ($5,000/year).
The Dennis and Betty Voskuil Chair in Old Testament

The Dennis and Betty Voskuil Chair in Old Testament

In August 1994, Dennis Voskuil answered God’s call to become the 10th president of Western Theological Seminary.  In June 2008, Dennis stepped down from the presidency after 14 years of unprecedented growth and change.  New programs were launched, existing ones redesigned, new facilities built, new community ministries initiated, and the student body tripled.

Betty Voskuil has had a lifelong passion for meeting the needs of hungry people and has spent 30 years serving in many important roles advocating this issue.  She retired in 2007 from a decade of work as the Coordinator for Reformed Church World Service, an RCA Mission Services program providing emergency relief to disaster victims.

“We really can’t understand the New Testament apart from the Old.  The Grace of God, which is fully revealed in Jesus Christ, is the central theme of the Old Testament.  The Bible is one story in two books.” – Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil

In appreciation for the Voskuils' service to the Church, Western’s Board of Trustees established the Dennis and Betty Voskuil Chair in Old Testament.

This endowed chair allows Western to continue placing a high value on Old Testament studies without relying on tuition dollars to fund the cost of a professor.  Every dollar received for this fund is money that does not need to be raised by increasing student tuition.  An endowment of $2,000,000 will fully secure a permanent chair in Old Testament. $1.2 million has been raised thus far, and Dr. Thomas Boogaart was elected and installed as the first professor to hold this chair.

We invite you to thank Dennis and Betty for their service by committing a special gift to help complete the establishment of the Dennis and Betty Voskuil Chair in Old Testament.

Racial/Ethnic Partnerships

Han-luen Kantzer Komline 2014 WEB.jpg

Did you know that 39% of RCA congregations that have been started in the last three years are racial ethnic in composition, and 47% of those planned for the future are as well?  Western has developed an intentional 3-part strategy to help prepare some of the leadership for these and other racial ethnic congregations.

  1. Fund scholarships for the Graduate Certificate in Urban Pastoral Ministry (GCUPM) program.  This eight course program provides theological education for people who are called to serve the church in urban ministry settings.  Many of the participants are people already serving in an urban context and the cost of theological education is difficult.  The establishment of ten $1,000 scholarships will make this education affordable. These scholarships are funded annually.

Status:  $10,000 annually is needed to support this program

  1. Establish two full-tuition scholarships annually for Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree candidates.  These scholarships will cover the cost of tuition at Western annually.

Status:  An endowment of $400,000 has been given to fund the first of these scholarships.  $800,000 more is needed to complete this funding.

  1. Hire Faculty Fellows.  Each year Western seeks to hire up to two racial ethnic scholars who are in the process of completing Ph.D. work in a seminary related field.  These Faculty Fellows teach part-time at Western while completing their Ph.D. studies in hopes they may be viable faculty hires at the completion of their degree program.  Each Faculty Fellow receives housing and a stipend for an estimated cost of $40,000 per year per fellow. 

Status:  Eric Williams, the first of these Faculty Fellows, taught at WTS from 2009-11. Our second Faculty Fellow, Bernard "Chris" Dorsey, taught as a Faculty Fellow from 2011-13 and was hired as a member of the faculty starting Fall 2013. The Faculty Fellow for 2014-2015 is Han-luen Kantzer Komline, a Ph.D. student in Church History from University of Notre Dame. 

Status:  $40,000-$80,000 annually is needed to support this program

 

If you would like to contribute to one of these exciting projects or would simply like additional information, please contact the Advancement Office (800) 392-8554 or advancement@westernsem.edu.

The Zwemer Society

In the early 1900s Rev. James F. Zwemer raised the first $100,000 in deferred gifts for Western Theological Seminary and in so doing assured fiscal security for the school.  His legacy lives on through The Zwemer Society, a group of individuals who affirm and support the work of equipping men and women for ministry by arranging planned giftsto the seminary.

Western Seminary is not tuition-driven, which means students do not bear the full weight of what it costs to educate them.  These gifts ensure that quality theological education remains affordable for future generations.

 

How can I become a member of The Zwemer Society?

zwemer.pngSimply notify the Advancement Office when you arrange a planned gift to the seminary.  In appreciation, you will be invited to an annual event at the seminary with other Zwemer Society members, and if you choose, your name will be placed on the Zwemer Society recognition plaque at Western.

 

What if I’ve already arranged a gift?

You are a member of The Zwemer Society! 

Please let us know if your gift is designated and how (or if) you would like your name listed on recognition materials.  We look forward to thanking you in person for your partnership in this ministry!

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