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Foundation for Niagara Christian Schools adds six new member schools

Written on September 8th, 2008

Changes name to Foundation for Niagara & Hamilton area Christian Schools

The Foundation for Niagara Christian Schools (FNCS) has added six new member schools and is in the process of changing its name to the Foundation for Niagara & Hamilton area Christian Schools (FNHCS).

Theo Meester, treasurer of FNCS, points out that unaffordable tuition is one of the greatest threats facing Ontario Christian schools.

“The foundation is the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in respect to the significant financial challenges our Christian schools face,” he says.

“Coming together as 11 school associations is a very significant development and recognizes the important contribution the foundation can make to Christian education with financial planning strategies among our support community.”

Henry Koornneef, executive director of FNCS, describes the meeting in which the relevant motions were adopted to move this decision forward as a “historic event.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, the FNCS board of directors met to adopt the bylaw that welcomed six school societies from the greater Hamilton area as full members.

The board also adopted a special resolution that requested the legal name change. Both motions are still to be ratified by the appropriate government authorities, which is expected to happen within the next month.

“The FNCS board has had a desire to ramp up our activities for some time,” says Koornneef. “Working with a larger group of schools helps us to do that.”

The director adds that having other schools desire to join the Foundation boosts its credibility.

In addition, the expansion is one that lines up with the desires of supporters across the Niagara and Hamilton areas, according to Koornneef.

“We know that our supporters were hoping that this would happen and we feel that our schools will be blessed for this,” he says, noting that many of the schools in both areas have connections in one form or another, including family relations and historic ties.

Bernie Voortman was chair of the former ad-hoc foundation committee representing the six schools that have joined FNHCS.

The committee had originally been mandated to explore options surrounding establishing its own foundation with the six Christian schools in the Hamilton area but realized it made more sense to join the already launched Niagara organization.

The time, resources and energy required to establish a new foundation would have been significant.

“As a group I feel we did a very stewardly thing,” says Voortman.

“This makes so much more sense to be part of an eleven-school group working together on something that is so important for the long term financial viability of our Christian schools. I look forward to serving as a director of the new Foundation for Niagara & Hamilton area Christian Schools, and promoting our foundation within my school community.”

Fred Bennink, also a former member-at-large of the ad-hoc committee, agrees that this decision is for the best.

“We kept hearing positive things about the Foundation for Niagara Christian Schools and when we providentially learned that the foundation had originally been established in such a way as to readily facilitate the growth of member schools, as a group we just knew we wanted and needed to be part of this,” says Bennink.

“Within just a few months the logistics were sorted out and here we are. This assures me we did the right thing. I too look forward to serving as a director and ambassador of our foundation.”

The school societies that are new members of the foundation include: Brantford Christian School, Calvin Christian School in Dundas, Calvin Christian School in Hamilton, Hamilton District Christian High, Jarvis District Christian School and Trinity Christian School in Burlington.

Founding members of the foundation include: Beacon Christian Schools, Dunnville Christian School, Covenant Christian School in Smithville and John Knox Christian School in Fruitland of the Niagara Association for Christian Education, Smithville District Christian High School
and Wellandport Christian School.

To learn more about the foundation, visit www.foundationniagara.ca.