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Hamilton school aims to reduce capital debt

Written on August 31st, 2009

Face-to-face peer approach garners increased support

Calvin Christian School (CCS) in Hamilton has experienced significant success in its campaign to eliminate the school debt.

“We were overwhelmed by the support that we got from our community,” says Tony Steenbeek, chair of the Light the Path Campaign.

Launched in early 2007, the goal of the campaign is to raise $2.3 million to get rid of the school’s capital debt stemming largely from its new facility built in 2001, as well as provide funds for preventative maintenance.

Steenbeek says the school had not had a major capital drive for about seven years.

“We decided that it was time to eliminate that debt and secure Christian education for the future of our kids.”

Plans are in the works to celebrate the $1.7 million that has been donated and pledged to date.

Principal Ted Postma says it’s been exciting to work with long-term supporters of the school and witness their continued enthusiasm for CCS.

“They gave generously in terms of time by working for the capital campaign and in terms of pledges and donations,” he notes, adding there are a number who continue their commitment to the school, despite the fact that their children have graduated.

The resounding support from CCS staff has also been exciting to see, according to Postma. Staff members helped write articles, participated in some of the initial canvassing activities and each one has contributed financially.

CCS hired a consulting firm, the Dennis Group, to help in running the campaign, which proved to be an invaluable resource, says Steenbeek.

The school took a new approach to garnering support, replacing the traditional telephone campaign with face-to-face meetings between community-members and trained canvassers. Bringing people together of like life situations was also the goal, says Steenbeek.

“A lot of times it was friends, people that knew each other, approaching each other; which we found was more successful than just trying to get a list of telephone numbers called,” he notes.

Steenbeek adds that God has been good through this endeavour.

“This whole project has been encompassed in prayer,” he says. “We have really been blessed in how our community has come together.

“We have learned a lot through this process and we’re incorporating that into our strategic plan as well so that has really helped to position our school in a much better way.”

The school is aiming to reach the $2.3-million mark by 2010.