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Leader optimistic about potential of alternative revenue stream for Christian schools

Written on June 10th, 2009

Schools with proposals for revenue-generating projects can receive market analysis 

Dave Koetje, Christian Schools International (CSI) president and CEO, is optimistic about the potential of an alternative revenue stream for Christian schools, despite the recent market bust.

About two years ago CSI launched a platform, Christian Education Enterprises, that entails social capitalists investing in entrepreneurial activity within Christian education.

While the original plans have had to shift, in some cases due to the soured economy, Koetje says the hope and belief is that the desired outcomes will ultimately be realized.

“We remain quite optimistic that it will happen,” he says, noting there is still significant expressed interest in the model.

He adds that he believes it is vital to the long-term well-being of faith-based schools in most of the U.S. and Canada that a third revenue stream, beyond tuition and donation dollars, be available.

Christian Education Enterprises has been working on a number of entrepreneurial projects within Christian education, all of which, as new ventures tend to do, have taken unexpected but not necessarily unfavourable twists in recent months.

An intergenerational community learning project at Reheboth Christian School in New Mexico, which was originally intended to begin late last year, is currently waiting on potential federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That department has allocated capital grant monies for senior care facilities that serve the Native American community.

“We just think it’s prudent of us to wait and see, (as) it’s a two-and-a-half-million-dollar grant that potentially awaits us,” says Koetje.

The organization has also discovered that its concept of a hybrid elementary school, which would see students split their education between a home and school environment, is already in existence among a body of about 30 schools in Texas.

Koetje says there have been some very enjoyable and enriching conversations with that group and discussion is underway about how to dovetail their approach with what CSI is doing.

Other concepts, including an online learning mall and big box schools, continue to be investigated.

Koetje notes that because investment dollars are being used, care must be taken to ensure a fairly high probability of success.

While it may be a few months before the market recovery allows for the cultivation of new equity dollars, Christian Education Enterprises continues to do site studies and market analyses for schools interested in exploring entrepreneurial options that could receive investment funding.

For information about Christian Education Enterprises or if you are interested to pursue a project contact David Koetje at dkoetje(at)csionline.org or 800-635-8288.

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