The Ontario Association of Christian Schools (OACS) Foundation is making a public statement of interest in exploring partnerships with other Christian education support entities in Ontario and beyond.
Executive director Lawrence Lutgendorff says the board’s commitment to such a position stems from a desire to create a robust base for advancing the quality of Christian education as a whole.
The board believes that such collaboration will create more opportunities to support students, teachers and schools.
“As a community across the province, we want to see folks coming together on funding strategies that support the big picture of Christian education,” Lutgendorff tells the OACS News.
General support for Christian education is on the decline, reports show.
The decline is especially mystifying given the recent Cardus education survey, which shows positive results in terms of the impact of faith-based, private education on the lives of graduates, says Lutgendorff.
Christian education as a whole is producing graduates who are faithful in their beliefs, committed to their partnerships and communities, faithful givers and environmentally responsible people, the Cardus survey reveals.
“That’s very encouraging stuff, so why the disconnect between what we now know to be the result of Christian education and the support in our community?” says Lutgendorff
This is another question the foundation is expecting a co-operative effort could address more effectively.
There are encouraging signs of early interest in discussing potential partnership and collaboration opportunities, according to Lugendorff.
The OACS Foundation and the Christian Economic Assistance Foundation board have exchanged letters of interest in starting a conversation to explore partnership possibilities, for instance.
Asked about his greatest aspiration for this idea of partnering coming to full fruition, Lutgendorff says he imagines local schools continuing to run under their specific support foundations, while the broader provincial foundations provide support for the development of curriculum, grants for school operations, and bursary and scholarship programs.
He proposes that with such an intent size does matter.
“A larger foundation can put the effort into reaching out to that broad community of support, to make sure that everyone is aware of the value of Christian education, (as well as to ensure) the benefit of Christian education is available to everyone, and has mechanisms of support.
“But it’s also about being able to communicate what you can expect your children to be like when they graduate, à la the Cardus education survey.
“I think cooperation between communities of support province-wide and beyond has a greater opportunity to bring that message of the positive impact of Christian education, and not just to the traditional support community but also the broad cross-section of faith-based groups across the province and country.”
To learn more and join a conversation on partnership opportunities, please contact Lutgendorff at development(at)oacsf.org.