Over the last several decades, more than fifty churches and several of the South Central Region districts have taken a visionary step to invest in the future of their young people by establishing Church Endowed Scholarship Funds (ESF) at Southern Nazarene University. Over the years, the total of these endowments has grown to over $3.5 million. Earnings from SNU’s careful investment of these funds are the source of scholarship awards. This fall alone over seventy students received a scholarship from their respective church’s ESF.
One of the students directly impacted by a Church ESF is Ana Ruiz-Bautista. Moving from Lima, Peru to Tulsa, Oklahoma was a journey of more than just miles – it was a God-ordained step of faith for the family. Since their obedience to God’s call in 2010, Ana said she and her family have seen His divine provision for them, over and over. And so, as Ana’s graduation from high school approached, she and her family prayed that God would provide a way for her to attend college.
Ana knew about Southern Nazarene University through her youth group at Regency Park Church of the Nazarene in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She met SNU recruiters at summer camps and district events but thought an education at SNU was out of reach, financially. She enrolled at Tulsa University, where several scholarships awaited – but she and her parents did not feel at peace about it, so they continued to pray. Soon after, Ana found that, because of faithful donors who generously support scholarships and endowments at SNU, her dream of attending SNU could become a reality. Now, the sophomore bio-chemistry major has her sights set on medical school, and her brother has joined her at SNU as a freshman business major.
One of the key scholarships Ana receives is from the Regency Park Church Endowment Scholarship Fund. In fact, seven current SNU students from Regency Park, including Ana and her brother, receive scholarships from their church fund’s earnings. Regency Park’s pastor, Dr. Geoffrey Gunter, said, “The Regency Park ESF was already in place when I came to pastor the church, and I give full credit to the faithful, generous, endowment donors for the tremendous financial support it has afforded the many students we’ve had attend SNU over the years.”
At Regency Park, as well as a great number of other churches, their ESF’s benefit from matching gift programs offered by donors’ employers. In some cases – where the employer guidelines specifically allow – donor gifts assist the church’s education allocation giving and the matched funds build the church’s endowment – bringing greater earnings for scholarships.
Ana couldn’t agree more that faithful donors have made her education at SNU financially possible. She said, “God has used the generosity of so many people to help me get where I knew He wanted me to be!”
Find out more about establishing a Church Endowed Scholarship Fund at SNU by contacting Todd Brant in the office of University Relations at SNU. Check here to see if your company participates in a Matching Gift program. Your church could truly make a difference in the life of a current or future student at SNU!