Building on the foundation laid in the first seven years, we are now “Forming the Framework for the Future” of Northeastern Baptist College. We anticipate the Holy Spirit will guide and empower us to reach twelve major milestones during this second phase of the 28 Year Plan.
In order to reach these milestones, we have launched a three-phase fundraising campaign. Both the milestones and the three-phase campaign are described below.
I. Complete Construction on All Current Facilities
The majority of our current facilities are remodeled and we are thankful. Volunteers have done a massive amount of work. The properties are transformed. Yet, small but significant areas remain incomplete in each facility.
The Main Campus: (1) Install Male/Female restrooms on the fourth floor. (2) Upgrade the two existing boilers to modern, efficient boilers. This was part of our original lease-agreement with Grace Christian School. (3 )Upgrade the elevator. The work is long overdue. These three upgrades will fulfill our lease agreement responsibilities with Grace.
The Hogue Library: (1) Install a heating unit with ductwork in the rear portion of the building. (2) Update our sprinkler system. (3) Update the current fire panel to meet Vermont’s new fire codes.
Jehovah Jireh Hall: As of August 2017, the dorm rooms are at full capacity. A few final renovations are underway. One unfunded pressing need: Install a new heating and hot water system.
II. Secure a Downtown Campus
During the last year of Firming the Foundation, we were able to identify a downtown campus location. The property will meet the needs of the college for several years into the future. It will provide additional, urgently needed student housing, classroom space, office space, and a chapel. Anticipating selling the property to Northeastern Baptist College, the current owner has completed many big-ticket renovations. The largest of the three buildings is up to date on fire suppression and alarm systems. Two of the buildings will need a new sprinkler system and one will need an elevator. Quite a bit of cosmetic work is required on two to of the buildings. The largest building will require re-purposing work on each floor.
III. Identify and Secure Housing for Married Students
Our Admissions Department and Student Life Department continue to receive requests for married student housing. While Bennington is a great place to buy a home, the rental market is challenging. The number of available rental houses and apartments are limited. Most are expensive. Few of the lower priced properties are in family-friendly neighborhoods. We need housing options for married students. We have not yet identified the best solution.
IV. Achieve Financial Stability
Northeastern Baptist College was founded on faith. When President Ballard resigned his pastorate to work full-time to launch the college, he and his family committed everything they had as a small seed to fund the college. The seed was a total of $47. The Lord has definitely multiplied that seed many times. He has accomplished so much in a short time with so little. We continue to live and operate by faith, but achieving financial stability is crucial for the college’s longevity, and an absolute requirement for Regional Accreditation. Monthly support, significant gifts, endowment, and developing business opportunities that will provide financial support for the college are all urgently needed. The following drawing illustrates the stability these four income supports can provide.
- Monthly Supporters
Our goal is to have a minimum of 1000 churches giving an average of $100 a month. We are praying for an additional 1000 individuals and/or businesses giving a minimum of $100 a month. These two sources of monthly support will allow us to meet our present operational budget on an ongoing basis.
- Significant Gifts
While we continue to add regular supporters each month, until we reach the above goals, we must rely on significant gifts to support the ongoing operations of the college. However, we also utilize significant gifts for building needs, scholarship support, special projects, etc. In the future, we anticipate significant gifts to be used for capital improvement, scholarship support, and special endowments.
- Growing Endowment
Our first goal for endowment is support of the work-study program. However, we would like to endow the library, department chairs, professorships, lecture series, and other traditional college endowment funds. As the college grows, accreditation steps will require the building of endowment funds through planned giving, as well as, through significant gifts.
- Business Opportunities
The fourth support leg for the NEBC table will come from unique business opportunities. The idea is for NEBC to start, or receive by gift, businesses whose profits will go to the support of the college. These businesses could include such things as publishing, radio, motels, restaurants, storage facilities, cleaning services, etc. Work-study students could operate some of the businesses and the profits would go to the college. In some instances, employees will need to be hired, but the business profits will go directly to the college. NEBC is experimenting with this on a small scale currently with the Hebrews Café and the NEBC Store. We believe this concept has potential for the future.
V. Endow the Work Study Program
While Endowment is a part of our overall strategy to reach Financial Stability, the Work Study Endowment merits its own milestone marker. The burden of student debt hinders many students from achieving their personal goals. It is not uncommon for students to graduate college with $30,000, $40,000, even $50,000 in student loans. While this often proves debilitating to the average student, the ministry student graduating with such debt often discovers there is no way to enter the ministry until the debt is paid. Many have found this impossible to the point of setting aside God’s call for a job that will allow them to make payments on their education loans.
Northeastern Baptist College began with a commitment to help students get a solid Biblical education without debilitating debt. We are also committed to teaching students the value of education and the value of exhibiting a good work ethic. Therefore, the college established the NEBC In-house Work Study Program. The students who participate in this program receive a full tuition in exchange for 20 hours of work each week on behalf of the college. This limits out of pocket expenses to housing, food, books, and fees.
The value of this program to the student is $11,000 a year. Today, the college does this by faith, believing the Lord has called us to train students without them incurring debt. Our goal is to start and grow the Work Study Endowment, which will help offset the costs of the program. We would like to begin with $2,500,000, and grow the fund, ensuring educational opportunities for years to come.
VI. Achieve NEASC Regional Accreditation
From its inception, it has been the goal of Northeastern Baptist College to attain regional accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation would allow our graduates to continue their education at any other Seminary or University in the country. It would allow our undergraduates to transfer NEBC credits to any other college in the nation. It would allow our education graduates to pursue teaching positions in public education if they so desired. Accreditation is vital for NEBC’s future.
NEASC has been very open to us, and has demonstrated both surprise and affirmation at the progress we have made in developing the college in a short time. In particular, they have been impressed with our program, our faculty, our library, our ministry practicum, internships, and our assessment process. The one area of concern is financial stability.
In recent years, regional accreditors and the US Department of Education have raised the bar on long-term financial sustainability. They require assurance that a school has sufficient financial resources to operate in times of crisis. While we have received State Accreditation as a degree granting institution, and have begun the process of regional accreditation, we have not yet taken the next step. We know we need a stronger financial picture before we proceed. Therefore, the previous two milestones are crucial to us moving forward with regional accreditation pursuits.
VII. Develop a Hybrid Distance Education Program
Today’s student desires multiple educational delivery methods, including online, in classroom, and hybrid options that include practical experience and scholarly learning. The DNA of NEBC brought together a combination of training the mind, the heart, and the perseverance of our students, through a unique combination of classroom learning and practical experience. However, to this point the college has not offered online learning options.
The primary reason for avoiding online offerings to date is in the college’s purpose statement. Northeastern Baptist College was founded to impact the Northeast with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we desire students to come here, train here, serve here while in college, and hopefully stay here, making a difference in this region of the nation. A full-blown online program could be counter productive to our northeastern focus.
Therefore, we desire to add a hybrid form of distance education. In this program the student could take a portion of their classes online. However, the program would also require some courses to be taken in the classroom, in the northeast. At the present time we are considering allowing a student to take up to 50 percent of his/her degree online, with the balance being taken on campus.
VIII. Expand our Department Chairs, Faculty, and Staff
A growing school requires a growing organizational structure. During the Forming the Framework years we will expand our organizational chart to include more department chairs, additional faculty, staff, and administration. A full organizational chart has been developed that allows for growth including additional bachelor and master degrees being offered in several majors.
IX. Expand Bachelor’s Level Offerings
It is anticipated that over the next seven years we will continue to expand our bachelor level offerings. Currently our team is looking at expanding our Christian Education degree by removing it from the Biblical Studies Department and making it a stand alone degree. Other ideas that have been considered include such things as cross-cultural missions, apologetics, evangelism, and early childhood education. We will walk through regular assessments to consider the best options for expansion, but we anticipate expansion in the coming years.
X. Launch a Master of Arts Program
During the Forming the Framework for the Future years, Northeastern Baptist College will launch a Master of Arts Program. Like our Bachelor’s program, we will begin with a few offerings and consider expansion in the future. We will likely begin with degrees in Church Planting, Pastoral Ministry, Old Testament, New Testament, and Theology. We will also consider offering degrees in Business and Christian Counseling. Each program will be built with the idea of preparing the student to pursue a doctoral degree in their chosen field.
XI. Launch an Academic Journal
To establish Northeastern Baptist College as a respected institution of higher learning, and to influence the academic world from a Biblical perspective, we will launch an Academic Journal. The focus of the journal will be to treat key issues relating to how Biblical and Theological Studies impact practical ministry. We will seek to engage recognized and upcoming scholars in the discussion. True to our Mission, we will require the articles to develop the Mind of a Scholar, the Heart of a Shepherd, and the Perseverance of a Soldier.
XII. Grow to 500 Students
As we near the end of the Forming the Framework for the Future years, we will reach the milestone of 500 students. This will include students from the Early Scholar’s Program, through the Associates, Bachelors, and Masters programs. The 500 students will not only be learning in the classroom and online, but will be making a difference in the Northeast through ministry practicum and internships. The influence of NEBC students across the Northeast will be highly recognizable.
THREE PHASE FUND RAISING PLAN
The property boasts three buildings. The first building, built in 1959, has been recently renovated and is operational. The first floor consists of a gym, a café, a recreation room, and office space. The second and third floors currently serve as dorm space for summer camps. While these floors are well suited for camp, additional work must be completed for them to become year-around student housing. This facility will meet the need for additional student housing, a cafeteria, recreation areas, student life offices, and a few classrooms.
The second building was built in 1899. The building is structurally sound, and some renovations have been completed. A new roof was recently completed and some cosmetic work has been accomplished. However, a fire suppression system and an elevator must be added to the building. In addition, the fire alarm will likely require updating. A new heating system will be needed. In addition, further cosmetic work must be completed, including the repurposing of several rooms. This facility will house classrooms, faculty offices, and administrative suites.
The third building, built in 1959, originally housed two classrooms. For the last few years, the building has served as storage space; a woodworking shop is in the basement. This roughly 1,800 square foot building will be repurposed to serve as the NEBC Welcome Center and house the Admissions and Advancement Departments.
These key elements will position NEBC for long-term viability, thus allowing us to clear the requirements to take our next steps toward regional accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Reaching all twelve milestones of the Forming the Framework for the Future years, will position NEBC to have a profound influence on the Northeast for many years to come.