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BLAKE PORTER

Executive Director of Institutional Advancement

JCS Alumnus 2007

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HELLO!

Hi! I'm Blake Porter. I am an alumnus of Judah Christian School, and I'm currently our Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. Take a look at this quarter's updates and news from Judah and ways you can get involved in the ministry God is doing here!

JCS Advancement Office Update

October 2022

Dear Donors & Friends of Judah, 

 

We hope you are doing well and continuing to walk with the Lord in all that you do! Below you will find our most recent Advancement update, with two goals in mind: The first is to keep you in touch with what is going on at Judah so you can see how the Lord is continuing to work and propel His school forward for the Kingdom. The second is to provide opportunities on how you might choose to partner with us at Judah to further support the mission here. The mission is still the same. We strive to “partner with families, and the local church, in providing an academically-excellent, Bible-based education, preparing students for a Christ-honoring life of service.” God is still at work, and we all have an opportunity to be part of what He is doing through Christian education in Champaign County and beyond. 

 

Now for our digest…

In this Update...

 

The School

Judah Christian School is focusing on “Flourishing Together in Christ” this year (Psalm 115:14). This is our theme for the year, but it is also the key focus of the ACSI Flourishing Schools Institute that our Leadership Team attended during the summer. Our goal is to be excellent and to flourish in Christ as a school and a community. The institute allows us to compare data and research from Christian schools all over the world that are doing extremely well so that we can work as a Leadership Team and Board on improving our school in every area. From academics to athletics, financial health, donor support, facilities, and technology…everything…is being evaluated with our strategic plan to get better each day. Our goal is to be excellent in all that we do, and we will need the support of our families and donor network to make it happen. 

 

Judah has an enrollment this year of 311 with about 3 students in the pipeline P-12. We are at a steady enrollment over the past two years, and we are continuing to invest in families, retention, and growth. In September we brought in a consultant from “Enrollment Catalyst” to help us fully evaluate our marketing and messaging tactics to further increase enrollment. Rick Newberry from EC is known around ACSI and has helped hundreds of schools increase their enrollment through messaging and marketing. While our challenge is not easier, we still feel the Lord working very intentionally through Judah to provide Christian education to the families of Champaign County. 

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Judah Rising Update

The Advancement Office will be working this year with the Board and Leadership Team in developing a new timeline for the phases at Rising Road. This will include fundraising strategies and further details of how to move forward. We still believe God has a plan for the future of Judah Christian School at that location. We look forward to how the Lord will continue to make His plans known as we seek Him in obedience.

We will continue to be extremely intentional in seeking the Lord’s will, guidance, and His leading in both the strategy and the fundraising. He has seen the school on Rising Road. There is no place He has not already been ahead of us. We need to faithfully trust in His guidance and timeline. May His will be done and not ours.

 

JCS Current Needs List

In our last correspondence, we let you know that we were assembling a school-wide needs list. This list has $300k+ worth of needs on it that span all divisions and areas of Judah. If you would like to meet to discuss the divisional needs list or see how you might get involved by financially supporting Judah, please get in touch with me directly (porterb@judah.org). Listed below is a short list of a few of the most pressing needs we have at Judah:

  • Replacing on-site security cameras and software system ($50k initial quote with quotes still being developed, plus install expense) 

  • Promethean Boards (Check out the video below!) for elementary classrooms, and a few secondary classrooms ($50k) 

  • Lower Elementary Roof replacement ($55k) 

  • Shotput & Discus Repair (this enables us to host track meets) ($20k)

  • Gym restroom remodel and repair ($8k-$10k each) 

  • Routine Bleacher Repair & Maintenance ($7k)

If you would like to discuss how to help with any of these items please get in touch with me directly!

 

Advancement Focus 22-23

In the past academic year, we were heavily focused on procuring technology resources for students. The Advancement Office was able to secure 300 new Chromebooks for students through grants and donor funding during the 21-22 school year. We were able to raise money for teacher computers, as well as get funding for STEM Robotics Kits. This year we have a focus on donor cultivation, endowment planning, and Promethean boards. Our goal is to secure 10 Promethean boards for our elementary classrooms, which will be about $40k to raise, and closer to $50k with peripherals and stands. I am also very happy to announce that in the last 32 months, starting from November 1, 2019, the Advancement Office has been able to secure over $1M in value to Judah between donors, grants, and scholarships. This is a huge blessing from the Lord, and we should celebrate His continued faithfulness. Thank you again to those of you who helped to make that milestone possible!

 

Empower Illinois Scholarships

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TAX 
CREDIT

Empower Illinois Scholarships - Tax CREDIT 

Donors can provide direct scholarships for low-income K-12 students and receive a powerful 75% credit on their Illinois state taxes through the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship (TCS) program. 100% of recipients qualify based on need and 95% of donations go directly to scholarships. Empower Illinois is the state’s largest Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) that can administer this program.

 

Example

An individual or corporate donor will receive a 75% state tax credit on their donation. This means that if a donor contributes $10,000, they will receive a state tax credit of $7,500. Donations by both individual and corporate donors are capped at $1.33 million, i.e. a per-donor tax credit of $1 million. Individual donors can direct their donations to a school or subset of schools of their choice. Corporate donors cannot designate funds. The credit is non-refundable, but can be carried forward for five years.  

 

Most Helpful Information, Resources & Downloads on this program are here: 

https://empowerillinois.org/donate/

 

Tuition Assistance 

SAVE THE DATE - APRIL 22, 2023

Save the date on your calendar for Saturday, April 22, 2023. Our largest fundraiser of the year, Rise Up! for Tuition Assistance will be here before you know it! Last year we raised $159k for Tuition Assistance at Judah, and this year we are hoping to double our attendance and our impact. Please be prayerfully considering attending, and how you might have an impact by bringing others that can get involved in the cause. Please save the date, and check out photos from Rise Up 2022! You don't want to miss it this year! 

Check out the gallery below and click to open in full screen! 

 

Final Thoughts

I hope that you are encouraged by what God is doing here at Judah Christian School. I hope that you are able to see, as I do daily, that the Lord is at work in these hallways and in the lives of these students. Our mission is unwavering, and we are committed to training up young men and women in the name of Jesus Christ through education. My prayer is that you too will pray for Judah. That you will pray for what God is doing here and that lives will be impacted for eternity. I also pray that you will consider what your role may be in the work God is doing here. Whether it is your time, talent, or treasure, I pray that God will speak to you in how you might re-invest in His mission here. Thank you for your continued support of Judah and your continued prayer. If you have any questions about this update or want to learn more about investing in Judah, please get in touch with me directly at porterb@judah.org.

 

Connect

I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities! Let's connect.

Blake Porter

porterb@judah.org

217-359-1701 ext.185