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BLAKE PORTER

Executive Director of Institutional Advancement

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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 Quarterly Update

November 2021

Dear Donors & Friends of Judah, 

 

This email is the first of a quarterly correspondence that will begin to be delivered regularly from the Advancement Office at JCS. My hope is that it will do two things. 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. 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 in a season of building and growth. We have a fairly new leadership team and a new school board. Over the past 18 months, we have been realigning our goals, clarifying our 3-4 year strategic plan, focusing on strengthening our finances, and praying through where the Lord is leading His school. After the impact of COVID, we experienced an enrollment shortfall which made us revise our financial plan, do intentional fundraising, and adjust how we teach and how students learn at JCS. 

 

The last 18 months has opened our eyes to the areas we need to improve. We focused on marketing and family incentives to grow enrollment, started to invest more intentionally in our current families,  and are continuing to plan and implement new tools for learning. As of the 2021-22 school year JCS has 67 new families! Our focus now is to continue to grow enrollment as we are currently back up to 352 students. We are focused on improving and enhancing the education here at Judah by adding new electives, adding more technology, and have added a STEM program at the elementary and secondary divisions that will offer skills in engineering, electricity, robotics and coding! God is doing some really incredible things here at Judah and there is so much more to share but this is a snapshot of some of the happenings at Judah.

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Judah Rising Update

The Advancement Office has been working to make sure that the remainder of our Judah Rising funds are invested for growth.  During the summer, the board and I worked intentionally to interview firms and find who would be the best financial partner. As of October 2021, we are working with Cozad Asset Management in Champaign to invest our Judah Rising funds so that they may start to grow for our future property. Cozad has a wealth of experience as well as spiritual alignment with our mission here at Judah. We are very excited to be partnered with them. Our next steps are to do a public relations release to our Judah community and the CU community on the status and next steps of the project in the near future. 

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With our current enrollment and strategic plan, it is our belief (Lord willing) that we will be able to re-launch the campaign in the next few years. As enrollment grows and we have a firm financial footing, we believe we will be positioned to take the next step. The tentative plan as of now is to relaunch the campaign and break it down into specific steps with a phased approach. This should allow Judah to raise and procure funding resources to build the new school incrementally, in very intentional strategic raises with lower funding goals. 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 Needs List

In our commitment to investing in current families, and in alignment with our strategic plan, I have spent the last several weeks gathering a “Needs List” from our teachers, principals, and each division of the school. It is very apparent that Judah has short-term needs. These are needs that will dramatically improve the teaching capabilities of our faculty and enhance the learning experiences of our current students. I will share this list with you all in the first quarter of 2022 once we have it fully organized. I wanted to give you a heads up so you can start to pray about how you might get involved with this set of needs at Judah.

 

The current needs at Judah span equipment, technology, curriculum, and athletics. I hope that you will begin to prayerfully consider how the Lord might use you to further His kingdom at Judah. A current ballpark estimate of the full list is about $250k+. Do not let this number give you too much pause. These needs are across all divisions and when broken down are realistic and achievable. You may have passions for tech, athletics, elementary, secondary, etc. I believe the Lord will lead each of you to invest in areas you are passionate about, and reveal to you where you might get involved. Many of these items would dramatically enhance the education here at JCS, and have a truly immediate impact on students and faculty. 

 

Tuition Assistance 

SAVE THE DATE - APRIL 9 2022

Save the date on your calendar for Saturday, April 9, 2022. Our largest fundraiser of the year, Rise Up! for Tuition Assistance will be here before you know it! This year we have an AMAZING venue in downtown Champaign and we are hoping to double or triple our attendance from last year. Last year we raised $209K so more students could go to Judah. In addition to completely covering the Tuition Assistance budget, 10 additional students were also able to go to Judah this academic year! You never know the eternal impact of what God will do through the life of a student. I have seen what the Lord can do with 12; never underestimate changing the life of a student. An extra 10 students is a really huge deal and we are so grateful to have those students enrolled. Believe it or not, we already have $12,000 in donations and sponsorships toward our goal for Rise Up! We have a bold and expectant faith in what God will do this year.

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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. Have an excellent Christmas season with family!

 

Connect

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

Blake Porter

porterb@judah.org

217-359-1701 ext.185