Institutional Development

Over its forty-five year history, ESR has greatly benefited from the generous support of a wide cross-section of Friends.  In the earliest years of the School, though, the Lilly Endowment played a particularly instrumental role in helping build a solid base of philanthropic support for the School.  One of Landrum Bolling's first initiatives after becoming President of Earlham College in 1958, in fact, was consulting with Harold Duling—then the new, founding Executive Director of the Lilly Endowment—on the possibility of having Lilly fund a study to examine the feasibility of establishing a Friends seminary.  The Lilly Endowment subsequently provided a $7,000 grant toward this end.  After Wilmer Cooper completed the study, and Earlham decided to embark upon its experimental program in religion, Lilly followed up with another generous grant of $60,000 to cover the program's first two years of operating costs.  In June, 1963, Lilly made yet another grant of $25,000 to ESR to supplement a $200,000 commitment to the School made by Earlham College as part of its Ford Challenge Campaign, which ran from 1961 to 1965.

Beginning in 1965, a concerted effort was made to convince Quakers to take greater ownership of ESR through their philanthropic support.  A challenge grant of $150,000 was extended by Lilly to support the operations of the School over the following three years, on the condition that another $150,000 was raised from among Friends.  While meeting the challenge of the Lilly Matching Campaign, ESR began to realize that it must plan ahead for more long-term funding.  This led to what was likely the single most difficult, but crucial, fund-raising effort in the early history of ESR: the Friends Leadership Development Campaign.  This campaign was initiated in 1966 to build an endowment, provide scholarships, and improve the physical facilities of ESR.  Again, Lilly helped to kick-start the campaign, providing an initial challenge grant of $300,000 on the condition that ESR raise another $1 million from among Friends before the close of 1967.  During the campaign, chaired by the indefatigable Delbert Replogle, ESR took the extraordinary step of dismissing its professional fund-raising counsel after being informed by them that a $1 million goal was simply unattainable for Quakers.  ESR then proceeded to refute that assessment, marshalling 700 volunteers who went on to garner donations from 2,355 Friends from across the country to reach the $1 million campaign goal on schedule.

As ESR celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1970, it prepared to participate in a fund-raising campaign, named the Program Advancement Campaign for Earlham ('PACE'), then being organized under the aegis of Earlham College.  ESR received $210,000 in support from the proceeds of the PACE campaign, which ran until 1973.  At the same time, the School was proscribed from fund-raising independent of the campaign, which had a severe negative impact on its budget.  This shortfall was later largely offset, though, by a $17 million gift by Eli Lilly—the so-called "17-73" gift arranged by Landrum Bolling shortly before his retirement in 1973—$2 million of which was earmarked for ESR's endowment.  Beginning in 1974, ESR formalized its Annual Fund drive, which has since become an important source for balancing the School's budget.  In recent years, ESR has raised an average of approximately $175,000 per year through its Annual Fund, which accounts for roughly 15% of the School's annual operating budget.

Since the 1970s, ESR has undertaken two other major fund-raising campaigns to provide for both its capital and operational needs.  In 1986, under the Deanship of Tom Mullen, the School initiated the Making a Difference campaign, which had a fund-raising goal of $4.5 million.  Out of these funds, $1.7 million was directed toward construction of the new ESR Center, located at the corner of College Avenue and the National Road, where Jenkins House once stood.  This new building provided much needed dedicated space for classes, meetings, student life and community worship.  Of the remaining funds raised through the Making a Difference campaign, $300,000 went toward renovating Barclay Center to convert it into office space for administrators and faculty, $1 million was added to the School's endowment funds for the support of programs, another $500,000 was committed to scholarship endowments, and $1 million went toward the Annual Fund to support current operations of the School.

In 1993, under the Deanship of Andrew Grannell, ESR initiated yet another capital campaign —this one titled Investment In Friends Leadership.  This campaign had an overall fund-raising goal of $3.5 million, $3.4 million of which had been raised when the campaign came to a close in 1999.  Of the funds raised, $1.4 million went toward the establishment of the Cooper Scholarship program, which provides financial aid to Quaker students in exchange for community service.  Another $1.5 million went toward operational support of the School.  The remainder went to fund academic programs, faculty development and various campus enhancements, including a major upgrade of the School's information technology resources.

1n 1994, ESR entered into a long-term partnership with Bethany Theological Seminary, the only seminary of the Church of the Brethren.  Bethany relocated to Richmond with proceeds from its former fifty-one acre campus at Oak Brook in Chicago, which had served as its home since 1963.  To accommodate its physical plant needs at the new location on the Earlham campus, Bethany built a 25,000 square foot facility next door to ESR at a cost of $2 million.  As one of the historic 'peace churches' (the other major one being the Mennonites) Brethren share many values in common with Quakers.  Like Friends, Brethren share a common belief in the principles of peace, justice and simplicity.  At the same time, Brethren have many unique qualities—such as, for example, their acceptance of and deference to authority—which provides a welcome contrast to the general ethos of ESR.

Besides being similar in terms of their core values, ESR and Bethany are also very similar in terms of the size of their student body and the institutional resources at their disposal.  Bethany has an annual operating budget of approximately $2 million in 2004, compared to $1.35 million for ESR.  Bethany has an average annual student headcount of between 100 and 120 students, comprised of approximately 45 FTEs.  ESR, by comparison, had a headcount of 100 students comprised of 41.7 FTEs in 2004.  Bethany is also experiencing similar trends in student enrolment towards more part-time and occasional students.  The similarity in size and situation between Bethany and ESR has provided a sound basis for the formation of an equitable partnership between the two seminaries based upon equality and mutual respect.

The close proximity of another graduate seminary substantially strengthens both ESR and Bethany.  It allows each institution to benefit from economies of scale in shared administrative, teaching and library resources.  In terms of administrative resources, ESR and Bethany share a registrar's office and a learning / information technology office.  In terms of library resources, the combined collections of Earlham, ESR and Bethany give their seminary students access to greater research and reference resources than any of their peer seminaries.  In terms of teaching resources, the presence of a similarly minded seminary has allowed ESR and Bethany to offer greater depth in the academic options available to their students.  ESR students take many courses in New Testament and Church History from Bethany, for instance, while Bethany students take many courses in Spiritual Development and Pastoral Counseling from ESR.  This sharing of core curriculum has also allowed each seminary to develop more specialized academic offerings, with ESR offering a number of courses with specifically Quaker content.  Stephen Angell, ESR's Geraldine Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies, for instance, offers courses in Quaker history, while Stephanie Ford offers courses in spirituality and spiritual development, a key component of Quaker faith.