A June 2015 visit from Iowa Governor Terry Branstadt, Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews, local state representatives and other local dignitaries boosted the level of enthusiasm and excitement surrounding Valley Lutheran School’s capital campaign. The school is using Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) to raise funds to accommodate a marked increase in enrollment—now at 180 students, up from 60 in previous years.
“Governor Branstadt, he was just like us. It was really nice to have him here advocating for our school and our students,” says Anne Meyer-Schmitz, development director at Valley. “He’s very close with so many of our pastors and donors.”
Meyer-Schmitz said events like the reception at which the governor was the special guest helps validate the school’s efforts and enlighten the Cedar Falls community.
“People often think that we are a church and we only have 15 students…we’re 11 years old, which sounds older than it is. We’ve only been K-12 for four years. And going from 60 to 180 students is a huge jump.”
Valley Lutheran opened as a high school in 2004 and has since added elementary and middle school grades.
The school has seen a wealth of new donors, and continued support from long-standing partners. To help support their growth, Valley Lutheran School began a capital campaign with LCEF’s Capital Funding Services in November 2014, agreeing to a three-year plan to help fund operations, make necessary improvements and update classroom and office facilities. The Rev. Dennis Goff, LCEF’s Agency Vice President for Capital Funding Services, is leading the campaign with school leaders.
Puzzle Helps Mark Progress
Providing tangible goals has been the most successful method to display the leaps and bounds made by the campaign.
Recently, students had fun building a puzzle to track monetary goals, adding a piece to the overall picture for every $40 donated. Meyer-Schmitz says the students have had an amazing opportunity to learn about money and savings throughout the campaign. With a little more than two more years to go, opportunities for school-wide involvement at Valley Lutheran School are sure to continue.
Pitching in their efforts with LCEF, students, parents and volunteers have committed a great deal of time and effort to keep Valley Lutheran School in the black.
“You don’t work at a Christian school for the money,” Meyer-Schmitz said. “You do it because it’s in your heart. We’re always volunteering, and the level of involvement we’ve seen from everyone has been amazing. The Lord’s moving—I know He has a special place for us."