There are three levels of needs. I will be very much to the point here in moving from the greater to the lesser, with the lesser needs perhaps being the ones that are more acutely felt at the moment, and you will probably understand why when finishing this reading.
First of all, there is the overall need to raise an endowment fund. This is what this page is essentially for. This need runs in the millions of dollars, and so it is a project which is likely to take some time, to put it mildly. We probably have several years left before we will be forced to live off this endowment, but how many exactly I am in no position of knowing at the moment.
Secondly, there is the need for us as a seminary to survive from year to year. What we receive now is less than our operating expenses at the minimum survival level. There is no option of “finishing in the red,” strictly speaking (not that I would find this option to be a viable solution in any case) because of complexities associated with bank loans, such as high interest rates. So there is a gap of several tens of thousands dollars a year. This is a challenge, because if we can’t make our ends meet in any given year at some minimal level, there will be no point raising a large endowment fund – there will simply be no entity for which to raise it, as our institution will be legally closed. Some of the resources we used to have are depleted by now, and so it is a case of falling flat on our face whenever this crisis comes.
Thirdly – alas, it doesn’t end here – there are some specific needs that come up from time to time that we can’t accommodate given our survival mode of operation. These are usually of a smaller nature. I will mention one of them here. One student is in serious need at the moment of having his dental bridge fixed. For somebody who will be preaching and teaching and will need to ensure a smooth sermon delivery, this is not a minor thing. In the previous “fat years” I would try to accommodate this need from the available budget, but I’m in no position to do this now. This particular need amounts to $500. I remember how I was taken care of as a seminarian at CTS when one kind Lutheran doctor donated his time and money to fix my teeth, because he very much wanted to help a future pastor. So I feel responsible for organizing help for our student, who happens to be in a difficult situation.