Gift Funds Scholarship for Urban Ministry Leaders
by Kristina Garvelink (M.S. ’15)
As Grand Rapids Theological Seminary looks forward to a new decade of equipping ministry professionals through its Urban Cohort program, seminary administrators and faculty members expressed gratitude for a recent donation from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, a longstanding partner and donor of Cornerstone University.
"The DeVos family has been instrumental in both the initiation and sustaining of our Urban Cohort program," Dr. Joe Stowell, president of Cornerstone, said. "Their generous investment in the education of urban leaders continues to bear exponential outcomes in the lives of many."
The giving priorities of the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, located in Grand Rapids, Mich., reflect the namesake couple's legacy as faith-based business leaders and education advocates in West Michigan and beyond. With its most recent gift of $200,000 designated for the Urban Cohort program, the foundation extends its support of urban ministry leaders through additional program scholarships, providing the funds necessary to underwrite more than half of the total tuition costs for approximately 16 to 18 students.
"The DeVos foundations, specifically the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, have been the consummate partners in the work of the Urban Cohort program," Dr. John VerBerkmoes, executive vice president for academics and dean of GRTS, said. "We share a common vision to serve urban ministry leaders in our city and a common desire to participate in the work God is doing to transform all of our churches and the entirety of our community to the glory of God."
For GRTS and its eight cohorts of Urban Cohort students and graduates, the foundation's support at each stage of the program's development has led to measurable improvements in the design and administration of a new educational model. From funding research studies to student financial aid, the foundation has helped the seminary actualize its aim to improve the affordability and accessibility of a seminary education for urban leaders who desire graduate-level training for increased ministry effectiveness.