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News from the Hill March 25, 2014 | back to index

Andover Newton announces Trustee Venture Fund

$560K Trustee Venture Fund signals entrepreneurial moment in seminary’s life

Newton Centre, Mass., March 23, 2014 – Andover Newton Theological School, the oldest theological school and the first formal graduate institution in the United States, announced today that members of its board of trustees have committed a total of $560,000 in personal contributions to establish a special “Trustee Venture Fund.” Adopting a funding model from the venture capital industry, the Fund is intended to encourage and enable the seminary to think creatively about and invest in projects or activities with potential to generate new and sustainable revenues.

“In the face of unprecedented change in the Church and the economy, ensuring a sustainable future for the school is a priority” said ANTS President Nick Carter, who will retire at the end of May after 10 years at the helm. According to Carter, “the objective of increasing revenues is fundamental to the future of this and every other seminary in America. Our trustees understand that investing in new ideas is critical but is often hampered by the necessarily prudent budgeting these times demand.”

Thus, the specific purpose of the Trustee Venture Fund is to make funds other than annually budgeted dollars available for investment in initiatives designed to support the school’s strategic revenue goals. Projects eligible for Venture Fund support will be expected to generate incremental, measurable revenues and yield a return on the investment within a specified time.

One-hundred percent of the 25-member board participated in creating the Fund. “We hope the Trustee Venture Fund will be a garden of new ideas,” said the Rev. Judy Swahnberg, chair of the board. “Trustees are excited about Andover Newton’s future, and we believe the most tangible way to signal the board’s support for the school’s mission and our confidence at a time of presidential transition is to establish this forward-looking investment fund,” she added.

“Andover Newton is a two-hundred-year-old institution whose pioneering spirit is as vibrant today as it was at the school’s founding and whose mission has never been more vital than in today’s changing and challenging world,” according to President-elect and current trustee Martin Copenhaver, who will assume the presidency at ANTS on June 1.“A venture fund approach will help ensure Andover Newton stays at the forefront of theological education,” said Copenhaver.

In expressing appreciation for the board’s bold action, President Carter said, “The world needs Andover Newton graduates more than ever and this Venture Fund signals our commitment to

continue investing and innovating in ways that will continue to set us apart. The great generosity of our trustees also sets ANTS apart, and on behalf of our faculty, staff, and students I wish to thank each and every one of them for stepping up and believing in what is still possible.”

Andover Newton Theological School, founded in 1807, is the first graduate school of any kind in America. Always an innovator in religious education, Andover Newton is internationally recognized as a leader in interfaith learning.​