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Rochester Central Lutheran School


Grace Foundation
Dr. Chris Baum


Year after year, RCLS provides hundreds of students with a safe learning environment and the academic rigor and Christian worldview that discerning parents seek for their children in their foundational years of learning. Several years ago, after a particularly challenging economic period in the school’s history, a group of school parents––grateful for the experience of RCLS in their own families–– met to determine how to best support the school. They wanted to ensure that RCLS remains a vibrant, Christian education option in Rochester for years to come. Out of this concern, The Grace Foundation was founded in 2014.

The sole purpose of The Grace Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is to provide financial support for RCLS. That means that RCLS is TGF’s sole beneficiary. Every dollar that has been raised by The Grace Foundation through generous donations and investment returns works for the benefit of RCLS.

To date, The Grace Foundation and its donors have granted RCLS these immediate benefits:

·  Creator Space, a well-stocked art/technology/integration space (completed in 2015)

Art class in creator space

·  Air conditioning in the elementary wing (completed in 2016)

·  Renovation of the gymnasium, including a new floor and fans (completed in 2017)

·  Updated networking and telecommunications, including fiber optic (completed in 2018)

·  New theatrical stage and wireless microphone system (completed in 2019)

These significant campus improvements have been possible because RCLS supporters contributed together through the work of The Grace Foundation. It is the collective generosity of RCLS supporters at work here, something The Grace Foundation is pleased to facilitate.

RCLS gym

How does The Grace Foundation work?

The Grace Foundation is a member-driven organization. Members are critical to the success of the foundation for several reasons. First, they provide direct feedback about the vision, goals, and actions to the Board of Directors, which consists of seven voluntary, unpaid individuals who are parents and faculty[c4]  of RCLS students. Second, the members vote annually on each position on the Board of Directors. Third, the members pay annual dues which are used, in part, to cover the limited overhead costs related to running the foundation: annual tax filings, accounting, software licensing, and expenses related to making Blue and White Night a success. We are deeply indebted to all the members of The Grace Foundation, and we seek to partner with new members in order to maintain the tremendous momentum that has developed. Our members are the lifeblood of the work we do.

As an organization, The Grace Foundation is RCLS’s partner in education. We work to meet the needs of RCLS in the short term (urgent needs such as those we have already funded) and for the long term (for needs yet unknown). The critical link in the partnership between RCLS and The Grace Foundation has been Mrs. Suzanne Lagerwaard, who is an ad hoc member of The Grace Foundation Board of Directors. While she was not in her current role when the notion of a foundation for RCLS was formed, she understands the significant contributions that The Grace Foundation has played in the school over the past six years, and she knows how vital The Grace Foundation will be to the future success of the school. If you have a few moments, I encourage you to ask Mrs. Lagerwaard for her perspective on this, and perhaps she would be willing to give you a personal tour that highlights the physical upgrades to the school that have been completed as a result of this partnership.

Why a foundation?

It has been exciting to watch how God has graciously provided the means to meet the school’s tangible needs in just a few years.  At the same time, we believe in a long-term vision for The Grace Foundation that demonstrates faithful stewardship of resources on behalf of RCLS. To that end, The Grace Foundation has allocated over $160,000 in a professionally managed investment fund with the goal of growing those long-term investments to over $1,000,000. If the sky were to fall and The Grace Foundation were to dissolve, every penny that has been saved and invested will go directly to RCLS.  Fortunately, the sky is not falling, and we want to make good on this goal so that one day the Foundation’s investment returns alone will provide at least $50,000 per year to RCLS. Imagine: a consistent source of income such as this could …

…provide Variable Tuition funding for 15 or more students.

…fund critical campus upgrades, such as replacing the flooring in one wing of the school or upgrading other classroom equipment as necessary.

…fund the purchase of, well, we don’t know what urgent need there may be in a few years!

Who should be a part of The Grace Foundation?

The Grace Foundation started as an idea among several concerned parents talking around a kitchen table. Today, we are parents, grandparents, church members, and supporters of a school that has served our children well. We’re grateful for the members who share our vision, we marvel at the partnership that has been built with the school, and we look forward with great anticipation to a long-term financial legacy for RCLS. RCLS parents and supporters, will you join us in the work of building this legacy?

We invite you to two upcoming events. At these events, you can learn more about TGF, enjoy the fellowship of its supporters, and contribute to the mission of the Foundation, yourself.

The Grace Foundation annual member meeting: Thursday, January 30, 6:30 pm in the RCLS cafeteria. You’ll hear from Dr. David Carl, an RCLS alumni parent and the former Provost of the University of Minnesota-Rochester. Members and all RCLS supporters are invited to attend. Please RSVP by registering through the Login link on our website

Blue & White Night: Friday, March 13, 6:00 pm at the Rochester Hilton. You can get tickets now by  registering through the Login link on our website at

Blue & White Logo

Blue & White Night is a marvelously good time. This year, we have two goals for Blue & White Night. We hope to raise…

1.  $50,000 for much-needed new flooring in RCLS’s primary wing. The current flooring is years-old and in dire need of replacement. This is one of those urgent needs that The Grace Foundation loves to meet at RCLS. Giving to this cause will reap an immediate reward: by the time our students return to school in August 2020, they will be welcomed into freshly renovated classrooms.

2.  $50,000 for The Grace Foundation’s long-term investment fund for RCLS. This amount of money will put this fund at well over $200,000––nearly a quarter of a million dollars invested on RCLS’s behalf. Can you imagine? Giving to this cause will reap dividends, literally, for years to come, and will empower RCLS to continue to sow seeds of Grace, Faith, and Learning for Life for a generation of students yet to come. The rewards here? They’re eternal.


Questions about The Grace Foundation or interested in becoming a member? Join us at one of these events, check out our website at, or email Chris Baum––TGF President and RCLS parent–– at