Today, we find our world at a tipping point. From the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Roe v Wade to the more than 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills currently making their way through our legislative bodies, to the historical erasure and systematic dehumanization of BIPOC communities, the political realities of the past five years have made our country and our world a more cruel, more bigoted, and more dangerous place for the most vulnerable among us.
In this moment of collective fear and uncertainty, we are called to sow seeds of hope and liberation. At Starr King, we began this work long ago, the fruits of which we have seen borne out in the Unitarian Universalist and progressive religious leaders who have left our school thoroughly equipped for these challenging times.
These trying times demand that we continue to sow these seeds – to help more people answer their call to progressive religious leadership, and to equip those leaders and their communities with the tools to counter oppressions and create just and sustainable communities.
To advance this ambitious goal, Starr King has identified four critical priorities for funding that will ensure the school’s future success:
A Message from our President, Reverend Rosemary Bray McNatt
At Starr King School for the Ministry, our aim is to prepare people for Unitarian Universalist and progressive religious leadership in the 21st century.
Two years ago, after reflecting on the needs of our fractured world, we envisioned how Starr King could best help the next generation of progressive religious leaders answer their sacred call. This led our school to create a roadmap for how we could become the hub for counter-oppressive theological education in the next five years.
As the hub for counter-oppressive theological education, Starr King will be a recognized authority on educating to counter oppressions, standing at the intersection of academic scholarship and practice. We will be a driver of justice conversations, a thought leader in theological education and religious leadership, a sought-out resource by established practitioners and by seekers of change, and one of the best schools for religious and lay leaders to learn how to engage in sacred social change work.
We have already begun this vital work, but we need your help to make this vision of the school a reality.
Now is the time to help Starr King sow seeds of hope. I ask you to make a tangible gift as evidence of the confidence we share in how Starr King and the students we educate can help to turn the tide and facilitate the world’s turning toward liberation and flourishing.
We seek to create a firm financial foundation for the school by encouraging the creation of endowed unrestricted funds and other unrestricted gifts.
Starr King needs more endowed funds to support the general activities of the school, including expansion of our educational model, ongoing maintenance of our facilities, and support of the school’s day-to-day activities.
I officially began this journey toward ministry in 2019 after postponing it for many years. I was recently divorced and raising my two children when that voice spoke to me again and said “this is the time.” I realized that a person like me, raised Muslim and adopted by Unitarian Universalism, could become a minister in this tradition. But the fears of how to afford school almost stopped me. Starr King has a heart for supporting students through all the spiritual, emotional, and financial challenges and growth that happens through seminary. Scholarships make seminary possible.” – Jamili Omar, Current Starr King Student
We seek to expand our ability to offer generous scholarships to students, making a Starr King education possible for even more people while reducing their debt.
Starr King continuously receives tremendous interest from prospective students due to the school’s student-focused pedagogy and expansive multi-religious perspective on theological education.
Year after year, the barrier to enrollment most often cited by these talented students is the lack of adequate financial aid. We also believe that building our scholarship funds is a justice issue, so our future graduates can acquire a Starr King education and commit to ministries of hope and liberation with less student debt.
Thus, growing our endowment to provide more full scholarships is a significant priority of this campaign.
By creating endowed professorships, we can attract and retain faculty with keen insight and deep commitment to Unitarian Universalism, multi-religious studies, and counter-oppressive education.
Building a robust, inclusive, and sustainable faculty is a strong priority of this campaign. We anticipate fundraising for at least one endowed faculty chair, likely for Unitarian Universalist history. We also hope to strengthen funding for existing faculty support and welcome the creation of new faculty support funds.
Our faculty is at the heart of a Starr King education. Students come to Starr King because of the depth and breadth of the experience and expertise of our faculty. Through our student-centered advising model, our faculty advisors guide students on their individual career paths; helping them network and make connections in their respective fields of religious or spiritual leadership. With additional funding, we can establish an endowed faculty chair that supports an additional full time faculty member and advisor for our students. We can also invite additional adjunct faculty to teach a wide variety of exciting new courses. Through these faculty additions, Starr King will continue to expand our offerings, remaining on the leading edge of theological education.” – Rev. Dr. Gabriella Lettini, Dean of Faculty
We believe in the value of experiential learning opportunities, and supporting students through scholarship programs focused on Starr King immersion classes is a crucial focus of this campaign.
Starr King offers innovative immersion courses here in the United States and abroad that give students unique opportunities for experiential learning. For too many students, however, the cost to participate in these rich opportunities is a significant barrier. A specific fund is needed to support this important learning mode.
“As a UU minister whose spiritual roots originate outside of Unitarian Universalism, I found the Mindful Walk in Transylvania to be deeply grounding in this faith. It’s one thing to read about historical figures like King Sigismund and Frances David but it was totally different to experience the birthplace of the first law advocating freedom of religion. Not only was the pilgrimage rich in experiential learning, but the walk through the picturesque countryside was beautiful and hospitality of the local community members who fed us and welcomed us into their homes was so warm. It’s been 5 years since my trip, and I still feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a formative and delightful experience.”
– Rev. E.N. Hill, 2020 Graduate
“I think it is important that I place myself in uncomfortable settings at times. It shakes me out of complacency and challenges me to think differently, I am forced to review my life and assess whether I am doing what I really want to be doing.
This pilgrimage [I took] was also an opportunity to explore spirituality. Recently I have been challenged to expand my understanding of myself, identifying myself as more than just my mind, body and emotional self, which is the traditional triad that Western society uses to describe our personalities.”
– Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee, 2018 Graduate
“Our students enroll at Starr King because they believe our programs will best prepare them for progressive religious ministry and social-change leadership. Experiential learning opportunities provide an integral component to their education, crafting spaces for the integration of theory and practice as they encounter, minister to, and practice solidarity with diverse communities. These experiences include field education internships in congregations and nonprofit organizations, Clinical Pastoral Education units in health care settings, the Polity class at the UUA General Assembly, and international and domestic immersions.”
– Rev. Dr. Chris Schelin, Dean of Students
We ask you to join us in this sacred work, to help us sow seeds of hope and liberation, and to fund your deepest values by making a financial commitment to The Campaign for Starr King.
Your gift will help us to counter the forces of oppression that seek to divide us. Together, we can nurture communities of love, healing, and resistance, and foster the next generation of progressive religious leaders.
Make a Gift
Write a check to Starr King School for the Ministry or make a gift online at www.sksm.edu/donate. Please note on the check or giving form that this is a campaign gift.
Make a pledge gift to give more over time. You can make payments on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Set up your pledge at www.sksm.edu/donate.
Stock gifts present a great opportunity to support Starr King’s counter-oppressive mission because your gift is mutually beneficial — we receive the full value of the stock, while you avoid paying capital gains tax. Learn more at www.sksm.edu/givingsecurities.
There are many giving options to choose from besides simply writing a check. Two of the simplest options to set up are bequests and beneficiary designations. Learn more at www.sksm.edu/legacy.
Dedicate your IRA’s Required Minimum Distribution to Starr King. Visit www.sksm.edu/IRA for more details.
Acting Director of Advancement