NOTE: Lutheran Foundation has not yet updated the goals and funding strategy in this Funding Focus Area. Additional research and conversations with local and national stakeholders are being conducted.
Funding Goal: To support a system of St. Louis area Lutheran schools dedicated to excellence in Christian education.
PLEASE NOTE: Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis does NOT provide direct assistance to individuals. Funding is provided to area organizations who, in turn, work directly with individuals.
Nearly 7,000 young people attend one of 35 Lutheran elementary, middle, or high schools in the St. Louis region. Lutheran schools are driven by a commitment to the Gospel and are focused on a mission of bringing hope and healing to students and their families. Most schools meet or exceed state and national academic standards at all grade levels; all help to develop a minimum of 30 developmental assets in children.
From its inception, Lutheran churches and schools have gone hand-in-hand, with Lutheran schools serving as one of the best tools congregations have to tell the story of Jesus Christ to the next generation. While nearly half of students attend a Lutheran church, Lutheran schools are also for the community – 35 percent of students nationally attend other Christian churches and 17 percent have no faith home. This number increases significantly in urban settings.
In the past three decades, Lutheran schools have experienced shifting enrollments and changes in their business model. As recently as fifteen years ago, church members paid little or no tuition; today the average local elementary tuition is $5,000 for non-church members. These changes have led some schools, particularly those in the urban core, to seek outside financial assistance; some have had to close their doors.
Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis has directed a significant portion of our funding over the past 25+ years to ensure that children of our community have an opportunity to attend a Lutheran school of their choice. In the 2014 - 2018 strategic funding plan, Lutheran Foundation again affirmed its commitment to supporting Lutheran schools of excellence in our community.
The Foundation's Board continues to conduct research and speak with local and national stakeholders to determine the Foundation's future goals and funding interests in this funding focus area.