March 9, 2020
Greetings during this Lenten season of prayer and preparation for Easter.
Over the past nine (9) weeks, Disciples Seminary Foundation (DSF) has undergone some significant changes, and I know many of you are anxious for an update. Due to present financial challenges and as a result of decisions made by the Executive Committee of the Board in early February, a few changes have taken place. DSF has implemented a workforce reduction of four positions, placed a moratorium on new student tuition scholarships for one year (2020-2021), and begun the exploration of the sale of the DSF office building located at 300 W. Foothill Blvd. in Claremont. Let me unpack these three actions.
Workforce Reduction – As of February 29, 2020, the following job positions were eliminated with no plans for replacement: Director of Mission and Peace Education, Director of DSF Discover (online learning program), Executive Assistant to the President, and the Bookkeeper. The years of service represented by those who left these positions range from 2 to 18 years.
A small gathering of staff took place in Claremont on February 27 to express appreciation for the gifts of the departing individuals who have been an important part of the DSF family. A letter from Marilyn Fiddmont, DSF’s Board Chair, was shared and warmly received by those departing. If you are interested in sharing thank you notes with persons involved, please contact Siobhan Lopez (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she will send names and contact information.
Student Tuition Scholarships and Travel Stipends – The decision has been made to place a one-year moratorium on new student tuition scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year, beginning Fall 2020. A "textbook/supply stipend" will be made available for any new DSF scholars who begins their degree program Fall 2020. The amount is yet to be determined.
DSF students currently in degree programs and receiving tuition scholarships will continue to receive them at the present rate through the completion of their degree programs. There is also a freeze on student travel stipends until further notice. We anticipate revising student covenant agreements to clarify the expectations for student involvement beyond the local congregation.
300 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA – In February, the Executive Committee affirmed the decision to explore the sale of 300 W. Foothill Blvd. in Claremont. DSF staff who continue to be in Claremont are considering future lease options. The sale of the building, like all other "major decisions," will be made by the full DSF Board of Trustees. We are in conversation with a couple of real estate brokers and will keep you informed as things progress.
In the next few months, there will be other shifts and changes and I will send updates as information becomes available. If you have questions and/or concerns regarding the content of this letter, please let me know. I can be reached via email (email@example.com), by text, or call at 909-532-0058.
Belva Brown Jordan
Disciples Seminary Foundation