Front Porch – the Challenge of a Successful Ministry
By Tad Miller, FP Council Member
I am a "Johnny-come-lately" to Front Porch and do not have all the answers, but I will share my observations. Front Porch is facing at least a $60,000-$70,000 shortfall challenge for 2017. The shortfall is the result of numerous circumstances that have created a sudden urgency.
Front Porch was created in 2004. For quite a few years it served a limited number of students, had the full financial support of the Santa Barbara Presbytery, and had passionate local support. There was more than enough money to meet the needs of the ministry.
When Pastor Joel Drenckpohl arrived as Director about four years ago, no one expected the level of success Front Porch currently enjoys. Likewise, no one considered the ramifications of such growth. Below are some examples of the increase in the number of students benefiting from Front Porch during that period.
In the early years, fundraising skills weren’t necessary for Front Porch’s Council because the financial support from donors and churches exceeded the expenses. In fact, the Council managed Front Porch conservatively and accumulated a surplus. As more students participated in Front Porch and operating costs increased, the surplus delayed recognition of the developing need. Front Porch was able to manage last year’s ~$60,000 shortfall because it began 2016 with a surplus and had received generous one-time donations from individuals. However by the end of 2016, the surplus was totally depleted. Belatedly, the Council realized we needed to become full-time fundraisers.
We are currently developing multiple campaigns with two goals. First, there is an immediate need to raise significant funds to successfully navigate 2017. Second, in order to avoid this dilemma in the future, we are working to increase funding from families and friends, churches, and Front Porch alumni.
The $60,000-$70,000 projected shortfall for this year does not consider the very real need for additional staff and resources. Joel and two interns currently staff Front Porch, which is not adequate to meet our current needs.
We all want the Front Porch ministry to continue growing, and we hope that you will join us as partners in this growth.