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Committing to the Long View

As managers of Vos Floral, a successful greenhouse operation in Hamilton, Paul Vos and Peter Vos have found an effective way to extend financial support to Providence Christian School. Both brothers have seen their own children benefit from a holistic Christian education and are committed to helping Providence Christian School flourish in years to come.

Since 2008, the two brothers have contributed a set amount of earnings from Vos Floral  to the school’s long-term support fund. This annual giving, facilitated by the Christian School Foundation, has had a significant impact on Providence Christian School’s financial health. Over the years, their collective gifts have doubled the underlying capital base of the school’s long-term fund.

Paul and his brother opted for this giving strategy after thoughtfully considering how to best steward their blessings.

“We looked at it and realized that our business couldn’t afford to give one massive lump sum that was really going to help the school,” said Paul.

Giving a smaller sum over a number of years, on the other hand, would allow them to donate a larger amount over time.

Paul explained that he and Peter didn’t want the annual sum to be so big that it would prevent them from giving to the more immediate needs of the school. “Both are needed to keep the school thriving,” he said.

The brothers like that their donations to Providence’s long-term fund will have a lasting impact.

“It’s building on a legacy amount that will keep paying back the school over time,” said Paul.

As treasurer of Providence Christian School, he recognizes that contributing to a long-term fund, in addition to meeting the more immediate budgetary needs, is important.

“You’re not constantly thinking we have to make the budget, we have to make the budget. You can look at longer term solutions.”

It’s a response that will hopefully play a part in making Christian education more affordable for parents.

“I think the cost of Christian education is starting to become a bigger percentage of our gross income than it was say 20 or 30 years ago,” reflected Paul. “The long-term approach is a way of supplementing the school’s income, essentially, and making it affordable for more families.”

Today Christian education comes with a hefty price tag for a variety of reasons. Lack of government funding has always kept costs high for the average Christian school parent, but current trends in education also present schools, (and in turn, families,) with new expenses.  Reflecting on his own children’s school, Paul noted that technology in the classroom—something once viewed as a luxury—is becoming an essential. “And it’s tough to afford those things without pulling money out of the parent’s pockets every time,” he said.

Paul’s desire to make Christian education a more affordable option for parents also stems from his own upbringing. He and his brother know that their parents made significant sacrifices in order to give them a Christ centered education.

“They went through a lot tougher financial times than we did and they made it work.”

Both Paul and Peter want to see more families “make it work”, so that Christian education can thrive at all levels. According to Paul, there’s a lot to be excited about in Christian schools today. For instance, Providence Christian School, where his children attend, is now reaching out to a wider range of families. “It’s great. It’s very exciting to see a future with my kids with all different people worshiping the same God”.

Paul has also been impressed by the school’s renewed missional focus. Students are “going out into the community and helping out—going to local charities like the Good Shepherd Centre, so that the school can be a blessing to the surrounding area too.”

So, how can others with a passion for Christian education continue to help schools like Providence Christian School flourish?

Offering financial support is certainly a good place to start.

For Paul and Peter, that kind of involvement has inspired a commitment to the long view. And, their contributions have translated into immediate results as well—the annual benefit to the school, for the present year as well, has now doubled in comparison to past years.
“There’s a lot of small businesses out there that I know could do the same thing,” said Paul.  “If you can get a few thinking the same way, it really helps.”