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Strong relationship with foundation persists with new matching gift

August 18th, 2020

Softball clubhouse in progress

The Sunderland Foundation has awarded Bethel College a challenge grant as part of the college's Engage the Future capital campaign.

Bethel’s connection with the Sunderland Foundation reaches back two decades.

“The Sunderland Foundation’s history with Bethel is very strong,” said Brad Kohlman, Bethel vice president for institutional advancement. “Over the past 20 years, they have been part of every capital project – Krehbiel Science Center, Voth Hall, Thresher Stadium, Will Academic Center and [major renovations to] the fine arts center.

“This time, we reached out for something special – $1 million for Engage the Future.”

Founded in 1945, the Kansas City-based Sunderland Foundation’s focus is on funding bricks and mortar projects – including planning, design, construction, repairs, and restoration – that “allow nonprofits to fulfill their mission,” according to the foundation’s website.

The foundation’s latest grant to Bethel is specifically for the Wellness Center, a centerpiece of Engage the Future; the new softball clubhouse; and a football locker room to be built as a free-standing structure north of Goering Hall.

“In order to meet the challenge, we need to have the funding for these projects committed by January 2022,” Kohlman said.

Work is proceeding on the softball clubhouse, which is expected to be completed in time for the spring 2021 season.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. For more information, see  

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.