For more than a century, Pacific School of Religion has attracted the support and interest of visionaries, people who saw that a strong progressive Christian tradition requires the preparation of strong progressive Christian leaders, now and into the future. Many of these people have made gifts that contribute significantly to the long-term financial stability of the school.
The Julia and Frederick Billings Society honors the memory and spirit of two such individuals. Though their gifts came to us generations ago their legacy of generosity and commitment live on today.
Frederick Billings served as attorney general of the young state of California and established the first law office in San Francisco. When the small town across the bay needed a name, he chose his favorite philosopher, Bishop George Berkeley. He eventually returned to the East to manage his growing railroad interests and became president of the Northern Pacific. His commitment to the church ran deep and led to friendship with and support for PSR’s early leaders.
After his death, Julia made her first gift to PSR as a memorial to her husband. Her generosity continued through the years and at the time of her death in 1914, Julia Billings had given to PSR the sum of $95,000. She was a donor with vision, a commitment to theological education, and an understanding of what gifts to the present can mean to future generations.
After the 1906 earthquake seriously damaged the school, she sent $15,000 for repairs, writing that she hoped her gift would be a “blessing now and to coming generations standing now and always for the truth.”
To us, every person who includes PSR in their will or estate plan, or who makes a planned gift that will benefit PSR in the future, stands in the shoes of Julia and Frederick Billings. Membership in The Billings Society is open to those making commitments to the endowment at PSR through bequests or other deferred gifts, or those who can make a gift of $50,000 or more to PSR’s endowment fund. There are a variety of deferred gifts available which may fit your personal financial situation.
Membership in this society is reserved for our most generous donors. It’s also reserved for everyone who believes in the value of theological education at PSR enough to support it with a gift that is longer than a single lifetime.
Do you have a vision for progressive theological education?
Do you want Christian communities to have the kind of bold leadership and commitment to compassion and justice that PSR graduates are known for?
Do you have the means to bless future generations with your legacy?
For more information, please phone or write the Office of Institutional Advancement at Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley CA 94709, (510) 849-8279.