William McKinney Endowment for Innovation and Leadership

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For almost 145 years, Pacific School of Religion has forged a tradition of boldness reflected in the work of our graduates and faculty. Leaders trained at PSR have pioneered new directions at the heart of Christian tradition and have served at both the center and on the margins of society. They have worked on city streets and college campuses. They have forged new ministries among immigrant communities and revitalized and renewed established suburban and rural congregations. By remaining true to a dynamic and inclusive Gospel, they have helped define what it means to live together as faith communities in an era characterized by diversity and conflict, revolutionary technology, and widespread longing for spiritual connection.

A key leader for the most recent expression of this entrepreneurial spirit has been PSR’s president, Bill McKinney. In June 2010, he will retire after fourteen years of distinguished service to the school. His tenure has been marked by a remarkable period of growth and strengthening of PSR’s commitment to the academy, the church, and social justice.

After he took office in 1996, Bill’s first and formidable accomplishments were to help heal divisions straining faculty, trustees, and students; and to help the seminary achieve financial stability. He later led a major capital campaign (which raised over $12 million) and oversaw the founding of two unique centers: the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) and the Institute for Leadership Development and Study of Pacific and Asian North American Religion (PANA Institute). He was instrumental in the drafting and implementation of the seminary’s mission statement, its commitment to “serving God by equipping historic and emerging faith communities,” PSR’s Strategic Plan—and even the school’s motto: “A Tradition of Boldness.” An innovative thinker and teacher, President McKinney has challenged the PSR community to go beyond its walls to build relationships with constituencies that have not always been well served by mainstream religious traditions.

In establishing the William McKinney Endowment for Innovation and Leadership, the Board of Trustees of Pacific School of Religion seeks to honor President McKinney’s devotion to and accomplishments for the school. His commitment to innovation and leadership has helped shape a generation of leaders who are living out a call to work in ministries of compassion and justice for all of God’s creation.

The McKinney Endowment is designed to support future generations of faith-based leaders who can think and act theologically, pastorally, practically, and socially. Two goals are envisioned for the endowment. The short-term goal of the McKinney Endowment is to support special opportunities for innovation and leadership. The support of a visiting professor in new congregational development, resources for the new president of PSR to engage special opportunities, or new resources for diversity and multicultural competency, are efforts that could benefit from the McKinney Endowment. Gifts in the form of assets like cash, securities, or other real property would enable PSR to begin using the fund within one year of establishment. Our initial financial target for this goal is $200,000.

The long-term goal of the McKinney Endowment is the establishment of a faculty chair in innovation and leadership. Currently, no theological school in the western United States has a faculty chair devoted to research in congregational and community leadership and innovation. The development of entrepreneurial leadership is critical for the future of our faith-based communities. As many of our congregations continue to decline, leaders will need an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit more than ever. The McKinney Endowment will support this vital work. To fully fund a faculty chair at PSR requires an endowment of $2,500,000. Planned gifts, including charitable gift annuities, life insurance policies, charitable remainder trusts, and bequests are ways to contribute.

For more information about the McKinney Endowment, please contact Leslie Leasure, Director of Advancement and Alumni/ae Relations, at 510/849-8216.