on Wednesday, February 2, 2022

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College has been awarded a core funding grant by Baptist Community Ministries to promote and provide health, education, and counseling services to NOBTS and Leavell College families, and to the neighboring New Orleans community.

The BCM award consists of a series of three grants of $400,000 per year for three years, for a total gift of $1.2 million. The award began January 1, 2022.

“The BCM grant is a tremendous blessing for our seminary and a transformational opportunity for us to create new partnerships and to expand our community outreach,” said Mike Wetzel, NOBTS vice president of Institutional Advancement. “We are grateful for BCM and their continued efforts to provide life-changing support in the city of New Orleans.”

BCM is a faith-based, Christian philanthropic organization supporting projects and programs dedicated to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of individuals in a five-parish, greater New Orleans area, according to the organization’s website.

An award letter signed by Dianne McGraw, vice-chair of the BCM board of trustees notified NOBTS leaders of the grant.  

“The work of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has been deemed important to the community and for this reason the Board has selected your organization,” McGraw wrote.

Services in three targeted areas are the focus of the grant.

First, the funding supports the NOBTS Leeke Magee Counseling Center in providing free or affordable counseling services to the community and to seminary families. A sliding scale-fee structure is in place assuring that no one is turned away based on an inability to pay.

The financial gift will also undergird an annual continuing education conference presented by the NOBTS counseling division that facilitates training for counseling students, faculty, and counseling professionals as well as promoting training for the spiritual and emotional health of future church leaders.

Because of the grant, the NOBTS counseling division will equip the frontline childcare professionals of the NOBTS Early Learning Center with trauma-sensitive skills in their work with children. The NOBTS counseling faculty members are trained and certified in current methodologies such as Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Secondly, the grant will support the work of the NOBTS Early Learning Center in its care for children ages six weeks to five years through early learning experiences, special events, and by making available parenting classes to campus and community parents. Activities will focus on helping children grow cognitively, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.

Expanded access to healthcare and wellness resources for families is the focus of the third objective through a partnership with the Baptist Community Health Services (BCHS). Plans are in progress for an on-site clinic to open on the NOBTS campus to provide healthcare to NOBTS families and to families of the surrounding Gentilly neighborhoods.

Baptist Community Health Services provides quality primary medical care at five locations across the New Orleans area. With professional and qualified care providers, BCHS has been designated a Federally Qualified Health Center, meeting stringent requirements and providing care services in underserved areas.