Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. 2016, our thirty-third year of operating Mustard Seed Foundation, was a healthy year in the life of the Foundation.
This year, rather than beginning our letter with a summary of our granting, we want to start with saluting the remarkable people who comprise our staff and Board. Much of the joy in this ministry comes from working relationships with the people who make up our Mustard Seed family.
We are blessed to have an incredibly talented and experienced staff of five – Brian Bakke, Scott Bakke, Nancy Gray, Eric Hornberger and Lonni Jackson. Each of them has worked with Mustard Seed between 10 and 20 years, and their combined experience with MSF is 81 years! This small team manages an incredible portfolio of worldwide granting and scholarship programs, as well as nurturing our adult Board and our Junior Board. They effectively encourage grantees, traveling to many of our granting cities to visit ministries and to teach churches about grant writing and grant administration. We are grateful for each member of our staff team.
We also want to highlight our Board, comprised of three generations of members of the Harvey and Bakke families. Of our twelve Board members, six are permanent and six serve for terms of five years. This arrangement provides a rich mix of continuity and experience with fresh ideas and perspectives. Most of the permanent members have served since the Foundation’s beginning, an incredible commitment of 33 years! What a joy to be able to learn from family members and share with them the responsibility of stewarding funds to God’s glory and for His purposes. In 2016, Jill Nauta rotated off the Board after serving for five years, and Marilyn Pearson, who has previously served, joined the Board.
The teens in our families who participate in the Junior Board continue to learn about needs around the world, the persecuted church, and creative church-based ministries. They experience how a small amount of money can make a large impact for God’s Kingdom. Emma Bakke, Marta Bakke, and Chandler Nauta graduated from the Junior Board as they graduated from high school. We are thankful for their lives, their maturing faith, and their contributions to Mustard Seed.
Our total giving of about $2.1 million in 2016 remained fairly constant with the past few years. The Foundation awarded 290 grants to churches in 52 countries, with an average grant size of $5,000. We continue to partner with Christian churches of all denominations that have a dynamic heart to share the good news of Jesus Christ, to nurture and disciple their congregations, and to minister to practical needs in their communities.
Theology of Work, our granting program to teach the biblical view of the transformative power of secular work, awarded 29 grants totaling just over $200,000. This represents courses that equipped over 4,000 people in 22 countries.
In 2016 we awarded approximately $400,000 to 40 Christian graduate students who excel in their fields and who are poised to lead in their disciplines. Twenty five Fellows gathered in Washington, DC for our biannual Summer Institute on integrating faith into all areas of professional and personal life. We are grateful for the Harvey Fellows alumni who lead or serve as speakers at the 5-day Institute, as well as the many alumni who read and review new applications each year.
As God’s beloved children, every aspect of our lives – our talents, our time, our relationships, and our material resources – belong to Him. He gives lavishly to us all that we need. Because He loves us, we delight in loving and sharing with others in His name. Thank you for your interest in the Mustard Seed Foundation and for taking the time to review this Annual Report. We pray the stories represented here will bless and encourage you.
Eileen Harvey Bakke
Dennis W. Bakke