New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has been awarded a $1,005,000 core funding grant to support the school's community counseling and childhood education efforts.
"We have a deep commitment to making a positive impact on our community through ministry engagement and community partnerships," NOBTS Chancellor Chuck Kelley said of the grant provided by Baptist Community Ministries (BCM) "[BCM] has given us one of the largest grants in our history and it will be used to help make New Orleans a better place to live."
BCM is a faith-based Christian organization supporting projects and programs that enhance the health, education and public safety in the five-parish, greater New Orleans region. According to the organization's website, BCM is committed to the task of improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of the individuals they serve.
The grant awarded to NOBTS, which will be distributed over a three-year period, will support the work of the Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center and Danielson Early Learning Center (ELC) at the seminary. Both centers provide vital services to underserved communities in New Orleans -- the Leeke Magee Center through affordable counseling services and the Danielson ELC through affordable child education services.
"The grant will allow us to expand access to Christian counseling through our Leeke Magee Center and to enlarge our training program for students called to the work of helping others," Kelley said. "It will also enable us to strengthen our Danielson Center for Early Learning, which serves the children of our campus and the community."
The Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center opened in 2014 on the NOBTS campus, providing an array of biblical, evidenced-based counseling services to address the mental health and relational counseling needs of the New Orleans area. Since 2014, the counseling center has provided nearly 10,000 hours of counseling, including $500,000 in pro bono counseling -- no one is turned away due to an inability to pay.
"The BCM grant will allow the seminary to further expand our counseling services and to organize an annual counseling conference for training and continuing education," said Ian Jones, chairman of the division of church and community ministries at NOBTS. "The grant is an answer to prayer and it will have an impact on students, faculty, staff and those people seeking counseling services, both now and in the years to come."
A long-term fixture on the NOBTS campus, the Danielson ELC is a Tier III childcare center licensed and approved by the Louisiana Department of Education for early childhood education. The ELC provides quality childcare and educational programming for children ages 6 weeks to kindergarten for children from seminary families and those in the surrounding community. The center also serves as a model early learning center for the community and local churches.