Strategic collaboration with universities is a game-changer for the ministry of Buckner International. Why? There are three reasons:
First, universities shape the leaders of today and tomorrow. I want those leaders to know about the incredible work Buckner does, both in Texas and outside the USA. Universities provide volunteers, interns, mission trip volunteers, future staff, donors, and trustees. Students can make a difference now through service projects, like Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls and volunteer time with vulnerable children, families, and seniors. Investing in students now is an investment into the future. Collaboration with universities near Buckner ministry sites makes a lot of sense for talent acquisition and opportunities to serve during the university experience, the formative years for a lifetime of vocation. It makes sense for universities to offer service opportunities as part of the educational experience.
Second, collaborating with other nonprofit organizations in mutually beneficial ways makes both organizations stand out as unique.
Third, supporters of nonprofits affirm efforts of nonprofits they love when they observe collaborative work for the greater good. These universities provide potential educational opportunities for Buckner International team members and associates as part of our talent development program.
In the last few years, Buckner launched collaborative relationships with Howard Payne University, Wayland Baptist University, and Campbellsville University; and Texas Baptist Men for connections to Buckner ministries in West Texas, South Texas, and international locations. During the past few weeks, I've connected with General Ronnie Hawkins, the new president of Angelo State University (ASU) for West Texas connections; Dr. Steven Mason, the new president of LeTourneau University; and Dr. Blair Blackburn, president of East Texas Baptist University for East Texas connections to Buckner ministry; and in early April I met with Dr. Gene Crume, president of Judson University to explore potential collaboration. In March I had the privilege of speaking at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas, hosted by Dr. Todd Still, dean, and met with him to explore potential collaboration. Previously, I have been in touch with Dr. Adam Wright of Dallas Baptist University and president Eric Bruntmeyer at Hardin Simmons University.
President Ronnie Hawkins is a visionary leader shaping the future of ASU through a values-journey. He's led ASU to zoom past an enrollment of 10,000 with innovative programs. Dr. Steven Mason is an incredible scholar and visionary leader influencing the future of LETU as the Christian Polytechnic University. Dr. Blair Blackburn championed ETBU to soar past an enrollment of 1,700 with dynamic plans for the future. Dr. Gene Crume led Judson to dramatically increase Hispanic enrollment from 10 percent a few years ago to an astonishing 32 percent of the student body, positioning the school as a multicultural center for Christian higher education. Dr. Todd Still leads Truett to be an influencer in evangelical circles with a passion for the local church and nonprofit ministries. Dr. Adam Wright does an excellent job leading DBU, and president Bruntmeyer has a passion to recruit and develop disadvantaged student leaders for the future.. These outstanding schools pave the way toward an exciting future and prepare leaders for a life of vocation. I am pleased to know and engage these leaders and the student leaders at their schools.