Anonymous Donor Helps Emerald Christian Academy

June 21, 2015 | Serena Liu

For Emerald Christian Academy (ECA), the annual Emerald Expo held special meaning this year. School staff, students, families and church families gathered on the last Thursday evening of April to hear the news: The school debt of $178,000 had been paid off by an anonymous donor.

ECA, a private K–10 school in Pleasant Hill, Ore., struggled for years to overcome a deficit that seemed almost too big to overcome. Community, staff, families and church families worked hard to make a dent in the large figure, but the progress seemed slow. The financial committee came up with a plan that would pay the debt off over a 23-year period but then received news that an anonymous donor wanted to help. “Someone with a heart for Christian education wanted the school to be able to move forward and build, rather than focus on debt,” says Sheldon Eakins, ECA principal. “A huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders.”

The celebration ceremony at the Emerald Expo featured a performance from the school band, a speech about the donation from the Oregon Conference associate superintendent Angela White, and dinner outside followed by cake and ice cream. At dusk, the ceremony concluded with a symbolic burning of the debt — the Pleasant Hill fire crew pulled in, sirens blazing, and stood by while Eakins set fire to a giant check. After much applause and cheering, visitors eagerly dispersed to go visit the classrooms and see projects on display with subjects ranging from U.S. history to creating computer and board games.

This donation, combined another large matching donation at the annual auction fundraising throughout the year, will allow the school to not only pay off the large debt but make much needed repairs and improvements around the school. Throughout the evening, one recurring theme was heard: “Praise the Lord!”