A Fresh Start



For five months, the halls of MLS have been relatively silent. What a blessing it is to hear students’ voices back on campus! The start of a new school year looks a bit different this year, but what has not changed is our trust in God to bless our school and foundation.

Over the summer we began a new fiscal year at the foundation. It is a good time to reflect on all the blessings God has given us over the past year. We are so thankful for donors who help us achieve our mission of supporting MLS and its students!

A copy of our annual report can be viewed here:

Annual Report





Progress Continues on the Backyard Project

As soon as work was able to resume, quick progress was made on the new press box, concessions, and restroom facility. The underground electrical and water lines were run, and now the walls are being constructed! 

Other News from the Foundation

Our gift card fundraising program, Shop with Scrip, has a new mobile app called RaiseRight. You can find all your favorite gift cards in the app, and your purchases help the foundation support MLS! There are lots of e-gift cards available (called ScripNOW) so you can email a card to your favorite student. 



November Update

It’s hard to believe that October is over, and we are setting our clocks back this weekend as we head into the busy holiday season!

There have been many changes on campus these past few months. We installed new, safe bleachers for both the visitor and home sides of the athletic field. We are preparing for the next phase of the Big Backyard project, which will include a permanent press box, concessions stand, and restrooms. These will all be a great improvement to the campus of Michigan Lutheran Seminary. The MLS Foundation is thankful for the many generous donors who are making this project possible!

Big Backyard Information


November also marks the kick-off of our annual Student Need Fund campaign called Light Up a Student’s Life. Every year in November and December, gifts to the Light Up a Student’s Life campaign support financial assistance for students attending MLS.

Those who give to the Light Up a Student’s Life program have an opportunity to make a gift in honor of, or in memory of, a special person. These gifts will be recognized by the lighting of a large Christmas tree in the commons. This year we were able to purchase a new 9′ tree, thanks to a Thrivent Action Team grant! For each $10 gift, a white light ornament will be placed on the tree with the name of the individual being honored or remembered. We will also send a Christmas card to the family or honoree recognizing your caring gift to MLS and its students.

Light Up a Student’s Life Information


At their October meeting, members of the MLS Foundation board of directors approved grant funding for three projects on campus. Gifts to the greatest need allow the MLS Foundation board flexibility to fund these special items when requests are presented from faculty and staff.

  1. We are pleased to provide shirts for members of the VIP group. These students assist with move-in day and giving visitors a taste of what it’s like on campus. They play an important role in encouraging grade-school students to consider attending MLS for high school.
  2. Grant funding was also approved for a set of portable disc golf goals. These will primarily be used for 9th and 10th grade PE classes, but students will also be able to check them out for use after classes and on weekends.
  3. Recently the student body mourned the loss of the 31-year-old ice cream machine in the cafeteria. It was a sad day on campus when the machine stopped working. Because it was so old, the parts were no longer available. The foundation board approved funding to purchase a new machine – just in time for the open house and Cardinal for a Day events that were held on October 25. The visiting grade-school students were thrilled that they could have ice cream with their lunch!

View More Projects Here


Be sure to follow us on social media for more information and updates!

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Welcome Back, Seminary Family!

It’s hard to believe, but summer is nearly over and classes began this week at MLS. As we begin another school year, we reflect and thank God for the blessings He has given the foundation and Michigan Lutheran Seminary. More information is available in our annual report.

Our Annual Report


Big Backyard Update

The home bleachers are now installed on campus, and they look great! We are excited for this improvement to campus, which will provide safe and comfortable seating for all who attend outdoor events at MLS. 

The next phase of the Big Backyard project includes a permanent press box, a concessions area, and restrooms. Learn more and watch for updates on our projects page. 

Big Backyard Project


Tailgate Party

We have finalized plans for this year’s Homecoming Tailgate Party, and you’re invited! Join us under the big tent on October 4 for food, fellowship, and fun! Many reunion classes are planning to join us. If you are planning a reunion at homecoming, contact us and we will reserve your class a table together. 

Tailgate Party


Scrip Program Updates

If you purchase gift cards for gifts or for your regular shopping, consider ordering them through the foundation to earn donations on every card you purchase! Physical cards are available as well as electronic gift cards that can be immediately delivered to your email address (or sent as a gift to any email address you specify). 

A recent update includes the ability to easily link your bank account for payments and the ability to pay online with a credit or debit card. Using a card or instant payment means that your electronic cards will be delivered instantly – with no waiting for us to process your order!

Contact us for details and to get started with Scrip! 

Contact Us

EAster Greetings

As we rejoice in our risen Savior, we can appreciate the earthly analogy that Martin Luther used about the resurrection: “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” What a wonderful reminder that the message of Easter is seen in all God’s creation as it awakens from the darkness of winter. From the beautiful Easter lily on the church’s altar to the budding of every shrub and tree in our yards, the renewal of the promise of our salvation and Christ’s victory over sin is shown to us.

This quote from Luther is also a simple way for us to share the message of what our Lord has done for all people. The awakening of the earthly world from the gloom of winter to the rebirth of spring is often a conversation between family, friends, and acquaintances. What an opportunity to compare the darkness of sin and the joy of the resurrection and salvation with these same people!

The calling to proclaim the Easter message to all nations has always been the foundation of Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Since 1910 the president, faculty, and staff have encouraged students to consider the work of the full-time ministry. We should never take this work lightly; but strengthen those at MLS with our prayers, conversations, and support.

The MLS Foundation joyfully continues our mission of supporting Michigan Lutheran Seminary and its students for the work of the church. It is our privilege to help with MLS’s current needs while also considering the needs of the future. Through the support of donors like you, we are able to make a difference in the lives of students attending our WELS preparatory school. We are grateful to you for partnering with us in the support of this training!

Below are some of the ways you can help with this life changing work.

Student Need Fund—We just made our second annual distribution of $100,000 to MLS for tuition assistance! Our goal is to do this every year! We currently have a balance of $32,578 in this fund. Your gift to this fund will directly impact MLS students, as gifts from this fund have been used for tuition assistance. Your gift to this fund will make sure the students at MLS are being supported so that they can grow in their faith and training as they prepare to be leaders in our church.

Capital Improvement FundBig Backyard Update—Thanks to many generous donors we are making progress and getting ready to start construction of the home side bleachers and a new press box. As many of you know, we installed new visitor bleachers last summer. Safety was a major concern for replacing both sets of bleachers. The old press box has been demolished and a new three-level press box that will include a concession area, storage, and bathrooms is planned for this summer. We need your help; your gift will help us pay down our Lutheran Association for Church Extension (LACE) project loan. The approximate cost to complete this phase will be $345,000.

Greatest Need—Gifts of financial support help the MLS Foundation carry out its mission. This critical funding gives the Board of Directors flexibility to help where help is needed most when making grant requests or giving out a distribution. These needs may be critical or emergency individual or campus needs.

Long-term Endowment—We want to continue to build a solid foundation and a lasting revenue stream for the future. Gifts to the endowment fund help make future budgeting more predictable based upon projected distributions. We currently take a distribution of 4% of the fund, based on the valuation date of December 31 of each year. Over the past three years, over $149,500 has been distributed from the fund to support the mission of the foundation.

In Christian Service,

Joshua Wakefield
Donor Relations Director

Please take a moment to visit our giving page to see more opportunities to make an impact immediately! You can also follow our Facebook page to see the many ways that the MLS Foundation assists MLS and its students through events and activities.


Donate Now


Continue reading “Easter Greetings”

Big Backyard Update

Last week marked a big change to the athletic field – the press box was demolished to make way for the new bleachers, press box, concessions area, and restrooms.

As you can see from the photos and in the video, the roof was in bad shape. It didn’t take much to knock down the structure! We are excited for these much-needed updates to campus, which will provide safe seating for spectators and a safe & comfortable area for press and announcers to view the games.

Support the Project

Press Box Demolition

The foundation is so excited for the next phase of the Big Backyard project to begin! The MLS maintenance staff has begun careful demolition of the press box to make way for installation of the new press box (which will include restrooms and a concessions area underneath) and new, safe bleachers for the home section. 

This project is being supported by the MLS Foundation’s generous donors, so it does not have an impact on the school’s normal operating budget. The project is being broken into phases which are being completed as funding becomes available. The first and second phases involved the office consolidation and replacement of the visitors’ bleachers.

Removing the siding – March 29, 2019

Continue reading “Phase Three Begins!”

We’re Placing a Scrip Order Soon!

Order Deadline: 12/14/2018

We will be placing a Scrip order for physical gift cards, to arrive in time for Christmas.

Give a gift that gives back! Order gift cards through our Scrip program to earn donations for the MLS Foundation. Then use your gift cards for everyday purchases, like gas and groceries, or give them as gifts this Christmas season.

There are over 700 different retailers that participate with the Scrip program! View a list of cards available by visiting ShopWithScrip.com.  For a limited time, many retailers are offering gift cards in denominations as low as $10!

Link your bank account using PrestoPay® to order eGift cards that you can download within minutes, or email to gift recipients!

View the Promotions page of our website or call for more information on how to participate in our Scrip program.

How it Works

  1. Buy physical gift cards, eGift cards, and reloadable gift cards at face value
    on ShopWithScrip.com or the mobile website, MyScripWallet.com.
  2. Easily pay online and earn a rebate between 2% and 16% that immediately
    goes toward funding for the MLS Foundation.
  3. Use gift cards for your shopping, or to give as gifts.

November News

Light Up a Student’s Life Begins

This November begins our annual “Light Up a Student’s Life” campaign, where donors can make a gift in honor of, or in memory of, a special person. Gifts will be acknowledged by the lighting of a Christmas tree in the MLS commons. We will also send a Christmas card to the person being honored or the family of the person being remembered as a way to acknowledge your caring gift to MLS and its students. 

Gifts received through the Light Up a Student’s Life campaign benefit the Student Need Fund, which provides financial assistance for MLS students.

Click for Information


Christmas Gifts that Give Back

For many people, November begins the Christmas shopping season. Please consider using our Scrip program to give gifts that give back to the MLS Foundation. 

Find gifts for everyone on your list while raising funds for our organization. Shop gift cards from over 750 top brands, including Best Buy, Amazon, Nordstrom, The Home Depot and more. Whether you buy the gift cards to give as presents to family and friends, or to use them to buy your gifts—our organization earns with every gift card purchased. It’s simple, it’s thoughtful and it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Shop the gift guide at ShopWithScrip.com/GiftGuide or click the image below.



Now It’s Easier to Use Scrip

We are excited to announce the new and improved PrestoPay process for ordering Scrip cards!

Now you can instantly link your bank account to ShopWithScrip and start shopping right away. Electronic cards are delivered right away to your email address – so it’s perfect for all your last-minute gift and shopping needs!

Step 1

Sign Up

Visit www.shopwithscrip.com and click on “Join a Program.”

Step 2

Your Account

Enter our enrollment code to link your order to the MLS Foundation. Please contact us if you need the code.

You’ll select two challenge questions and provide answers. This will help secure your account and will allow you to reset your password if you forget it. 

Step 3

Set Up PrestoPay

Click the “Payment Types” link from your dashboard once you’re logged in to your account. Follow the steps to enroll in PrestoPay by instantly linking your bank account. 

Step 4


That’s it! You’re ready to click on “Shop” and order your cards. Select “ScripNOW!” for electronic cards that will be delivered to your email address within minutes, or select physical cards to have them arrive at the foundation office within a few business days. 

Please note that using PrestoPay charges a small $0.15 convenience fee for processing payments. This will automatically be added to your total. Currently you can’t link a credit card because the fees would negate any rebate earnings that would be donated to the foundation through the Scrip program. 

Here’s how using Scrip can help earn donations for the MLS Foundation:

Moving Week!

It’s official – we are in the process of moving our office upstairs. While we don’t expect much disruption to our normal office functions, please be aware that there may be a brief period of downtime while our phone lines are transferred to the new office.

Special thanks to the MLS maintenance staff for their help with the entire Big Backyard Project and especially with moving all our boxes and furniture! (Can you find Ed hiding behind all those boxes?)

The Big Backyard Project

Now that the MLS office consolidation is nearly complete, the next phase of the Big Backyard Project has already been started!


The visitor’s side bleachers are being removed today to make room for new, safer replacements. Watch for more updates, coming soon!

Foundation Office Move

The walls have been painted, the carpet has been installed, and we will be moving upstairs next week! Please be aware that this may affect our ability to answer phones and email on Wednesday through Friday as we work to transfer everything to our new space. 

Watch for another announcement once we are settled in!


Cardinal Spirit Award

Please join us in congratulating the newest recipients of the Cardinal Spirit Award, Rev. Daniel & Mrs. Eunice Westendorf. The Westendorfs were presented with the award at the annual MLS volunteer appreciation dinner on March 10. 

We give thanks to God for the service of all volunteers who support of Michigan Lutheran Seminary! For more information on volunteer opportunities at MLS, please visit the Volunteer Corps page of the school’s website.

To view prior recipients of the Cardinal Spirit Award, please click here


“We look forward to improving the environment of MLS, where students learn and grow in their faith.”


Big Backyard Project

Josh’s Update

We continue to make progress with the Big Backyard project. It is exciting to see the improvements and changes that are being made.

The office consolidation portion of the project is nearly complete. The faculty and administration are moving into their new office space and work areas as I write this update.

Gifts continue to come in, as we have received over $130,000 (as of 12/28/2017). Many donors have set up monthly pledges to support the long-term scope of the project.

We continue to gain momentum and are hoping to finish phase one in the spring/summer of 2018, which would include new bleachers and a press box for the athletic field.

We trust that God will continue to bless the efforts of many. We look forward to improving the environment of MLS, where students learn and grow in their faith.


Support the Project

Office Consolidation Update

Many of you know that, as part of the Big Backyard project, the MLS business and administration offices are being combined in a central area near the Hardin Street entrance. 

As of today, the MLS Business Office has moved into their new location. However, this also means that there is currently nobody available to let visitors in through the Court Street entrance. If you are planning to visit the MLS Foundation and wish to enter through the Court Street entrance, please call ahead (989-793-7511) so we can meet you upstairs and open the door. Otherwise, you may enter MLS through the main administrative entrance on Hardin Street (near the Martin Luther statue).

The MLS maintenance staff will soon work on a few updates to the Court Street office. Once those updates are complete, the foundation will begin the process of moving upstairs. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause in the interim.

A sneak peek at the furniture that will be installed in the former office of the foundation, to turn it into a faculty meeting room and work space.

We’re Placing a Scrip Order Soon!

We will soon be placing a Scrip order for physical gift cards. Place your order by Wednesday, December 6, to ensure that your cards will arrive before Christmas.

With our Scrip program, your gift card purchases earn donations for the MLS Foundation at no extra cost to you! In addition to physical gift cards, you can also use Scrip for electronic gift certificates or reload a physical card you’ve purchased through the program.

Scrip cards are a great way to finish your Christmas list or to have a convenient gift on-hand for a teacher, mail carrier, or anybody else who deserves a special treat around the holidays!

There are plenty of options to choose from, and cards are available starting at just $10. Choose from thousands of your favorite retailers, including: Bath & Body Works, Starbucks, Walmart, Meijer, Subway, Applebee’s, Taco Bell, Kwik Trip, Target, Shell, BP, Red Lobster, Wendy’s, Papa John’s, several movie theaters, and LOTS more – including Visa, American Express, and Discover universal prepaid gift cards!

Click here to browse the list of cards available. If you prefer to complete a paper form and pay by check, click here for an order form to return to the foundation office.

Contact us for our enrollment code to sign up and start shopping with Scrip!




When you shop at Amazon Smile, your purchase will generate a donation for the MLS Foundation! It’s not limited to the Christmas shopping season – start with a smile and earn donations with all your Amazon purchases. 

As of August 2017, supporters have earned nearly $600 in donations for the MLS Foundation through this program.

It’s an easy way to help out – and it doesn’t cost anything to participate! Just remember to visit Smile.Amazon.com and select the Michigan Lutheran Seminary Foundation as your preferred charity the next time you shop. 

The annual Light Up a Student’s Life event is in full swing and runs through the end of December. Contributions support the Student Need Fund, which provides financial assistance to the students attending MLS now and in the future. 

The MLS Foundation has committed to providing MLS with $100,000 annually in student financial aid, and your gifts to Light Up a Student’s Life will help us accomplish this goal. 

As of November 17, 78 lights have been lit in memory of, or in honor of, special people. 

Your generosity is the heart and spirit of the MLS Foundation. Your gifts will allow us to assist another generation of students to follow our Savior’s directive to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”

Click here for more information on this event.