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 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.

Big Backyard Project Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called the Big Backyard project?

We call it the Big Backyard Project because, while it involves updates to the athletic field area, it will impact student life in a broader sense. For the students who live in the dormitories, this is their backyard – their outdoor space to play and enjoy their free time. The backyard area is used for many activities including physical education classes, recruitment events, football games and practices, poms practices and performances, graduation activities, intramural sports, softball games and practices, and much more. Two-thirds of the student body participate in a sport in the big backyard (football, poms, softball, intramurals, etc.). All ninth- and tenth-graders are required to take physical education classes, which also utilize the backyard area.  Tens of thousands of hours are spent on the MLS athletic field area during the year, by athletes, students, families, visitors, and friends.

Who decided what should be accomplished with this project?

In 2015, the MLS Policy Councilwhich is comprised of the President, Vice President, Dean of Students, Registrar, Athletic/Extracurricular director, Admissions Director, Campus Environment coordinator, and Business Managerestablished a list of pending needs that would likely be difficult to address through budgetary means. After establishing the list, and thorough evaluation and discussion, it was prioritized to determine the order in which the needs should be met. President Petermann then established a facilities review committee made up of several faculty and staff members. This committee was tasked with further evaluating the capital needs on campus and reviewing the priority of those needs. We have worked on many internal needs that were on their earlier lists such as; moving around the administrative office; establishing wireless internet service throughout the school and dormitories; one-to-one computing (a computer for every student); a new phone system for the school; replacement of the dorm furniture, heaters, windows (as needed), carpet, and paint; new TV screens throughout the building to create a display system that will keep students and visitors updated and informed; and repair of the outside gate area that encloses the athletic complex. The next priority is to begin work on the exterior. Bleacher replacement (for safety and capacity reasons), outdoor bathroom facilities and other projects have now reached the top of the priority list and have been organized into tiers to be accomplished as we are able.

The maintenance staff working hard, moving desks

What’s the status of the project?

The office consolidation portion of the project is nearing completion. The flooring has been installed and furniture is being moved into the new space. Once that phase is complete, the MLS Foundation will begin the process of relocating to the office space near the Court Street entrance that is the current home of the Business Office.

The MLS Governing Board recently approved moving forward with the development of a design that addresses bleachers, field surface options, restrooms, concessions, storage, and other concerns.  An engineering firm that helped with the office consolidation portion of the project is preparing a proposal with our current priorities in mind.

Shouldn’t the MLS Foundation focus on supplying funds for student assistance?

We want to help support MLS in as many ways as we can and providing student assistance is just one way in which the MLS Foundation helps students at MLS. This 2017-2018 school year, the MLS Foundation has committed to providing $100,000 of student assistance. Through the generosity of many donors who established and contribute toward endowed scholarship funds, the foundation is able to provide over $20,000 annually in scholarships to students continuing their training for ministry at Martin Luther College. This will continue to be a major focus as the costs of education continue to rise.

Is this the same thing the WELS Ministry for Christian Giving contacted me about?

The WELS Ministry for Christian Giving (MCG) is carrying out an individual appeal to support MLS in a threefold manner. The gifts received through the WELS appeal will be used for student financial aid, capital projects, and to build up MLS reserves to protect against enrollment fluctuations. The MLS Foundation is participating with the WELS MCG in two ways. First, the foundation has committed to providing $100,000 annually in student financial assistance. Second, the foundation is providing support for capital needs at MLS through the Big Backyard project.

Why are the bleachers shown only on one side?

The graphics in The Big Backyard Project brochure simply reflect that bleachers need to be addressed, along with all of the grass and playing surfaces. During the design process, we will have the opportunity to evaluate a number of issues that will ultimately result in final configuration and locations of the bleachers, the football field, the softball diamond, practice areas, and other elements.

Why are people talking about artificial turf? Isn’t that too expensive?

Each year, MLS spends about $35,000 in labor, material, and equipment to maintain, repair, and stripe the athletic field. Installers and users of artificial turf fields have indicated that appropriate annual maintenance costs approximately $5,000 each year. The most significant cost related to an artificial surface is the need for replacement. Estimates vary, but it’s reasonable to expect that an artificial surface at MLS would have a life cycle of at least 12-15 years, and likely longer. Another element of artificial turf that cant be ignored is the reduction in concussions and joint injuries. Unlike the astroturf of old, which was little more than thin carpet over concrete, current systems utilize a layered system of sand, synthetic strands of grass, and varying thicknesses of granulated rubber, which creates a stable, cushioned surface. Many medical professionals consider this a significant improvement over natural grass, which can be uneven, slippery, or hard, depending upon the conditions. Right now, the students’ practice area is very small. If they had artificial turf, they would be able to practice on the playing field without worrying about ruining the grass surface – and they would have more space available for practices.

Why does MLS need an auxiliary gym?

The gym is used by our basketball, volleyball, poms, and wrestling teams, as well as baseball and softball during inclement weather. During various times of the year, especially the winter, the current gym is used for practice times until after 10:00 in the evening.  Not only is practicing that late hard on coaches and players alike, it requires commuting students that live as much as 30 or 40 minutes away to go to school all day, stay around for practice, and not get home until 11 or later. In addition, the lack of available gym time makes it very difficult to offer open gym time and intramural leagues for other students.

How long will this project take?

Quite simply, the duration of the project will be driven by the interest and support of our MLS donors, as well as the actual cost of the various projects. As funding levels are realized, and actual costs determined, schedule targets and updates will be generated.

How are things progressing since the initial rollout of the new project?

There is definitely a buzz and excitement around the overall scope of the project. The response has been good. Many donors have made commitments either monthly or yearly to ensure that we continually have funding to meet the goal of the overall project. There has also been an influx of new donors wanting to support this project. We have noticed over the years that some donors have preferences to what they like to support. For example, some donors like supporting student need/assistance, some prefer supporting capital projects, while others don’t really have a preference and just give to the greatest need. We appreciate all of our donors and the gifts that help us fulfill our mission of supporting MLS.

What if I have more questions?

We encourage you to contact Josh Wakefield at the MLS Foundation by calling 989-793-7511, or by emailing


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