Tree of Life ProjectOur vision is to be a truly African college — not totally or primarily dependent on outside funding. In order to accomplish this vision, we focus our efforts on numerous sustainability strategies.

Sustainability is the ability to secure stable and sufficient long-term financial resources, and to allocate them in a timely manner and appropriate form, to cover the full costs of the organization. Sustainability is not the same as self-sufficiency, but it does include efforts to earn our own income and not depend simply on the goodwill of others.

We teach our students not to rely on the generosity of donors, and we seek to serve as an example as a college of not depending primarily on donors. Instead, our sustainability efforts focus on diversifying income as well as reducing expenses.

Our Strategies

Tree of Life Project – UKWAZI Macadamia Products

Looking between two rows of macadamia treesUsing over 50 hectares of our campus, our leadership took a visionary leap into establishing a ‘living endowment’ of macadamia trees in 1997. Since then, over 14,000 macadamia trees have been planted. The first funds were raised from African church members and congregations followed by donations from around the world.

As this project matures, the sale of our macadamia products — primarily to HEB Central Market stores in Texas and through our website — will generate a profit to help with the operational costs of the college. In 2011, the harvest finally reached a level to begin seeing this investment reap benefits.

Many have invested heavily in this long-term strategy of providing for ACC for many decades. The Tree of Life project serves as the foundation of our sustainability strategies.

Missions Sustainability Lessons from ACC’s Tree of Life Project

Global Fund Raising Strategy

The strength of our college today can be partially attributed to the numerous individuals who have regularly given to ensure Christian higher education is available in Africa. Many send gifts of $100 or more each month; some send $10 a month; others make one-time or annual contributions. No matter the frequency, donations of all sizes bring us closer to the vision of a transformed continent through visionary leaders.

Our online giving portal offers an easy way for donors to invest monthly, but many also choose to mail their gifts.

Growing Our Own Food

Immaculate returning from the gardenEach month, over 3,500 meals are served in our cafeteria. We use our campus as an increasing source of nutritional foods for our cafeteria. Students manage and maintain three gardens on campus that grow all our vegetables. Fruit and nut trees are scattered across our campus to supplement our food needs. Additionally, we raise cattle, goats, and chickens that also provide meat for student meals.

Growing our own food provides a significant reduction in the growing cost of food.

Student Fees and Sponsors

Accessibility to higher education should not be limited to Africans with money. We offer generous financial aid to students in need. At the same time, the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree should also not be free. Therefore, we have reasonable fees comparable to the value of such an education and financial aid to help those who cannot afford to pay the full amount.

All students are expected to pay for a portion of their fees (we do not offer any “full” scholarships). We provide work opportunities for those needing to earn additional income to pay and we encourage students to seek support from their sending congregations and family as investors in their education and future.

Certified Maize Seed Production

As one of thirty maize (corn) seed growers in swaziland, we produce about 60% of the maize seed in the kingdom. By planting the maize on previously unused portions of our land, we were able to grow certified seed to sell to distributors for local farmers. Our seed is a hybrid designed for Swaziland growing and is open-pollinated (which is typically unavailable in local stores). Thanks to a grant from the CIMMYT Foundation, we are increasing our seed production in 2013.

Congregational Support

One quarter of our 2011 support came from mission-minded congregations. Congregations partner with us to provide scholarships for students, support staff and faculty members’ salaries, and for general operating expenses. These partnerships allow both of us — the church and the college — to accomplish significant goals including the spread of the Gospel throughout Southern and Eastern Africa.

Capital Projects Planning

Library Steel SunsetAs we grow into our vision, adequate physical facilities beyond our current structures are necessary. Recogniziing this need, our leadership works through a process of planning, raising funds, and constructing these needed facilities with an eye to our future growth plans. Many donors prefer to donate funds for our capital projects as they can see the importance of housing and educational facilities for equipping students for excellent service in God’s kingdom.

Green ACC

Reducing waste and how we deal with it doesn’t just help us model care of the environment, it saves reduces expenses. We compost what we can to help our gardens. An on-campus recycling center is in development, and we are teaching about waste reduction and reuse of items. All these efforts help us care for our space on Earth and reduce the expenses that come with disposing of our own trash.

Financial Endowment

A college that plans to last is endowed. Though our current endowment is meager, we recognize the importance of developing a financial endowment to provide as we grow or encounter more difficult times. Our endowment plans include the establishment of faculty chairs to help us reach our vision of having an African college with qualified, employed, African faculty.