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Making tax dollars work for ministry students

Some things never change about ministry. The fields are vast, the workers are few – and it’s expensive to train for full-time ministry!

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Back in 2008 Joan and Des Annabel, who have a real heart for the gospel, were keen to assist in spreading the Word and saw a great need for trained workers in the field. They knew it was a major financial undertaking for either an individual or a married couple to undertake full time theological training, and that with support for ministry students via tax deductibility, ministry training could be more affordable. And so the Annabel Foundation was born.

The Foundation is keen to raise and distribute even more money.

Joan and Des Annabel, founders of the Foundation, feel it was God’s intervention that allowed it to become, on their understanding, the first Australian charity to receive tax deductibility for donations that were going towards theological training. An amazing outcome.

Des Annabel, Founder of The Annabel Foundation

Des Annabel, Founder of The Annabel Foundation

The Foundation assists theological students with their training by offering bursaries to help with costs, and since inception the Foundation has distributed over $700,000 to more than 300 students. And while the amounts of money given to students is not huge “even a couple of thousand dollars given to students can have a major impact,” said Geoff Annabel, the Foundation’s administration manager.

Now the Foundation is keen to raise and distribute even more money, and build its profile and reach.

Joan Annabel, founder of The Annabel Foundation

Joan Annabel, founder of The Annabel Foundation

The bursaries are given on a needs, not academic, basis. There is a formal application process, and a decision made by a selection committee. Students have to be studying at a training provider endorsed by the Foundation and be enrolled with that provider.

Many of those considering theological training have an active supporter base, who are willing to assist financially over the time those students are studying. Funds donated through the Annabel Foundation are tax deductible therefore donors are able to effectively contribute more due to the tax refund they receive.

But Geoff stresses that the ATO mandates “the Foundation is always the final arbiter of where donations are distributed to, and we are not able to give tax deductibility on donations where the end bursary recipient is a relative of a donor.”

As the Foundation approaches its 10th anniversary Geoff said, “my parents take great pleasure and satisfaction that their desire to make a difference was blessed by God and has come to fruition.”

“We really have not had to worry about money at all – and the Annabel Foundation have been part of that,” — Rani Grivas-Allison

Generosity abounds

Young married couple Michael and Rani Grivas-Allison have both been studying full time for the last few years, Michael doing a Bachelor of Divinity at Moore Theological College and Rani doing a Master of Divinity at SMBC.

Although they had heard of the Annabel Foundation they initially did not consider applying. “If you have never applied for a bursary you always think that they are for special people, that there is a limited number of them, and you have to compete for them,” Michael said. “I didn’t realise how easy it would be and how generous the Foundation would be!”

Michael and Rani Grivas-Allison have been studying full time for the last few years

Michael and Rani Grivas-Allison have been studying full time for the last few years

Rani also is very grateful for the bursary she received last year.

“College is very demanding, time wise, mentally and in terms of your energy. It would have been impossible for Michael and I to work while doing college. We really are relying on the generosity of other people. The Annabel Foundation is one of those who have enabled us to set aside that time and really devote ourselves to the privilege of being at Bible college.

“It has been great – we really have not had to worry about money at all – and the Annabel Foundation have been part of that.”

It has also enabled them to donate their time as student ministers at St John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Campsie.

“We wanted to be able to go to a church that could use extra hands but couldn’t afford to pay us. Being supported by the Annabel Foundation and other people has allowed us to do that.”

This year Rani has been appointed to work for the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students at the University of Technology, and Michael is finalising his plans but is keen to work in a less resourced church in south west Sydney.

Students, Donors and Training Providers interested in maximising assistance via the Annabel Foundation can register at the Foundation’s website: www.theacf.org.au

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