Planned giving

a ring of light purple flowers pressed into an old german bible.

What is a Legacy Gift | Message from the President | Impact | List of Program Endowments | Naming Opportunities | Endowment Types | Donate

What is a Legacy Gift?

A legacy gift (or planned gift) is a donation to a charity that is made in your will, or by designating the charity as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy or another financial instrument such as an RRIF.  Legacy gifts are a part of estate planning and should be discussed with your lawyer and/or your financial advisor. 

Making a legacy gift to Grebel is a powerful way to support the College’s mission, programs and values, such as peace, music, faith formation, training leaders for the church. It also supports vibrant student experiences.

A Message from the President

Marcus Shantz

Dear Friends,

Grebel turns sixty this year! Back in 1963, our founders began the Grebel experiment—building a small college on the edge of the University of Waterloo campus. Since then, thousands of alumni have shared in the Grebel experience: making enduring friendships, unlocking the potential of community, discovering the ideas and ideals of peers and professors, and finding lifelong vocations.

You are an important part of this story. Grebel is blessed by its strong community of alumni and donors who remain closely connected to our work. Many of our Community Supper speakers this past year were alumni who shared their insights as artists, teachers, lawyers, and scientists.

Those of us who serve at Grebel today are stewards for coming generations who we will serve. A key pillar of our recent Strategic Plan is to build resilience for the future. This includes capital renewal that will reduce our carbon footprint and improve our environmental sustainability.

Resilience also includes building endowments to provide scholarships for Grebel students, and to fund programs that are important to our mission, but do not have adequate funding from other sources, such as our Library and Archives, Mennonite Studies, and our Chaplaincy.

Financial stewardship is very challenging these days. We are living through a time when our primary sources of income—tuition and government grants—have been frozen. The Province of Ontario invests significantly less per student than any other province in Canada.

One source of revenue growth is our endowments, which fund student awards and programs. Many of our endowments have been established by estate gifts from generous supporters who have remembered Grebel in their wills. By the end of this year, the value of our endowments will exceed $10,000,000. The income from these investments helps our students fund their education and helps us to provide the programs and activities that make Grebel “Grebel.”

Would you be willing to make a legacy gift to strengthen Grebel programs or support our students? A bequest in your estate could be established to provide an annual student award in perpetuity. You could also designate your bequest to a particular program we offer in music, Mennonite studies, theology, or peace.

Our practice is to use estate gifts as a capital resource for endowments or building projects. The tear-off section of this letter is something we put in our confidential files so we have a record of your charitable intentions. We invite you to consider this request in conversations you may have with your lawyer, accountant/financial planner, and family.

Making a gift to Grebel is a powerful way to make an impact with your legacy giving. Feel free to reach out to me or Fred W. Martin if you have questions about program endowments or ideas on setting up a scholarship award.

Thanks for your consideration,

Marcus Shantz, President


Megan Hudson

I have been immensely blessed by the positive ripple effect that receiving Grebel scholarships has had on my life. By helping to cover my living expenses, scholarships have also eased the burden associated with education costs.

Megan Hudson | Psychology

Joshua Cheon

The scholarships I received during study terms were, and still are, instrumental in ensuring that I can comfortably work fewer hours a week, which is an immense relief.

Joshua Cheon | Peace and Conflict Studies

Paul Fransen

I'm proud to be a part of a project that has been so successful and am pleased to support Conrad Grebel with a gift in my estate.

Paul Fransen | BSC '67

Why are scholarship awards important?

The cost of education and residence fees are increasing and recently Co-op placements and good paying summer jobs are hard to find.

Remote video URL

At our 2021 Scholarship Awards event students submitted short video clips to articulate the impact receiving scholarship awards had on them. We think you will enjoy viewing these greetings from grateful students.

What is an endowment?

An Endowment is a pool of donations that are permanently invested by the college.  Instead of using the gift for immediate use for students or programs, the capital is invested and each year earnings from this investment are used by the college. This provides reliable funding for our unique programs and student awards. A healthy endowment portfolio ensures that Grebel will continue to be offer transformative educational experiences for future generations. 

How big is Grebel’s Endowment?

At the end of  the fiscal year in April 2024 the endowment portfolio had a fair market value of over $12 million. In FY 24 we generated earnings of $386,600 -  roughly half  were used for student scholarship awards and the other half for our program expenses. 

How are Grebel's Endowments Managed?

The Finance and Development committee of the Board takes advice from an experienced Investment Advisory sub-committee on the investment strategy for these funds, guided by a policy that requires a balance of equities, bonds and alternative investment tools (i.e. environmental funds). Investments are screened for social responsibility and impact, ensuring good standing with respect to “ESG” ratings (Environment, Social impact and good corporate Governance) we select investments based on return risk, expense, and social impact.

To avoid annual volatility in investment earnings, annual distributions are calculated based on a ten-year average. A small amount of earnings are reinvested back into the endowment so that the fund is protected against inflation. 

These policies have served Grebel well. 
In 2023-24, our endowment funds provided a 6.35% return. At that rate of return, an endowed scholarship of $50,000 would provide a $3,000 scholarship. 

Program Endowments at Grebel to consider supporting:

Grebel receives tuition and government grant for its teaching programs, but many of our most unique programs have no firm revenue streams. Our academic programs have seen funding cuts in recent years. We believe that endowments are crucial to ensure that these mission-critical programs have a future.  Your legacy gift could be designated to secure the future of these programs.  Your gift can be added to an existing endowment, or you can create a new endowment. The monies designated for the endowments are invested and the earnings from the fund are used to support the purposes of the endowment.

Marcus Shantz shaking hands with Graduand at Grebel convocation

Library/Archives and Mennonite Studies

Grebel’s Milton Good Library and the Mennonite Archives of Ontario are an irreplaceable resource for research and scholarship on Mennonites in Canada, and include the largest Canadian collection of published Anabaptist/Mennonite materials from the 16th century to the present.

J. Winfield Fretz Endowment in Mennonite Studies

Winfield Fretz

(68%* of $1.5 million goal)

J. Winfield Fretz was the founding President of Conrad Grebel University College. He also introduced the study of Mennonites into the University curriculum and taught many large classes on the Mennonites. The college has decided that the best way to honor the very substantial and creative contribution of Dr. Fretz is to establish an endowment for Mennonite Studies to fund the study and teaching of Mennonite history, theology, and sociology.

Bowman Endowment for Archives

(35%* of $500,000 goal)

Joseph O. and Mary (Baer) Baumann house, built 1834

The Bowman Endowment for Archives first contributor was Joseph S. Stauffer, an engineer, businessman and philanthropist with roots in the village of Blair, near Cambridge.

Stauffer began contributing to Conrad Grebel University College when the College was “still a dream” in the early 1960s. It was his wish that some of his contributions form an endowment to acquire and protect archival materials. He proposed the name “Bowman” in 1974 to honor the Mennonite family name of his grandmother Nancy (Bowman) Stauffer.

The endowment stands at $155,000, with a goal of $500,000. The College uses it to fund the acquisition, preservation and community engagement activities of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Pictured here is the Joseph O. and Mary (Baer) Baumann house, built in 1834.

Theological Studies

Our Master of Theological Studies program trains church leaders and provides much needed resources and theological leadership for the Mennonite church and beyond.

A.J Shantz Master of Theological Studies Endowment

(47% of $1 million goal)

Jim hooding Andrew in the convocation

The college introduced a Master of Theological Studies program in 1987 to provide theological education at the graduate level. Graduates of the program have gone into pastoral or lay ministry and into doctoral studies. An endowment for the program was established by a generous gift of $300,000 by A.J. Shantz. The college plans to expand the initial gift to an endowment of $1 million in order to fund the basic costs of the program.

Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training

(117*% of original $1 million goal)

Ralph and Deileen Lebold

In 1997, the Conference of Mennonites in Eastern Canada asked Conrad Grebel University College to add a ministry component to the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program to train people for pastoral ministry. A current endowment of  $1.2 million honours Ralph and Eileen Lebold. Funds are used in the ministry training part of the MTS program, such as courses in pastoral education, supervised education in ministry, internships.

*  Goal calculations are based on the Book Value of the Endowment fund as of April 30, 2023. 

Peace Studies

In the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) program, students learn how peace is built in complicated situations around the world by connecting theory and practice.

Peace and Conflict Studies Program Endowment

(10% of $1 million goal)

Students collaborating at their desks

Conrad Grebel University College established the first Peace and Conflict Studies program in Canada (1977). The endowment will provide a financial base for the expanding program of teaching at the university, including the possible offering of a masters degree in conflict resolution as well as a non-credit certificate in mediation and conflict resolution which the college introduced in 1999. The goal for this endowment is $1 million.

Other Unique Programs

Helen Martens Choral Music Endowment

Helen Martens

Dr. Helen Martens served as the first faculty member in the Music program at Conrad Grebel College from 1965 until her retirement in 1993.  During her career at Grebel, Dr. Martens inspired many students over almost three decades in music classes and choirs.  Dr. Martens also founded the Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir. Helen Martens died on April 9, 2020, and left a testamentary gift to the College. This gift is endowed and annual earnings will fund the “Helen Martens Choral Music Award” Recipients are choristers who exhibit a passion for choral music and demonstrate vocal excellence in choral singing.  This is a wonderful way to honour the legacy of one of our early music faculty leaders.

Grebel Gallery

Professor talking with colleague in the Grebel Gallery

The Grebel Gallery is located in the heart of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement and is part of the vibrant artistic community in K-W. Totalling approximately 700 square feet, it is also central to the Centre for Peace Advancement's strategic commitment to “peace and artistic expression”. An Endowment of over $220,000 generates earnings to make it possible for the gallery to curate and promote art exhibits on peace themes and organize events to engage the community on issues of peace.

Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar Fund

(70%* of $250,000 goal)

Rod and Lorna Sawatsky

To honour Lorna's involvement and Rod's tenure at Grebel, the college has established the "Rodney and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar Fund." The purpose of this program is to bring a renowned scholar, practitioner or performer to the Grebel community for at least a week at a time. During this time, there will be opportunity for lectures or seminars, the Faculty Fellows Forum, or a presentation at student functions such as Chapel, Community Supper, Brown Bag Lunch, and more as well as a major public event such as a lecture, workshop, concert, seminar, or dinner. To sustain this vision, the fund requires an endowment of $250,000. The earnings from the endowment will support the activities of the Visiting Scholar.

Grebel Student Scholarship Fund

Conrad Grebel University College students walking down path outside the school

With the increased tuition costs of education in Ontario during the 1990's many students are finding it difficult to pursue post-secondary education, or are incurring huge debt loads. To help students with high academic achievements and students with financial needs the college has established and endowment fund to provide scholarships and bursaries to students. The initial goal for the endowment is $500,000 and we are at 18%*.

Naming opportunities 

Bill Dyck

Many donors desire anonymity. Some donors wish to give their name or the name of a loved one to a project which will remember that person in perpetuity. All names are subject to the approval of the college's Board of Governors.

The naming opportunities include:

  1. Scholarships/bursaries - gifts of $30,000 or more.
  2. Lectureships - gifts of $50,000 or more.
  3. Artist in Residence $250,000 or more 
  4. New construction or major renovations of unnamed facilities - gifts of $500,000 or more.
  5. Professorship- $1,000,000 or more.
  6. Faculty Chairs - $3,000,000 or more.

Correct legal name:
The legal name of the college is Conrad Grebel University College.

Scholarship, bursary, and award endowments

Donations to establish new awards for students are also welcome. Donations to existing award are also encouraged.

Many scholarships, bursaries, and awards, have been made available through endowments and the generosity of various friends of the college. Students formally involved in the college's residence, associate and/or academic programs may apply for residence, academic, or general awards, scholarships and bursaries.

These brief descriptions are a guide only, please consult the designated contact person for a complete description, criteria and an application form.


It is a general designation applied to any scholarship, prize, medal, fellowship or grant of money assigned to a student. Within this designation there are further terms defined below.


A monetary award, based primarily on outstanding overall academic performance or excellence in a specific subject or group of subjects.


A monetary grant based primarily on financial need.