Dear Northrise Friends,
On June 3rd we held the first Northrise University Board of Regents meeting in Ndola, Zambia. We scheduled this first meeting in Ndola to coincide with the June 4th graduation ceremony and the Campus Center dedication. That was a great weekend of celebration of what God is doing at Northrise University. Over 500 attended the activities including 40 from the US! It was such a great experience for all participating, especially the graduates and their families and friends. The Campus Center is a beautiful building and a great beginning of what is to come in building-out the Northrise campus.
The Board of Regents allocated a significant amount of time at our first meeting defining operating processes and standing committee responsibilities. There is ongoing work related to statutes and compliance with the Higher Education Act of Zambia which will be completed in the next 3-6 months. The Board then focused the meeting on the major initiatives and issues to be addressed in the near-term. Numerous priorities/issues were discussed but significant time was devoted to the following:
- Student Recruitment – The Board strongly supported a strengthened effort in student recruitment with greater emphasis on recruiting in Lusaka, Kitwe and Kabwe. The Board approved a new position in student recruitment to be located in Lusaka. Salary/benefits and expenses for this position must be underwritten for 18 months, as it is a non-budgeted position. At the time of this email, 50% of the $24,000 needed to underwrite this position has been committed. It was noted again that one of the critical pathways to NU financial sustainability is an increase in non-scholarship student enrollment.
- Financial reporting has improved significantly and must continue to improve for Northrise University and its affiliated organizations. The Audit/Finance Committee will continue to strengthen financial reporting and accountability across all departments and affiliated organizations. The Board recognized the exceptional contribution of Dave Murray in this effort.
- Northrise Enterprises (NE) – The Board requested Mr. Goble, Chair of Northrise Enterprises, to establish an advisory board and complete a legal entity structure recommendation by the next BOR meeting and a draft NE strategic plan by the end of the year.
- Northrise Farms will report through Northrise Enterprises and a new farm committee will be formed and a comprehensive water strategy developed as soon as possible. The water issue for Northrise Farms is a major priority and demands immediate attention. Staffing is the next priority for Northrise Farms. The Board confirmed its commitment to Northrise Farms and its importance to long-term financial sustainability and the continued commitment to Northrise Farms in ministry to the farming community.
- A NUI development position in the US was approved with the understanding the salary is to be underwritten for the first 18 months before the hire will be made. The development representative will mostly focus on grants and contributions primarily for student scholarships. This individual will also have a meaningful role in developing relationships that can result in more significant gifts. Larger gifts and contributions will remain the responsibility of the Board of Regents, Board of Trustees and Dr. Zimba.
- The Board reviewed new curriculums in the planning phase and the ongoing work toward development of an Engineering School. A final review of the Engineering School development plan will be held at the next Board meeting. Schools of Agriculture and Education are future priorities.
The capital requirements were reviewed and the following short-term priorities identified with the completion of the Campus Center infrastructure the major priority:
- Approximately $340K is needed to complete the infrastructure related to the Campus Center. With these funds the Phase 1 roads, parking lots and Campus Center landscaping can be completed ($240K), along with the main entrance ($50K) and misc. furniture and computer lab requirements ($50K). This is a CRITICAL NEED and TIMING is very important as it relates to the roads, parking lots and landscaping in order for this work to be completed prior to the rainy season which begins in the October/November time period.
- An estimated $100K is needed to to expand our dorm capacity and provide some needed repairs. With the emphasis on student recruitment, our dorm must be expanded and we can do this now as the dormitory kitchen area is no longer needed and it frees space for student rooms. With this work the dorm capacity will increase from 58 to 72 students and provide a bridging period before a new dorm is built. $50K of the $100K estimate has been committed to this project and work has begun.
- The Board approved an internet services upgrade and Dr Zimba will develop a capital request for final review.
- The Board confirmed the immediate need for a comprehensive water strategy and charged the Northrise Farm committee to develop this strategy and submit to the Board. Adequate water supply is a critical path item for Northrise’s future and the Board reiterated its position that we all need confidence that we have successfully addressed this major challenge for the future. The capital requirements are undefined related to the water project.
- The next major capital project will be the construction of a new dormitory with a projected capacity of 128 students and an estimated cost of $1.5M. Faculty Housing is also on the horizon ($200K per 3-bedroom duplex) as we build our faculty recruiting and retention program. And following construction of a new dorm and a couple of faculty duplexes, we will develop plans for the Northrise Campus Lodge at a construction cost estimate of $1M. We have a commitment for $750K toward the Lodge construction.
Capital priorities are subject to change as we adjust our priorities from time to time and as contributors come forward who have an interest in funding specific projects. There will be specific communications from the NUI Board and the Board of Trustees shortly that will incorporate these capital priority adjustments and new materials developed to accompany the changes as we fund-raise going forward. We all must consider how we can be involved in addressing these immediate capital needs.
On behalf of the Board of Regents, and Dr. and Mrs. Zimba, I thank you for your continued commitment to Northrise University and your ongoing dedication to the work God is doing through Northrise University. This is truly kingdom work and it is evident through the lives of many young men and women who are receiving their degrees from Northrise University and boldly going into their Zambian community to make a difference! I speak for all on the Board of Regents in communicating it is a privilege and blessing to serve alongside Moffat and Doreen and the staff and faculty of Northrise University as we strive for excellence and “to empower the people of Zambia … one student at a time.”
On a personal note, Debbie and I were reminded again during this visit, it’s all about these young people, and the difference we ALL can make in their lives through our commitment to the Kingdom and Northrise University.
Chair, Board of Regents