The Charles Finney School announced May 2 that an anonymous donor has given the school a $1 million gift, the largest donation in the school’s 24-year history.

The gift will be used for a number of enhancements around the private Christian school in Penfield.

“The generosity of this gift is truly remarkable. It really demonstrates the impact the school has on our community of students, staff, family and friends,” said Michael VanLeeuwen, school president. “These funds will allow The Charles Finney School to make enhancements to further improve upon the education, athletics and programming we provide. I have no doubt the improvements we make will have a longstanding impact for many years to come.”

Half of the funds will be invested into an endowment. The other half will be used for a variety of improvements, the largest of those being a new outdoor athletic complex. This large project is scheduled to break ground in early June, and will include resurfacing the athletic fields, new bleachers, scoreboard, goalposts and a new facility including concessions, press box, recording platform, equipment storage and sound system.

The Charles Finney School also plans to invest a portion of the gift into an online learning program for students, which will help individualize every student’s learning program. Online learning will allow The Charles Finney School to provide the option of summer school and additional electives. Additionally, components of the online classroom will be used to support the current honors program and students with Individualized Education Plans. Several other school enhancements resulting from the donation include restroom renovations, new signage and lighting.

“As we prepare to enter into our 25th anniversary year this September, the timing couldn’t be better to celebrate the quarter-century milestone of providing quality Christian education to the Greater Rochester community,” said Norman Leenhouts, chairman of the board of directors. “It’s been a very exciting year for the Finney school. We recently became the only area Christian school to receive accreditation from Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Christian Schools International, which demonstrates our dedication and excellence to the Christian philosophy of education. We know this is just the beginning and we are looking forward to what’s ahead.”

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