Annual Fundraisers

Annual Fundraisers contribute to tuition shortfalls.  Tuition only covers 40% of the cost to educate each student.  We need parents to help make these events successful by assisting with leadership, working at the events, and inviting friends and family to attend. 

Pioneer Circle – a Circle of Support for Christian Education at Freeman Academy

This group of donors provides a solid financial foundation for Freeman Academy by individuals’ pledging and contributing $1000, or more, per year over and above gifts through the church or business drive, tuition assistance or Sterling Hall debt reduction.  These sustaining gifts help to ensure a consistent flow of income for the general budget.

More than a collection of gifts, the Pioneer Circle is the catalyst for turning individual generosity into collective energy. It represents the interaction of alumni and friends working together to provide opportunities for students in Freeman and the surrounding rural community. If you would like to learn more about becoming part of Pioneer Circle, contact Vernetta Waltner at 605-925-4237, ext. 235 or

Leap Forward in Faith
Leap Forward in Faith is held on February 29 or March 1 as Freeman Academy’s designated “Giving Day.” Alumni and friends of the school are encouraged to send gifts on that day via the mail, online or dropping them off at the office during a 12 hour time period. Social media such as Facebook and email contacts provide updates throughout the day to remind everyone about this opportunity to give financial gifts.
Ribs at the Ranch

This is a pork rib cook-off held the last Saturday of June in the boulevard in front of the Administration Building.  Area barbecue enthusiasts participate in a contest with official judging in the afternoon.  Meals are served to the public from 4:30-8:00 p.m.   Ribs, smoked brisket sandwiches, chislic and other side dishes are sold ala carte.   Other activities include an alumni reunion and live musical entertainment.

The proceeds from this event contribute to debt reduction on Sterling Hall. This event is sponsored by the Sterling Hall Fundraising Committee and FA Athletic Department.


Schmeckfest is held on two consecutive weekends at the end of March/beginning of April, depending on when Easter falls.  The festival is organized by the FA Auxiliary to honor our Germans-from-Russia ethnic heritage and raise funds to benefit the school.  The campus is transformed into areas for ethnic food and craft demonstrations, Country Kitchen bake sale, and a traditional, German, family-style meal served in the basement of Pioneer Hall.  Community people and FA students combine efforts to present a musical theater production each evening in the Pioneer Hall auditorium.

Approximately 150-200 persons are needed each day/evening to help with all of the events.  Students are each assigned to a specific booth each year and we encourage them to volunteer time to wait on tables or help in the kitchen when possible.  Parents are also encouraged to join the fun and camaraderie developed by working together with alumni, constituents, and other community persons.

Local Mennonite Church Support

Throughout the year, special offerings and fund drives are conducted by the area Mennonite churches including Salem Mennonite, Salem-Zion Mennonite and Hutterthal Mennonite.

Freeman Academy Farms

Approximately 350 acres of agricultural land has been gifted to Freeman Academy over the years by generous alumni and constituents.  Seeds are often donated by local dealers and fertilizer is purchased.  Volunteers coordinate the planting and harvesting of these crops with the proceeds going to fund the school’s annual budget needs.

Sterling Hall Debt Reduction
In 2006, discussions led to plans and action that resulted in the construction of Sterling Hall during the summer of 2007.  The first basketball game was held in late February 2008 and Schmeckfest activities followed in March of that year.  What a benefit this building, the connecting “Link” and the new maintenance building have been for Freeman Academy!  We are grateful for the $2.1 million dollars that have been contributed for construction costs, but we were left with approximately $750,000 of debt.  Loans from Merchants State Bank, Freeman, and the United States Department of Agriculture were utilized to cover the remaining construction costs.
We are pleased to report that due to some substantial estate gifts, the debt was decreased to approximately $150,000. Another anonymous constituent offered us a $100,000 interest-free loan to eliminate money paid in interest. Since making our annual payment in August 2017, we now have approximately $20,000 left to pay USDA!  Beginning in 2019, we will have 10 years to pay off the loan – interest free!
Keep this project in your prayers as finish off these commitments.  Contact Vernetta Waltner, Development Director at or 925-4237, ext. 235 for information on how you can help erase the debt completely.