Founded in 1981, White Rock Christian Academy began as a small, church-based school. The school recently expanded its offerings and made outstanding additions to the faculty, which resulted in a quickly growing enrollment. Innovative new programs such as an International Baccalaureate program are driving even greater enrollment today. The facilities, located in Surrey – on the outskirts of Vancouver off the Pacific coast of Canada – have not kept up with the educational enhancements, however. Existing spaces were over-utilized, and there was no more room for growth. The construction of new facilities was an absolute must.


Once the Board began exploring options, it became obvious that expanding the current facility was not a viable option. The Board and Head of School decided to take a bold step of faith and adopted a master plan that involved complete redevelopment of WCRA’s facilities. An entirely re-imagined campus plan was envisioned to provide for increased enrollment, modernized classrooms, updated technology, expanded programs, additional parking, enhanced safety, better access, and a more visually appealing campus.

The Plan

The redevelopment plan for WCRA’s campus will be staged over three phases. The centerpiece of the first phase is a 47,000 sq ft two-story building with underground parking. Phase 1 also includes a new classroom block and more robust and efficacious spaces for fine arts and music. Overall this phase will increase the school’s enrollment capacity by more than 33%. Phases 2 and 3 will include classrooms for grades 6-12, science laboratories, two gymnasiums, an auditorium, additional underground parking and office space for administration and staff.

Pre-Campaign Planning

The total construction cost of Phase 1 was estimated to be $13.8 million. Successful completion of Phase 1 was understood to be most critical, as it would place the school on a path to long term program stability and financial security.

Prior to making a formal decision to press forward with the plan, WRCA engaged Dickerson, Bakker & Associates to conduct a feasibility study. The purpose of the study was to determine what the WRCA constituency thought about the plan, and to determine if there would be sufficient financial support to carry it through to completion. DB&A conducted a series of personal interviews, focus group meetings, and surveys across multiple segments of stakeholders. The results of the study showed that there was broad support for the plan, and that a capital campaign would be feasible. But the giving projections coming out of the study were less than hoped, leaving a gap in the overall financial plan.

Dickerson, Bakker & Associates recommended a series of pre-campaign cultivation meetings to open discussions with a handful of families who had the highest giving capacity, but who were still “on the fence” about their giving intent. After some training by DB&A, Board members met one-on-one with these families to articulate the need and present the vision; explaining why they were committed to the project, and allowing for questions. Ultimately they were also seeking to help these families understand how instrumental their partnership was to achieving the goals of the project. People were not asked for commitments at these meetings, but were asked to pray and seek God’s leading.

At the conclusion of these meetings, positive feedback from these families made it apparent that the campaign goal could be increased, and the plan was back on track. The Board’s formal recommendation to proceed was approved without dissent.

The Campaign

With the plan formally approved, the Board moved quickly to engage Dickerson, Bakker & Associates to help with the campaign. As a demonstration that the leadership was whole-heartedly and unanimously supportive of this project, Board members and their spouses came together for a special evening to celebrate the launch of the campaign and to challenge one another to make a significant financial commitment to the campaign. A number of other major commitments were secured soon after. Together these gifts provided significant early momentum to the campaign.

Remarkably, the campaign exceeded the entire original phase 1 goal of the campaign during the quiet, leadership giving phase. When the school received offers for not one but two major matching gifts to help leverage middle and smaller gifts from alumni and other friends of the school, the Board decided to go public with a campaign goal that was a million dollars higher than originally hoped.

The first phase of the campaign is now largely complete, and construction on Phase 1 of the campus redevelopment plan is underway, with plans to move into the new building at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. And planning for Phase 2 is already in the works.


  • Achieved financial objectives for $13.8 million phase 1 of campus redevelopment plan
  • First phase goal of campaign exceeded and extended by one million dollars
  • Construction underway; occupancy expected by start of 2018-2019 school year
  • Resulting expansion allows for increased enrollment, expanded programs, better learning environments, enhanced technologies, and a safer, more inviting school community.


"I don't think there was any hope we would have had the success we did in our capital campaign without the help we received from Dickerson, Bakker & Associates. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that without them on board with our campaign, it wouldn't have even been close to the success that it turned out to be.

We wouldn't hesitate to use Dickerson-Bakker again, no question at all. We've got them on speed dial!"

Dr. Nathan B. Kennedy
Capital Campaign Chair
White Rock Christian Academy

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