Building for the Future

Capital Campaign Extended

Our Capital Campaign which began in 2018 was nearly complete; all that remained was our capstone project, an addition to our women’s residence that would increase capacity from 15 to 21 women residents. We had been set to complete this final portion before COVID hit in 2020.

With the state suspending all construction work, we had to split the project up. When the state reopened construction, we did essential infrastructure and mechanical upgrades, leaving the demolition of the existing garage and construction of the actual addition itself for later. Unfortunately, splitting up the work not only introduced cost increases, but in the intervening time labor and materials costs have surged as well.

The time has come to finish this promising work. It would provide a transformative and continuous impact. Since its opening, we have run waiting lists every year and have had to turn down so many deserving women who would have loved to have the incredible experience of being a Chesterton House resident. With this addition we would be able to transform six more women’s lives each year in perpetuity, and we would supply ongoing rental revenue to fund ministry work.

We are very close to having this project fully funded. After raising nearly $2.3MM for the entire campaign including acquisition and very extensive repairs to our facilities, this is the last project on the list. Our current shortfall is around $135K. (We are still awaiting the final cost numbers from contractors who are scrambling to adjust for ever-changing materials costs.)

We are hoping to close this gap and begin construction in the spring for this project.

Please contact us for more information about this transformative project if you are interested learning more.


Exciting developments are under way. Watch our “Building for the Future” video and read more below about the vision of Chesterton House and how you can join us in building a lasting legacy on Cornell’s campus.


A benefactor of Chesterton House once challenged me to think about “the 100-year plan.” That’s a fitting challenge for a ministry that aims not only to develop future leaders, but that encourages students to think of themselves as ambassadors of the New Creation.

We began dreaming and praying for a place that could bring the advantages of a Christian college to the larger Cornell community. And we believe that God is truly answering those prayers with an opportunity to acquire and develop a unique property adjacent to the Cornell campus for classes, hospitality, and residential living.

We believe this really is an opportunity to invest in Christian living and learning at Cornell that will pay dividends for a century. We invite you to dream with us, to pray with us, and to partner with us as we begin Building for the Future.

Karl Johnson


To create a 2-acre campus-within-a-campus of three co-located facilities designed to provide Christian living and learning opportunities to Cornell students.

“Chesterton House discussions helped shape my learning and worldview while navigating my way through college— the questions we asked, how we answered them, and the resources we referenced are all still active, practical, and integral parts of my life. I’m so thankful to pray for and support this ministry—a work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in Christ.”

Jamie Chong ‘12

Chesterton House Painting


Taken together, these three pillars of programming—events, residences and courses—are like a Christian college experience nested within the larger Cornell University community.

Working in close partnership with churches and other campus ministries, as many as 5000 persons participate in programs each year. We know of no other similar set of programs at any other institution of higher education in North America.


Chesterton House began offering a public lecture series featuring some of the most distinguished Christian scholars in the English-speaking world.


Chesterton House embarked on an ambitious experiment providing residential Christian living opportunities for Cornell students.


Chesterton House offered its first accredited courses in biblical studies. This initiative was made possible in part by a partnership with Gordon College.


Isolation has become a great challenge on university campuses. Students are more “connected”—and more lonely—than ever before.

For Christians, being scattered from one another amidst classes by day and dorms by night is also detrimental to disciple-making and Christian witness. After all, Scripture teaches that witness is communal (Jn 13:35).

The good news is that real community provides compelling Christian witness as well as an antidote to isolation. What students and scholars of faith at institutions like Cornell need is a distinctively Christian living-learning center—a gathering place oriented toward community, discipleship, and spiritual formation in the Christian tradition.

“I am a Raving Fan of Chesterton House and the opportunities this ministry provides for Christian students to live together, pray together and deepen their faith together. It’s a compassionate island that fosters love, joy, peace, gratitude and grace. Thank God!”

Ken Blanchard ‘61, Cornell Trustee Emeritus, Co-Author of "The New One Minute Manager" and "Lead Like Jesus Revisited"


Alumni and parents now have a tremendous opportunity to advance Christian discipleship and witness at Cornell by giving toward the goal of growing this living-learning center.

The goal of this campaign is to complete the development of this campus, including the purchase and renovation of the beautiful Treman family home. By God’s grace, this historic home is located immediately adjacent to our current facility!

In addition to increasing space for hospitality, meetings, and outdoor events, as well as housing staff in the cottage, this plan will double capacity for residents.

Artist’s rendering of the proposed future campus

Rendering of proposed renovations to the women’s residence exterior


The cost of implementing this vision is $3,000,000.


  • We are pleased to be kicking off the campaign with a lead gift of $1,000,000!
  • Gifts to the capital campaign will not be gifts to Cornell, but processed directly by Chesterton House. Chesterton House is a 501(c)3 organization.
  • We ask all supporters to continue giving to the annual fund, which supports ministry operations and staff salaries, at previous levels.
  • For long-term sustainability of the ministry, we are asking committed ministry partners to also consider pledging estate / legacy gifts.
  • Beyond this capital campaign, future goals include acquisition of a day-use facility (library, offices, etc.), and endowment of the directorship.

Amount Raised


Curious to see how the residential campus is transforming? Check out the Renovation Updates blog to see what’s been done, what’s in the works, and what’s to come!

see all updates

Why Now

This is a strategic opportunity for several reasons:

  • Residential Christian community at Cornell is now tried-and-true: After almost a decade, our doors now swing open for over 1000 student visits per year! With improvements to facility and landscape, this number can more than double.
  • Many of the renovations planned are necessary to secure a certificate of occupancy, without which the new facility cannot be used for student housing.
  • The rental revenue will support and advance the ministry by generating a return on investment that is even better than an endowment.
  • The opportunity to purchase and further develop the historic home next door may be a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

“Chesterton House brings a thoughtful ministry to the campus that supplements and enriches the Cornell experience. From discussion groups to public lectures; from credit courses to retreats; from residential living to publishing a student journal of Christian thought, Chesterton House serves a growing number of members of the student community. I welcome its positive contribution.”

Frank H.T. Rhodes, President Emeritus, Cornell University


Through classes, events, and hospitality, Chesterton House already serves thousands of students each year. We invite you to help us leverage this already robust program through the development of a truly unique Christian living-learning center.

We will be pleased to recognize donors for their gifts and pledges, which may be made over three years, with plaques acknowledging their support as follows.

  • Large Flagstone Patio $500,000 (1 available)
  • Cottage for staff mentors $250,000 (1 available)
  • Kitchens $150,000 (2 available)
  • Libraries $100,000 (2 available)
  • Dining Rooms $100,000 (2 available)
  • Double Rooms $50,000 (10 available)
  • Single Rooms $25,000 (10 available)

Gifts to the capital campaign will not be gifts to Cornell, but processed directly by Chesterton House.

Checks with the memo line “Capital Campaign” can be sent to Chesterton House at 118 Anabel Taylor Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853.

To give securities, property, or to give anonymously call Randy Stair, PCA Foundation, 1-800-700-3221.