South Holland, Illinois

Fall 2000


I am Marcia, the T.R.I.P. coordinator for a Christian School in Illinois. Our school has about 400 students from 220 families. The parents club here has run the gift certificate fund raiser known as the T.R.I.P. program for more than eight years now and this has enabled participating families to earn over $350,000 that has been applied to tuition reduction plus an additional $60,000 for other uses. We were the first CSI Christian school in the Chicago area to do this type of fund raiser for tuition reduction.

This note is to let you know that I am willing to talk to other schools about getting a Scrip/T.R.I.P. program up and running. The information you find on this web site has been sent to many schools in a wide variety of states. We have spent many hours doing the groundwork and refining T.R.I.P. here -- and are willing to share our experience so that others don't have to reinvent the wheel. More important, I believe a terrific fund-raiser like this should be shared to benefit Christian education everywhere.

The Scrip used in our T.R.I.P. fund raiser is negotiable gift certificates from a variety of merchants and businesses. The scrip can be used just like cash when making purchases at those places of business. Your school (or other non-profit organization) can sell these certificates to families and use the profits to reduce costs for individual families, and help support the school. But where do you get the certificates, and how much do you have to pay for them?

Certificates can be purchased, in bulk and at a discount from many businesses, both local and national chains.  But your school does not need to establish a relationship with dozens of different merchants - you can purchase a wide array of certificates from one or more Scrip certificate brokers. The brokers purchase the large quantity needed to get the best discounts, and pass most of the discount on to schools who may purchase in any quantity. These discounts range from 2 to 20 percent, or higher on occasion.

Schools outside the Chicago area can use the services of Great Lakes Scrip in Michigan or Manna Express in Palatine, Illinois. They handle certificates for regional and national chains such as J.C. Penney, Sears, Kohl's, Speedway gas, Menards, Kmart, and some chain restaurants such as Olive Garden, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Red Lobster. You may also find that local businesses may be willing to sell certificates directly to you. For larger cost less frequently purchased items such as appliances, heating & air conditioning, cars, camping trailers, etc., a voucher system can be set up as an alternate to certificates.

In order to make the immense task of keeping track of tuition credit earned by individual families simpler, we developed a computer program that is in use at more than 100 schools in sixteen states and one province. These schools are very pleased with the MANNAger software and with it's ease of operation. We have found that the average bookkeeper at a modestly sized school will spend about three hours a week on T.R.I.P. The 5 to 10 additional volunteers needed to run the operation will each spend 1 to 2 hours a week doing their assigned duties.

If you are interested in learning more about T.R.I.P., send an e-mail to Please mention the name of the school you're affiliated with. I'll be willing to call and talk if you send your phone number.

Thank you.

  [ How-To Ideas for Scrip/T.R.I.P. ]   [ Software for your Scrip/T.R.I.P. Fund Raiser ]