In an Ensign article titled “The Key to Opportunity,” Rebekah Atkin wrote the following about the LDS Church’s Perpetual Education Fund (PEF):
. . . President [Gordon B.] Hinckley had seen poverty and lack of education and training prevent many young adults in the Church from achieving their potential. He sought the Lord for answers.
In general conference on March 31, 2001, President Hinckley announced his vision for the [Perpetual Education Fund]. He conceded that it was a “bold initiative” but held that “education is the key to opportunity.” President Hinckley invited all who wished to contribute to do so, and the program was underway.
Now, 10 years later, contributions large and small from donors worldwide have allowed the initiative–and its participants–to thrive. Elder John K. Carmack, emeritus member of the Seventy and Executive Director of PEF, says it is “rescuing Saints from the curse of poverty. . .”
According to the Ensign the PEF has impacted over 50,000 participants in 51 countries. The following statistics were listed:
- 47 percent are men, 53 percent are women
- 34 percent are married
- 80 percent of men are returned missionaries
- 82 percent work while in school
- Their average age is 24.5
- They take 2.6 years on average to complete their education
- They receive three to four times greater income after education
The PEF is patterned after Brigham Young’s Perpetual Emigration Fund. The Hinckley-inspired fund is driven by monetary donations; the interest generated by the principal is loaned to prospective students.
I strongly support the PEF effort and encourage all Saints to contribute. In fact, I would hope that members would consider allocating some of their “Tithing” money to PEF. I would also like to see a PEF set up for worthy non-members.