By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
The historic 84-year-old Chicago Baptist Institute International (CBII) is up for sale and behind on its mortgage by more than $1.3 million, according to Diann Baker, the school’s chief financial officer.
The school is located at 5120 S. King Drive.
“The school needs the support of the ministers, and they need to start sending their donations along with paying students to CBII, then perhaps the Institute can be saved,” Baker told this reporter during a phone interview.
“The churches need to support the CBII because right now our finances are low,” she said. “The Black churches need to step up and support the school financially. The school still has its mortgage debt of $1.3 million and that does not include the costs of upkeep and utilities. The school needs the support of churches, pastors and leaders.”
CCBI was originally located in one room on the second floor of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Co. building at 35th and then South Parkway (now Dr. King Drive). Its mission is “to provide students with a Bible-centered education that will reach, teach, train and equip them to live by and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through community and worldwide Christian ministries.”
Like many troubled institutions in the Black community, CBII lacks the financial resources to get out of debt. A “For Sale” sign sits in the front yard of the building. The selling price for CBII building is $13,500,000, according to public records.
Baker is optimistic that CBII will survive its financial crisis.
“It is not too late to support the school. The ministry is not going away. If they start supporting it, CBII would turn around.”
CBII’s financial problems go back to 2011, when it owed $200,000 on its mortgage and was in jeopardy of going into foreclosure. That year, multi-millionaire Dr. Willie Wilson, became chairman of the board and saved the institute from bankruptcy. He reportedly put more than $2 million into the school to repair the roof and replace the boilers, according to Baker.
Baker said, “It’s time for the ministers to step up. Dr. Wilson came in there in 2011 and supported it until the present. It is time for them (the ministers) to start walking. You can crawl only so long,”
To help save the CBII, make checks payable to the Chicago Baptist Institute. Baker said donors can also drop off donations at the school.