William H. Dunlap Orphanage

The purpose of each board and agency of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian denomination is to carry out a specific ministry of the church. The ministry committed to the Board of Trustees of William H. Dunlap Orphanage (“Dunlap”) is “to provide care, support, maintenance, and education of orphaned, or fatherless, or helpless, or needy children, and to support projects related to such children.”

Our ministry then is to those made vulnerable by unfortunate circumstances and whose vulnerability is compounded by their youth. Our purpose is to assist those homes and services providing all the following to orphans:

  • Basic physical necessities;
  • Nurture for spiritual, mental and emotional well-being; and
  • Assistance toward greater self-reliance.

Dunlap served as the denomination’s orphanage from 1904 until June 30, 1978. The vision for an orphanage, run and supported by the ARP denomination, began with Rev. J. P. Knox in 1895. Rev. Knox was serving in Hickory Grove, SC when his wife became deathly ill. He pleaded with the Lord to make his wife well and promised to do some special work for Him, if He would heal her. Mrs. Lutie Brice Knox recovered from her illness and, soon after, the couple set about carrying out the plan to provide a home for, and minister to, fatherless and motherless little ones. The home was formally opened on November 25, 1897 (Thanksgiving Day) in Hickory Grove, SC on 2 and a half acres of land. Over the next few years, it became evident that it would be best to have some farm land, the cultivation of which would give employment to the children in the home as well as increase the revenues of the institution. Hearing of the need, the Dunlap family decided to give over 300 acres of farmland in West Tennessee to the cause. Toward the close of his life, at the urgings of his daughter, William H. Dunlap built a house with the intent of it being the beginnings of an orphanage after his passing. William H. Dunlap died on January 26, 1903 and on October 3, 1903, his daughter, Mrs. Anna Belle Dunlap McDaniel carried out the plan made by her father by deeding to the Trustees of Synod of the ARP Church the Dunlap Home together with 245 acres of land. On October 28, Mrs. F. P. Spain, Mr. Dunlap’s sister, added to the bequest by deeding to the Synod 91 acres of land. These gifts were made as a memorial to an honorable man and were to bear the name of William H. Dunlap.

Over the next several decades, Dunlap Orphanage thrived, adding barns and dormitories, Jersey cows and orchards, a car shed, tool house, smokehouse, and laundry. There were many faithful workers who cared for the children and worked hard to improve their quality of life. The health of the children was carefully looked after, thanks to the cooperation of local doctors and the Methodist Hospital in Memphis. The children attended their own grammar school on the grounds of the Orphanage, then rode the bus to Brighton High School in town. The Orphanage was appreciated and respected throughout the surrounding areas, both for what it stood for and for the high grade of work being done there.

By the 1950’s, the Orphanage had reached a capacity of 60 children. Additional buildings were added so that the children “could be housed in a more home-like atmosphere.” In 1962, the YPCU raised money from many ARPs and others for a swimming pool to be built on the grounds. A bus was also purchased and a choir of children was organized. Each fall the children sang in ARP Churches across the Synod. The bus also transported the children to Bonclarken conferences and school events.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the end came in 1969 when the Dunlap Board was asked by the Tennessee Welfare Department to sign the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which stated that “no child would be denied admittance because of race, creed or color.” The Trustees, after much discussion, decided not to sign. In the past, Dunlap had depended largely on the welfare departments of the government to do the casework for the children. After declining to sign the Civil Rights Act, all referrals from the welfare departments and social service agencies immediately stopped. Referrals were made directly from the juvenile courts with no screening or follow up, which social services had provided in the past. The results were disastrous. Enrollment began to decline, Dunlap no longer received government funding, and 80 percent of the children who were enrolled were not orphans, but wards of the court. The staff were not trained nor equipped to handle this new group of children. Dunlap began operating on a deficit, most of the staff resigned as the population changed and there were six superintendents within four years. Most ARP children were sent to foster homes, rather than to Dunlap Orphanage.

Finally, in 1975, the Trustees voted for compliance with the Civil Rights Act. Referrals from previous channels began again and the residing children who were not orphans were returned to their families. Attempts were made to develop an appropriate and up-to-date program, including arranging one cottage as a family unit, which was the trend at the time. This was very successful. But, the damage to the orphanage had already been done and, try as they might, the leadership was never able to help the orphanage fully recover. By 1977, there were only 13 children residing at Dunlap. Moderator Grady Oates suggested that the ministry was “completed” and in 1978 Synod voted to close Dunlap.

For 75 years, Dunlap had carried out the mission to “care for orphans in their distress.” Hundreds of children had been raised there, including two who went on to become ARP Pastors. Many others became Christian leaders in their communities.

Since our denomination no longer has an orphanage in place, Dunlap funds continue to be used to support Christian homes for children without parental care. Resources come from the endowment.

Dunlap Trustees have established ongoing relationships with Collins Home for Children, French Camp Academy, and Palmer Home For Children. These organizations will provide resources and opportunities for ministry.

Collins Home for Children

Collins Children’s Home was founded over 37 years ago by Joe and Anne Rackley in Seneca, SC. It is a not-for-profit ministry that provides residential homes for children who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, orphaned or are other-wise unable to live with their families. They have 2 Cottages, a Boys Home and a Girls Home, for children ages birth to 21. The children typically stay 1 to 3 years, but can stay as long as they need. Within a community of Christian values, Collins Children’s Home cares for children and supports families in an atmosphere that instills feelings of acceptance, safety, permanence, dignity, and joy while teaching important life skills and a work ethic that will enable them to be productive members of society.

French Camp Academy

French Camp Academy, a Christ-centered home and school, exists to serve youth and families for the glory of God by providing a nurturing, structured home environment where young people can heal from the bumps and bruises of life.  A Christian education to develop a mind for truth and plenty of opportunities are provided to develop a work ethic utilizing its multi-faceted 900 acre campus and various support ministries.

Young people are given a fresh start and offered a new trajectory for life built on a biblical foundation as they engage relationally with Christian adults on campus.  For more information about French Camp Academy, its ministry to hurting young people, please see our website at

Palmer Home

The mission of Palmer Home is to make lives whole through healing and restoration. Serving individual children and sibling groups, Palmer Home for Children provides a family and community to children in need regardless of race, gender or background. They serve the children using “The Whole Child Initiative.” The Whole Child Initiative is the comprehensive approach to caring for children that recognizes and addresses the multi-dimensional aspects of a child’s life, physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual. Wonderful caregivers care for wounded and broken children by sharing the healing power of Jesus and providing physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual care. Palmer Home hopes to be the hands and feet of God’s compassion, doing justice for those whom God loves and who cannot help themselves. For more information on Palmer Home for Children, visit

2017 Grant Recipients

Each year the board chooses several organizations to support financially. The organizations chosen for 2017 are listed below.

Boys Farm

The mission of Boys Farm is to offer a home exclusively for the purpose of providing a Christian, charitable, and educational home with love, Christian training, understanding, and guidance. The Farm was founded in 1960 in Newberry, SC. Through Academic Development, Agriculture & Environmental, Character & Responsibility, Recreation & Athletic, and College Advancement Programs, the Boys Farm does an exceptional job of meeting the spiritual as well as the physical needs of the boys who come to them for help. For more information about Boys’ Farm, visit

Calvary Home

Calvary Home provides help, hope, and home to abused and neglected children. Their vision is to build an exceptional community of nurturing homes for displaced children in the Upstate of South Carolina through their main campus and by licensing individual foster homes in Anderson County. They strive for every child to be nurtured in a welcoming, reliable, and Christ-centered home and be united with their family as a more physically, emotionally, and academically stable individual. For more information on Calvary Home, visit

Hope for the Fatherless

Hope for the Fatherless is an organization that focuses on giving intensive love, care and high standard education and training opportunities to orphaned children, between the ages six to ten, and so desire to impart living hope in Christ. Additionally, they believe and hope to see the culture in Ethiopia transformed to care for the fatherless, the weak, and the vulnerable. This vision was primarily conceived after observing the living conditions of needy children who live in destitution or orphanages, and recognizing their learning abilities. It is believed that if today’s children are well educated, trained and mentored in every aspect of their life, they will become a generation of tomorrow’s great citizens.

Mabel Lowry Pressly home Girls’ Hostel

Mabel Lowry Pressly home Girls’ Hostel – Dunlap has partnered with Mabel Lowry Pressly Hostel and ARP Mission Girls’ High School for several years now. The Dunlap Grant accounts for more than 12% of total Sahiwal School and Hostel expenses. The mission of MLPHostel and ARP Mission Girls’ High School is to train and disciple Pakistani girls as Christian role models by providing them with comprehensive spiritual, physical, emotional, social, and educational care in a Christian environment. The vast majority of the girls come from large families who live in extreme poverty. Many have disabled parents, and/or have lost one or both parents. Some of these girls are sent to MLPH because their families cannot afford to take care of them. For these girls, education and Christian training would be virtually impossible otherwise. The children are trained in Biblical and reformed theology and many grow up to become leaders in the women’s lay ministry of the Pakistan Synod of the ARP Church.


Miracle Hill

Miracle Hill Ministries has served the neediest in the upstate of SC for nearly 80 years. Their Children’s Ministries cares for abandoned, troubled, neglected and abused children from ages 7 to 21and provides them with quality Christian care. Miracle Hill also has a Child Placing Agency license through the SC Department of Social Services to license foster parents. In 2016, they served 334 children though their Foster Care program.

Grant Information

Financial assistance is available to exempt organizations (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code) that provide comprehensive physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual care in a Christian environment for orphaned, fatherless, helpless or needy children. Funding for such projects shall not exceed five years and shall be on a declining basis.

The Board will consider any grant proposal subject to the following guidelines:

1. Proposals will be considered on an annual basis. To be considered, completed applications must be postmarked and received not later than February 1 at the Administrative office:

William H. Dunlap Orphanage, Inc.
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Center
918 S Pleasantburg Dr Ste 127
Greenville SC 29607-2424

2. Proposals must include a completed William H. Dunlap Application for Grant with the required attachments. Applicants need to view the following before completing the application:

3. The William H. Dunlap Board will determine the projects to receive support at its March meeting. The funds granted to the applicant will become available in April.

Grant Application

Download / View

Many families in the ARP who adopt children face the significant challenge of having the necessary finances available. The average domestic or foreign adoption expense is between $25,000 and $35,000. The cost alone is prohibitive for modest incomes of most pastoral staff. To help meet the financial need, a special Adoption Assistance Fund was established. It assists ARP pastors, elders, and members in good standing who are in the process of adoption. No Synod funds are used to resource the Adoption Fund. Instead it relies solely on private donations.

Download / View the Application


Erskine College

Each year, the Dunlap Board gives $20,000 to Erskine College to grant scholarships to students who have lost one or both of their parents. The mission of Erskine College is to equip students to flourish by providing an excellent liberal arts education in a Christ-centered environment where learning and biblical truth are integrated to develop the whole person.

In order to maintain the ministry to young men and women, which the William H. Dunlap Orphanage carried out from, 1905-1978, an undergraduate scholarship program has been established.

I. Who is eligible?

Students who have been deprived of one or both parents, either by death, desertion, or other conditions which prevents such students from having normal parental care.

II. How do I apply?

Each applicant must complete an admission application to Erskine College, the William H. Dunlap Scholarship application, and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These forms may be secured by contacting the addresses listed below.

III. What is the amount of the scholarship?

The annual William H. Dunlap Scholarship shall be in the amount of up to $4,000 each as determined by the Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee. Renewal of the Dunlap Scholarship in succeeding years requires satisfactory academic progress toward a degree and the maintaining of the financial qualifications originally associated with the award.

IV. When do I apply?

Applicants must submit the Dunlap Scholarship application, the application for admission to Erskine College and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 1. Recipients will be selected by the Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee and will be notified in writing.

Director of Financial Aid
Erskine College
PO Box 338
Due West, SC 29639
Telephone: (864) 379-8832
Or visit our web site at:

Jim Barker Scholarship

This is a fairly new scholarship, and was begun in memory of Jim Barker who served faithfully on the Dunlap Board from 2008 – 2013. Jim Barker was a long time ARP Pastor as well as a graduate of Erskine College and Seminary. This scholarship will go to Erskine students who have lost one or both parents and exhibit leadership qualities.

2017 Board Members

  • Mary Nell Coblentz
  • Calvin Draffin
  • Bill Everett
  • Doug Fravel
  • Jerry Hallman
  • Mike Jones
  • William Kidd
  • Holly Moore
  • Ron Pritts
  • Jim Sherrill
  • Kristin Shoger

Administrative Support

  • Steve Nichols
  • Chip Smith
  • Roger Wiles