Lilly Endowment: Religion Grants

Lilly Endowment Inc.

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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Overview:

Lilly Endowment receives a few thousand grant requests each year, but we can fund only a small percentage of many worthwhile proposals. These guidelines, formulated over the years by our founders and the Endowment's Board of Directors, govern our grantmaking decisions.

Our Work: Religion

Our primary aim in religion is to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians, principally by supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations. We seek to ensure that congregations have a steady stream of wise, faithful and well-prepared leaders. We also support efforts that help Christians draw on the wisdom of their theological traditions as they strive to understand and respond to contemporary challenges and live their faith more fully. In addition, we work to foster public understanding about religion and help lift up in fair and accurate ways the contributions that people of diverse religious faiths make to our greater civic well-being.

Strengthening Pastoral Leadership

We believe that the long-term vitality of congregations depends on excellent pastoral leadership, and our grants seek to ensure that congregations have a steady stream of wise, faithful and well-prepared leaders. By drawing upon research and insights from conversations with thoughtful religious leaders, we strive to support efforts that present promising responses to challenges facing pastoral leadership and Christian congregations. We pay particular attention to key moments along the arc of a pastor’s ministerial career – from a young person’s wrestling with a call to ministry to an experienced pastor’s seeking to sustain excellence.

Deepening Christian Life

We seek to help American Christians live their faith fully and well through grants that support the exploration of compelling questions facing Christian congregations. How can Christians draw more fully on the wisdom of scriptural and theological traditions to understand and respond to contemporary challenges? How can Christian faith be nurtured throughout life and passed to new generations? How are pastors, theologians and others responding to the influence of rapid cultural change on all aspects of life, including faith?

Enhancing Congregational Vitality

We believe that vibrant congregations enrich the lives of their members and those they serve through mission outreach in their communities and throughout the world. We, therefore, support efforts to enhance the vitality of congregations and address the most pressing challenges facing them. In so doing, we focus on questions such as the following:

What makes Christian congregations vibrant, effective communities of faith? How can congregations be renewed and strengthened in the face of contemporary social change? How can congregational leadership become stronger and more sustainable? How can practices for promoting congregational vitality be shared among diverse congregations?

Strengthening Religious Institutions and Networks

We believe that institutions beyond local congregations are essential to their vitality and the success of their ministries. These institutions and the networks to which they belong are addressing important issues facing Christianity.

How can theological schools, colleges and universities and judicatories help strengthen pastors and prepare a new generation of Christian leaders? How can these organizations collaborate more effectively with each other and with congregations to enhance and sustain the mission of Christian churches and parishes? How can various Christian institutions address the economic challenges facing seminarians, pastors and congregations?

Improving the Public Understanding of Religion

Religion plays a critical role in shaping American life. Through grants on an invitational basis to major cultural institutions and nonprofit news and media organizations around the country, we seek to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair and accurate ways the contributions that people of all faiths and diverse religious communities make to our greater civic well-being.

What We Fund

Our religion grantmaking aims to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians, principally by supporting efforts that enrich the vitality of congregations. We believe that the long-term health of congregations depends on excellent pastoral leadership, and our grants seek to ensure that congregations have a steady stream of wise, faithful and well-prepared leaders. We also support efforts that help Christians draw on the wisdom of their theological traditions as they strive to understand and respond to contemporary challenges and live out their faith more fully. Much of this work centers on the theological concept of vocation and focuses on helping Christians, especially youth and young adults, discover how God calls them to lead lives of meaning and purpose.

In addition, we believe that religion plays a critical role in shaping American life. Through grants to major cultural institutions and 501(c) (3) news and media organizations, we seek to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair and accurate ways the contributions that people of all faiths and diverse religious communities make to our greater civic well-being.

Our grantmaking in religion is national in scope

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Ineligibility:

  • The Endowment generally does not support the following:
    • Loans or cash grants to private individuals.
      •  We do not assist individuals with personal or business-related finances.
    • Requests to discharge preexisting debts of individuals or organizations.
    • Healthcare projects
    • Mass media projects
      • The Endowment does not typically fund mass media projects and limits consideration to projects that fall squarely within our specific program areas.
    • Endowments or endowed chairs
      • The Endowment targets its grants for specific purposes.
      • Except in unusual cases involving longstanding grantees or special initiatives, we do not contribute to endowments or endowed chairs.
    • Libraries
      • Except for special initiatives, the Endowment regularly declines grants to public libraries outside Marion County, Ind.
    • Outside Indianapolis
      • Requests usually are declined for building campaigns, elementary/secondary education, arts and culture, human service projects, general operating funds and neighborhood projects (except as part of invitational grant programs).