Lilly Endowment launches initiatives to boost theological schools

Lilly Endowment launches initiatives to boost theological schools

The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced an $87.5 million initiative aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of theological schools in North America.

The Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative will support efforts by Association of Theological Schools-accredited institutions in the United States and Canada to assess the challenges and opportunities they face and clarify their missions in light of them; evaluate the effectiveness of their educational strategies and financial operations for preparing and supporting pastors and congregational lay ministers; and develop new programs and/or strengthen existing programs in response to a changing landscape.

To that end, the initiative will award  phase-one planning grants of $50,000; up to fifty phase-two implementation grants of up to $1 million; and phase-three grants of up to $5 million in support of large-scale, collaborative projects that offer replicable models for other institutions.

"Theological schools have long played a central role for most denominations and church networks in preparing pastoral leaders who guide the ministries of Christian congregations," said Lilly Endowment vice president for religion Christopher Coble. "But today these schools find themselves in a period of rapid and profound change. This initiative is intended to assist theological schools in designing new approaches or accelerating their current innovative efforts to adapt to changes in higher education and church life. We hope that this support will help them sustain their abilities to prepare pastoral leaders for years to come."

(Photo credit: Franciscan School of Theology)

"Initiative seeks to strengthen theological schools for the future." Lilly Endowment press release 01/25/2021.