Lilly Launches $19.4 Million Initiative for Innovative Ministries

Lilly Launches $19.4 Million Initiative for Innovative Ministries

The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced a new $19.4 million initiative to help congregations design innovative ministries that support and enrich the religious lives of young adults.  

The Young Adult Initiative will support the establishment of innovation hubs at twelve colleges, universities, and seminaries around the country that, in tunr, will help congregations design and launch new ministries for young adults in their twenties. As part of the initiative, the endowment is awarding a grant to the Indianapolis Center for Congregations in support of a five-year project that will regularly convene leaders of the innovation hubs to share lessons learned and help them support and learn from their partner congregations.

The organizations receiving YAI grants, which average $1.5 million each, are located in ten states and the District of Columbia and reflect diverse Christian traditions — mainline Protestant, evangelical and historic African-American denominations, as well as Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and independent congregations. As part of the program, each innovation hub will identify twelve to twenty-four congregations to work with, with the hubs providing those congregations with grants of up to $30,000 to fund the design, launch, and evaluation of new ministries.

Grant recipients include Augsburg College in Minneapolis; Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas; Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado; Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California; Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois; Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts; the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia; Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey; Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana; Seattle Pacific University; Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois; and the Wesley Theological Seminary of the United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.

"Religious leaders long to connect with young adults, but many acknowledge that few young people in their twenties are making their way into congregational life," said Lilly Endowment vice president for religion Christopher L. Coble. "These church leaders are looking for new and fresh ways to build relationships with young people."