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Additional $2.5 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Supports Work of Louisville Institute

Dec 16, 2014
Funding now exceeds $10 million to advance work with North American pastoral leaders, theological educators, religion scholars, seminaries and churches.

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded an additional grant of nearly $2.5 million ($2,487,000) to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to continue the work of the Louisville Institute through 2018. The Institute, a national leader in the study of religion and support of pastors and other church leaders in North America, will use the funds to increase the number of awards given in four grant programs, three fellowship programs and the Collaborative Inquiry Team program that currently make up the Institute’s work.

News of the grant was announced by Dr. Michael Jinkins, president of Louisville Seminary, and Dr. Terry Muck, executive director of the Louisville Institute.

“We get more qualified applications for each of these competitive programs than we are able to fund,” said Muck. “With this additional money we will be able to extend our support of theological and pastoral research and inquiry, as well as our programs designed to enhance the vocation of theological education. We are grateful for this additional support and its implicit endorsement of the work we have been doing.”

Lilly Endowment has awarded grants to support the Louisville Institute since 1990. In October, the Endowment awarded the Institute approximately $8 million to support its work. The additional $2.5 million awarded in December, will allow the Institute to:

  • Provide Fellowships in Theological Education to identify and support a new generation of exceptionally well-prepared faculty for theological schools
  • Facilitate Collaborative Inquiry Teams that bring together cohorts of pastors and professors to address issues confronting the church
  • Award grants to support innovative research projects by both pastoral and academic leaders
  • Develop and implement a communication plan to share and interpret the Institute’s work more widely and strategically

According to Muck, the additional money will be used to further extend the functions of the Institute’s website (www.louisville-institute.org) and to create new pathways to deliver to those who need it the best thinking on the challenges facing congregations. An overall evaluation of the Institute’s communication strategy is in place, and with this additional money, the recommendations coming from that evaluation will be implemented after board evaluation.

“I know that people frequently throw around the term ‘transformational,’ but the work of the Louisville Institute generously funded by the Lilly Endowment has proven to be truly transformational in the lives of pastors and their congregations, scholars, their students and the many lives touched by their research,” Jinkins said. “The Institute's goal has long been to bring together ecclesially-minded scholars and scholarly pastors for the enrichment of communities of faith. We are grateful to the Lilly Endowment for the opportunity to pursue this goal. We are especially grateful for this grant, in addition to that which the Institute received earlier this fall, which allows us to expand the number of people who will benefit.”

As part of its Vocation of the Theological Educator Initiative, the Louisville Institute offers three fellowship programs designed to support the preparation of theological faculty who engage in teaching and scholarship that serves the church and its ministries. With this initiative, the Louisville Institute addresses the need for a new generation of faculty that is prepared to respond to the questions and needs of communities of faith and their future leadership.

The Louisville Institute’s Collaborative Inquiry Team Program supports teams of four to six pastors and professors who propose projects to strengthen the life of North American Christian congregations. Each team spends three years exploring together a question of vital importance to the church.

The Institute offers grants to support research by scholar/pastors and scholar/educators that strengthen the religious life of North American Christians and their institutions while simultaneously advancing American religious and theological scholarship. These grant programs aim to serve three strategic constituencies whose competence and well-being are essential to the future of the church: pastors, younger scholars, and researchers and scholars for the broader church.

To learn more about the Louisville Institute, visit its website at www.louisville-institute.org.

To learn more about Lilly Endowment Inc., visit its website at www.lillyendowment.org.

To learn about Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, visit its website at www.lpts.edu.
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