Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Inc., received a grant of $1 million as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.'s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they address the financial and economic struggles that can impair the ability of pastors to lead congregations effectively.
The Endowment gives $28 million in grants through this initiative. The grants are part of the Endowment's commitment to supporting the pastoral leadership development of clergy serving in congregations across the United States.
Pension Fund is one of 27 organizations taking part in the initiative, which represents a variety of Christian traditions, including Baptist, Catholic, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of God (Anderson), Episcopal, Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed and Wesleyan churches, as well as nondenominational, and historic African-American Christian communities. They include denominational pension and benefits boards; local and regional denomination judicatories, such as synods and dioceses; and denominational foundations. Each program is customized to the needs of pastoral leaders in each religious tradition, but the programs have much in common as they:
Provide incentives for clergy to take part in personal finance education
Offer low- or no-cost financial planning and counseling
Match contributions for pastors and congregations that enroll in pension savings programs
Help pastors create emergency funds
Develop strategies that help young pastors pay down or eliminate educational debt
Create new scholarships so that seminarians borrow less while in school
"Pastors, especially those just beginning in ministry, accept low salaries as part of their commitment to God and to church. Many enter ministry with significant debt from their undergraduate and seminary years and often have little financial resiliency when financial emergencies arise. These organizations understand the importance of the financial well-being of pastors and the implications for the congregations they serve."
Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli —
through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment's religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.