National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders 

An initiative of Lilly Endowment Inc., hosted by the Center for Congregations


About the Coordination Program

In late 2015, Lilly Endowment Inc. made grants to benefit 28 organizations totaling more than $28 million in its National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges. In late 2016, a second cohort of grantees was added to the Initiative. In 2022, a third cohort of grantees was added to the Initiative. These grants were awarded to a variety of organizations across the nation that are using them to help pastoral leaders develop stronger financial literacy skills and provide direct aid to help these leaders reduce or eliminate education debt, participate in pension programs, pay off extraordinary medical bills, and address other financial challenges. The grants support a variety of church-related institutions: denominational pension and benefits boards; local and regional denomination judicatories, such as synods and dioceses; and denominational foundations. The institutions represent diverse Christian traditions.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

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. To learn more about Lilly Endowment, please visit

Gatherings & Connection Opportunities



2024 Team Leadership Gathering 

May 8-10, 2024

This gathering will take place at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis. It includes cohorts 1, 2, and 3. Directors are welcome to invite up to 4 team members to attend with him/her if your grant is active. Team Leadership Gathering invites will continue to be extended even if you have concluded, but as a team of two.  


Peer Connections For Directors

These are completely optional conversation opportunities for directors to connect with one another. Peer connections are scheduled to be 90 minutes but it's a very casual format and you are welcome to leave at any point. All begin at NOON Eastern. An invite will be sent to directors the week before each offering. Directors are welcome to invite team members they feel would benefit from these conversations.  

   2024 dates:

   January 16      February 12      March 14      April 10      June 25 
   August 15    l    September 17      October 21   l    December 11