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



2023 Team Leadership Gathering 

May 1-3, 2023

We are thrilled to include our new grant recipients in this gathering. This event will include cohorts 1, 2, and 3. Team Leadership Gathering invites will continue to be extended even if you concluded in 2021 or 2022. Directors are welcome to invite up to 4 team members to attend with him/her. 


2023 Director's +1 Gathering 

Fall 2023 (TBD)

Cohorts 1 and 2 will be invited to gather virtually for a half day gathering. Cohort 3's gathering is still in discussion. Updates will be shared at the May gathering. 


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. We currently do not have any Peer Connections scheduled but will revisit the schedule following our May gathering.