One of the world’s biggest private philanthropic foundations has made multiple grants totalling nearly A$140 million to help American Christians nurture their faith in their children.
The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has approved 77 grants of between A$350,000 and A$1.85 million to Christian institutions and ministries through its Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative.
Those recipients will help “interested parents and other caregivers share their Christian faith and values with their children [to] build on recent research that affirms the pivotal role parents play in the religious lives of their children.”
“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and are looking to churches and other faith-based organisations for support,” said Lilly Endowment Vice President for Religion Christopher L. Coble.
“These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organisations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task,” he added.
The “principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grant-making is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities.”
Notable recipients include Asbury Theological Seminary, Marquette University, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, College of the Ozarks, Wheaton College and the University of Notre Dame.
Those invited to apply for the grants included “organisations with public charity tax status” such as “theological schools, colleges and universities, church resourcing agencies, publishing houses, national and regional denominational judicatories, camps and retreat centres.”
Research has shown that many Christians struggle with how to best share their faith. A 2022 Lifeway Research study found that two-thirds of American Christians don’t know how to share their faith with others, even though over half (54%) said they are either “willing” or “eager” when asked what they think about “telling others about Jesus Christ.
The Lilly Endowment was created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Junior through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. It focuses on supporting community development, education and Christianity with special emphasis on projects that benefit young people and that strengthen financial self-sufficiency in the charitable sector. In 2021, its assets were worth A$31 billion.