The Initiative is a response to research findings from the National Study of Youth and Religion, which, according to the Lilly Foundation’s Request for Proposal, found “parents are the single most important influence in shaping the religious beliefs, values and practices of their children.”
The Foundation established this new Initiative because studies also show that parents need and want support and guidance from churches and other Christian organizations to help them “navigate the challenges of raising children today.”
Grant recipients were awarded as much as $1.25 million each for five years.
The 77 recipients included a variety of churches, from Catholic to Pentecostal, and were multi-ethnic. Awardees also included colleges and universities, seminaries, religious camps and publishing houses.
Some more recognizable grantees included MOPS International, Wheaton College, University of Notre Dame, Loyola Press, Marquette University, Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene and Boston University.
According to the Lilly Foundation, these organizations will collectively serve many kinds of family structures in addition to the traditional two-parent families, including single-parent families, blended families, foster families, immigrant families, families with children with special needs and families with children who have experienced trauma.
Some of these organizations will produce resources to assist families in developing “faith-based rituals to help their children grow spiritually” through prayer, scripture readings and storytelling. Other awardees will provide “peer-coaching programs and offer training” to parents and caregivers so they can confidently share their faith with their children.
The Lilly Endowment was formed in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. The family made their wealth in the pharmaceutical sector through their family-owned business, Eli Lilly and Company.
Lilly and his sons created the foundation to support community development, education and religion.
According to the Foundation, the primary aim of their religious grantmaking is to “deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States” by “seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities.”
Since its inception, the Endowment has given away nearly $11 billion to over 10,000 charitable organizations.
In an era when many businesses and their philanthropic foundations seem to have gone woke to earn favor from radical special interest groups, it is more than refreshing to know that there are still organizations, like the Lilly Foundation, who see the value of helping families preserve the Christian faith for the next generation and are willing to fund those efforts.
To learn more about the Foundation and the type of initiatives it seeks to fund, visit Lilly Endowment.
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