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Lilly Endowment Inc. was founded in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. for the “promotion and support of religious, educational or charitable purposes.” Throughout its history, the Endowment has sought to nurture the human spirit, intellect and character. When once asked what the main purpose of the Endowment should be, Eli Lilly said, “I hope we could help improve the character of the American people.”
Our founders viewed character and human development in the context of community and encouraged unselfish concern for the welfare of others. The value they placed on philanthropy, which was in large part motivated by their religious faith, was expressed by Eli Lilly when he said: “Owing everything we are to the past and present generations, each of us must be willing to give unstinted help to others.”
Compelling Preaching Initiative: Through the Compelling Preaching Initiative, Lilly Endowment seeks to cultivate practices among aspiring and active preachers that can help them to proclaim the gospel to a variety of audiences in more engaging and effective ways. Learn More
Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative: Through the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative, Lilly Endowment seeks to help interested parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children. Learn More
The Endowment supports organizations that are committed to their missions and have deep knowledge about the needs of those they serve. That is why we respect and value their insights about the most pressing challenges they face and what they need to do to address them so they can enhance, expand and sustain their impact.
Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved grants to help 21 theological schools in the United States and Canada strengthen their educational programs and enhance their financial viability so they are better able to prepare and support leaders for Christian congregations now and into the future. These grants are in addition to 84 grants made to theological schools in 2021 also through the second phase of the Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative.