Religion plays a critical role in shaping American life. Through grants on an invitational basis to major cultural institutions and nonprofit news and media organizations around the country, we seek to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair and accurate ways the contributions that people of all faiths and diverse religious communities make to our greater civic well-being.

Cultural Institutions

Related Grants

National Museum of African American History and Culture, a museum of the Smithsonian Institution located in Washington, D.C., is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture. The Endowment made a $10 million grant the Smithsonian in 2015 to create the Center for the Study of African American Religion. Learn More

National Museum of American History, a museum of the Smithsonian Institution located in Washington, D.C., is the most visited history museum in the United States. With support from a $5 million Endowment grant to the Smithsonian in 2015, the National Museum of American History has established an endowed curator of American religious history to strengthen the museum’s exploration and incorporation of religion into its interpretation of American life. LEARN MORE

International African American Museum (IAAM) is a museum being developed in Charleston, S.C., that will tell a multifaceted story about Americans of African descent and their contributions to American history and culture. The Endowment made a $10 million grant to the museum in 2017 that is helping the IAAM build its capacity to incorporate religion into its interpretations of American life and establish relationships with and develop programs for churches and other faith-based organizations. LEARN MORE


Related Grants

Religion News Service (RNS), which is supported by the Religion News Foundation, is the nation’s most authoritative and widely used source for reporting about religion. It produces more than 4,000 articles and news reports per year that appear worldwide in more than 150 leading newspapers and magazines, broadcast organizations, religious publications, and an increasing number of online and social media outlets. Through its team of correspondents around the world, RNS provides news on religion and its intersections with political and cultural issues. Learn More

The Conversation US is an independent, nonprofit news organization that produces and promotes evidence-based information, analysis and commentary on issues affecting society. The organization identifies talented academic researchers and encourages them to write timely articles and essays that draw on their research and bring fresh insights to contemporary issues and events. A 2016 Endowment grant helped The Conversation US incorporate coverage of religion, ethics and philanthropy into its reports. Learn More

An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story, produced by Journey Films, Inc., is a presentation of Maryland Public Television. Written and narrated by Martin Doblmeier, the documentary is about the career and public life of pastor, writer and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.  LEARN MORE

On Being is a multimedia project that produces a weekly public radio program and supports an award-winning website that provides resources about the program’s themes as well as a repository of podcasts of current and past programs. Krista Tippett, the program’s host who is a theologically trained journalist and author, conducts extended interviews with religious leaders, writers, artists, theologians, musicians, activists and scientists, and explores with them the moral and spiritual dimensions of contemporary life. LEARN MORE


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The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) is a comprehensive online searchable resource that contains data files from significant studies about American religious life, including many Endowment-funded research projects. Collected through surveys and other studies of thousands of individuals and religious leaders, this information ranges from city, county, state and national data about church membership to portraits of the religious beliefs and practices of individuals. In addition, the Web-based resource provides maps of U.S. religious life, profiles of Christian denominations, learning modules about key religious issues, and other information to help users answer their questions about Christianity and American religion. The ARDA is now widely recognized as a primary means of access to important information about contemporary American religious life. LEARN MORE