Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative is designed to help theological schools strengthen and sustain their capacities to prepare and support pastoral leaders for Christian churches.

Through this three-phase initiative, the Endowment is assisting theological schools in the United States and Canada accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in efforts to do the following:

  • Explore emerging challenges and opportunities facing their institutions as well as the Christian congregations that they serve.
  • Gain clarity about their mission in light of these challenges and opportunities and in relationship to the leadership needs of their constituent churches.
  • Assess the effectiveness of their educational strategies and financial operations for preparing and supporting pastors and congregational lay ministers.
  • Design and implement plans to launch new and/or strengthen current projects to address their key challenges and opportunities and to make their institutions more educationally effective and financially viable for the continued preparation and support of pastors and congregational lay ministers into the future.


Phase 1:  Through Endowment grantmaking, 234 theological schools in the United States and Canada received funding, ranging from $38,676 to $50,000, for planning and assessment purposes.

Phase 2:  In this competitive phase, the Endowment made105 grants of between $500,000 and $1 million to theological schools in the U.S. and Canada to implement programs. See Phase 2 Grants List.

Phase 3:  In this competitive phase, the Endowment made 16 grants, ranging from $4,999,792 to $7,950,555, that are supporting large-scale collaborative programs involving multiple theological schools, congregations, denominations and other organizations. See Phase 3 Grants List.

Coordination Program
Through the Pathways initiative, the Endowment has made grants to the Association of Theological Schools and In Trust Center for Theological Education. They are providing resources to the grantees and convening them in a learning community to encourage innovation and collaboration.