T hrough the Thriving in Ministry Initiative, the Endowment is helping charitable organizations–especially organizations committed to supporting pastoral leaders in congregations–located in the United States in developing new programs and strengthening existing programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as role models and exemplars. The initiative aims to help pastors thrive in congregational leadership and, in doing so, enhance the vitality of the congregations they serve.


The Thriving in Ministry Initiative seeks to help pastors develop meaningful relationships with wise colleagues who can help guide them through key leadership challenges, especially during transitions in their ministerial careers. The initiative builds upon recent studies that have examined the importance of colleagues and mentors who help pastors face and overcome common professional challenges. These studies include research from the Endowment-funded Flourishing in Ministry project, directed by Matt Bloom at the University of Notre Dame.


Since the initiative was launched in 2017, the Endowment has approved grants to 129 religious organizations. Located in 33 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, the organizations include theological schools, faith-based colleges and universities, congregations, denominational agencies, independent religious organizations and religious communities that reflect diverse Christian traditions–mainline and evangelical Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox. The grants vary in amount–from $31,500 to $1 million. The programs they are funding vary in length–from two years to five years. At this time, the Endowment does not have plans to offer an additional round of funding through the Thriving in Ministry Initiative. Learn more about the coordination program for the initiative, hosted by Leadership Education at Duke Divinity here.