Through the Thriving Congregations Initiative 2023, Lilly Endowment seeks to support charitable organizations in the United States in developing new or strengthening existing programs that will work directly with congregations to help them assess and adapt their ministries to their changing contexts as they move toward a post-COVID-19 pandemic future.

The Endowment is especially interested in programs that help congregations to:

  • Explore and understand their rapidly changing social and cultural contexts.
  • Gain greater clarity about their values and mission.
  • Draw on practices from their theological and ecclesial traditions to adapt their ministries to the demands of their changing contexts.

The aim of the initiative is to help congregations thrive by strengthening ministries that help people deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of their communities and the world.


Charitable organizations with Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and public charity status that are committed to supporting Christian congregations are eligible to participate in the Thriving Congregations Initiative. Eligible organizations may submit proposals of up to $1.25 million each that may be used for up to a five-year period.  

How to Apply

Interested organizations are asked to review the Request for Proposals and access supporting proposal documents in the Resources section at the bottom of the page. Please use the following application procedures and timeline:

Interest Form:  Submit an Interest Form and a one-page Letter of Interest indicating an intent to submit a proposal by March 31, 2023. The submission of an Interest Form and Letter of Interest is not required, but it will inform the Endowment of the organization’s interest and aid in the implementation of the initiative. Submit an Interest Form and Letter of Interest here.

Application Form: Submit a complete proposal through the Thriving Congregations online Application Form on the Endowment’s website by June 23, 2023. The Endowment anticipates notifying organizations of funding decisions in fall 2023.Submit a proposal here.

Information Sessions

The Endowment will host two information sessions to review the Request for Proposals and the application process. These sessions are now full. Recordings will be available the week of March 13. Please email to request a link to the recording

Thriving Congregations Initiative 2019 and 2020
In 2019 and 2020 the Endowment made grants to 115 organizations from a wide variety of Christian traditions and diverse communities that support congregational vitality.