Through the Thriving Congregations Initiative, Lilly Endowment seeks to help charitable organizations—especially those committed to supporting the vitality of congregations—develop new or strengthen existing programs that equip congregations to:

  • explore and understand the rapidly changing contexts in which they minister
  • gain clarity about their own values and missions
  • draw on practices from their theological and ecclesial traditions to adapt their ministries to their changing contexts.

The aim of the initiative is to help congregations strengthen their ministries and thrive so they can better help people deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other and contribute to the flourishing of their communities and the world.

Eligible organizations may submit proposals for up to $1 million that may be used for up to a five-year period to plan and implement their programs. The Endowment anticipates awarding up to 50 grants to organizations that submit compelling proposals.


Charitable organizations in the United States with Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and public charity status are eligible to apply. The Endowment is especially interested in proposals from organizations that are committed to supporting congregations. This includes—but is not limited to—theological schools, colleges and universities, national and regional denominational judicatories, retreat centers, and other faith-based organizations. Please read the Request for Proposals for details.

How to Apply

Eligible charitable organizations may submit an application through a two-step process:

Step One: Submit an interest form with letter of intent no later than 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, April 17, 2020.
Submit interest form here

Step Two: Complete proposals are to be submitted through the online application form no later than 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, June 1, 2020. Please read the Request for Proposals for details. Submit application here


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