linkedin instagram facebook plus

Excellence in Ministry Program Receives Additional $1MM Grant from Lilly Endowment

Indianapolis, Ind. (December 11, 2018) - Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has received a second grant of $1 million as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.'s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. Pension Fund is one of 38 national and regional religious organizations participating in the strategic initiative to address the economic struggles that impair pastors’ ability to lead congregations effectively. The grant was awarded as a result of Pension Fund’s successful three-year launch of the Excellence in Ministry (EIM) pilot program and a generous donor response of nearly $300,000 in contributions.

This $1 million grant will allow Pension Fund to continue the EIM program and to serve more pastors through new clergy wellness programming. The EIM program, started in 2016, was enhanced in the first year based on participant feedback and support from the Endowment. Through EIM, pastors and their spouses receive in-depth personal financial education and coaching, peer support and a monetary grant to establish an emergency savings account or to pay off debt.
Response from program recipients has been overwhelmingly positive, “This program has been a critical component of our financial well-being over the last two years.  It has encouraged my spouse and I to be more financially informed, while providing needed relief from the stresses of our indebtedness,” said the Rev. Kevin Howe of Harvard Avenue Christian Church in Tulsa, OK.

The expanded programming includes developing new financial education videos to foster clergy financial wellness, regional financial seminars, and a new clergy wellness retreat in 2020.  “We are pleased to build upon the success of our current program to reach more clergy and spouses with the Lilly Endowment grant,” shared the Rev. Dr. Todd A. Adams, Pension Fund’s ninth Chief Executive Officer. 

The clergy wellness retreat in 2020 will focus on the mental and spiritual wellness of clergy, featuring Dr. Matt Bloom from the University of Notre Dame and his research on ministry. Additionally, videos and regional seminars will provide content developed in partnership with well-known financial expert, “Pete the Planner” to help participants on their Road to Financial Wellness.

More information about the Excellence in Ministry program can be found at

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in
1937 by three members of the Lilly family - J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli - through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment's religion grant-making is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) provides pension and retirement savings accounts for clergy and lay employees of congregations, regions, general ministries and church-related colleges and seminaries of the Stone-Campbell (Restoration) Movement. Pension Fund manages over $3 billion in net assets on behalf of those serving in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and related international ministries.