What is Pathways for Tomorrow?

The Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., includes three phases to help theological schools in North America as they work to prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations. In the first phase, the Endowment awarded up to $50,000 to 234 schools. In the second phase, the Endowment awarded 106 schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) grants, ranging from $500,000 to $1 million. In the third phase, 16 schools were awarded grants ranging from $5 million to $8 million.

The In Trust Center was awarded a grant from the Lilly Endowment to fund coordination work with the ATS. Our goal is to support the resource needs of grantees throughout the life of the initiative. Together, ATS and the In Trust Center partner to provide resources and research and create and foster learning communities to help encourage innovation and collaboration. 


For additional information, a list of grantees, and an FAQ:
Visit: lillyendowment.org


To connect with the In Trust Center for help and support:
Email: In Trust Center


The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) coordinates the grant.
Visit: ATS website here.
Contact: Jo Ann Deasy
ATS director, Pathways coordination program

Connecting to Essential Resources

Through programs, services, and transformative initiatives, the In Trust Center serves as a vital partner and valuable resource for our members and affiliates to fulfill their missions – to impact communities, churches, and the world. Our Mission & Vision 

In this video, the In Trust Center President, Amy Kardash, discusses the work of the Center and outlines how it will help the Pathways initiative (January 2022).


As a resourcing organization, we strive to strengthen theological schools by connecting their leaders to essential resources for mission vitality, including using myriad mediums to convey the Pathways initiative. The following list outlines a few examples. 


Out of Chaos Comes Creativity: Spring 2022. Read story.
Pathways Ahead: Autumn 2022. Read story.
Big Projects, New Partners: Winter 2023. Read story.
Cultivating New Ministers: Spring 2023. Read story.
Tides of Change: Summer 2023. Read story.
A Mentoring Mission: Autumn 2023. Read story.
Rites of Passage: Winter 2024. Read story.
Compassion Play: Spring 2024. Read story.


Explore the latest episodes of the In Trust Center’s Good Governance podcast, featuring interviews with influential leaders in theological education. Stay informed about the Pathways Initiative by tuning in to these insightful discussions.

To listen to the entire series, click on the Pathways Playlist button:


Episode 69: McCormick Theological Seminary is exploring how theological education can help students to be trauma-informed.

Episode 68: China Evangelical Seminary North America is developing new programming to engage leaders and congregants of immigrant churches.

Episode 66: Kairos University is developing contextual, competency-based theological education, and now educates students across the world using their approach. 

Episode 65: The Academy for Jewish Religion has created a series of explanatory videos about Judaism to foster connections between Judaism and seminarian education.

Episode 62: Hood Theological Seminary is educating students and alumni about financial planning, expand curriculum, and create anti-racism education.

Episode 57: Notre Dame's Department of Theology is using a Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative grant to create cross-cultural competency in students studying for vocational and lay ministry. Professor Stacey Noem, one of the grant project directors, discusses ways the school is creating space for cross-cultural ministry and how it prepares students.

Episode 56: Lexington Theological Seminary is creating ways students can gain access to a theological education. The Rev. Dr. Loida Martell, vice president for academic affairs and dean, discusses how LTS incorporates prior learning assessments and other means to help students.

Episode 55: For the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, part of its grant is about reinvigorating community as well as addressing key issues ministers work on, including mental health, isolation, and trauma. Dr. Derek McNeil, the school's president and provost, discusses the need for leaders to be resilient, adaptable, and open to partnerships and mutual support.

Episode 54: Acadia Divinity College is experimenting and discerning future paths for the Church and theological education in its Pathways for Tomorrow grant, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Acadia President Dr. Anna Robbins and Dr. Jodi Porter, the project director, talk about creating a "sandbox," what it means to experiment, and how they're looking forward to the future.

Episode 43: The CHANGE Initiative, funded in Phase 3, is a program aimed at assisting schools that are interested in enhancing their mission focus by offering business services.

Episode 40: Matt Hufman, VP of Communications, interviews Amy Kardash, President, and Jo Ann Deasy, Director of Institutional Initiatives and Student Research at ATS, give an overview and update on themes and trends in the Pathways initiative.


Sustainability for Schools: David Rowe, an AGB Consulting group leader and coach of the In Trust Center’s Wise Stewards initiative, led a series of webinars on sustainability for theological schools. Watch the on-demand video.

For more webinars, including change management and institutional transformation, click here.


Effective storytelling influences your school's brand and mission. By sharing the strategies and narratives surrounding the goals, expectations, and achievements stemming from the Pathways grant award, you can craft a success story.

In this video, Telling Your Story, Matt Hufman, VP for Communications at the In Trust Center, presents a framework designed to assist theological school communicators to effectively share their narratives. This video can serve as a valuable resource for awardees of the Pathway initiative (March 2022).


Spreading the news and sharing information and resources are components of the Pathways initiative, which are designed to help other schools learn. The following are just a few of the many stories prepared by award recipients, who provide insights, lessons learned, successes, and future expectations. Click on the school name to read the school's full story.

Acadia Divinity College:
A Future Modeled by Risk-taking and Innovation

Anderson University School of Theology:
A Certificate for Hispanic Pastors

Hood Theological Seminary:
Expanding Reach in Anti-Racism, Financial Literacy Online Education

Lexington Theological Seminary:
Strengthening Theological Education for Underserved Students

Loyola Marymount University, Department of Theological Studies:
Transforming Catholic Leadership in Southern California

St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary:
Online Education to Equip and Encourage

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities:
Leadership Center for Social Justice

Western Seminary:
Serving and Connecting Pastors at the Eugene Peterson Center for Christian Imagination

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