Pathways Ahead

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Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative is poised to change the face of theological education in North America. The Initiative has three phases of funding for schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. The first two phases have been funded. The third round is expected to be announced by the Endowment shortly after the deadline for this issue of In Trust magazine. As of this writing, there is plenty to consider about the initiative and the work that schools are doing.


Five Key Themes Emerged

from the grants that schools plan to address: access and affordability, pedagogical practices, field education, partnerships, and financial viability.


Placing Leaders in Churches

is at the heart of the Pathways Initiative, which aims to help schools create new ways to train pastoral leaders.


90% of ATS accredited schools (234) were awarded funding in the first phase.


More Than 200 People

attended an in-person conference for schools that received second-phase grants, providing them a way to connect with each other and with ATS and the In Trust Center for Theological Schools, which are co-coordinating the initiative.


Theological Diversity

is evident among grantees. The schools represented in the initiative span the range of the Christian faith, including Evangelical, Mainline, Roman Catholic, Peace, and Orthodox traditions.


Spreading the News

and sharing information and resources is part of the initiative. It’s designed to help other schools learn. Keep up with In Trust magazine, the In Trust Center, and ATS. See for more.


28 States

the number of U.S. states represented by grantees, not including D.C., Puerto Rico, and eight Canadian provinces, all spanning five time zones.


Multilingual Programs

are well represented. Grantee schools offer classes in at least four different languages: English, Spanish, French, and Korean. That’s expected to increase.


Non¬traditional Students are a Focus

of grantees’ projects as schools are trying to reach new groups of under-represented students, including Indigenous students, immigrants, and those without degrees.


A Diversity of Ideas

including certificate programs, cohorts, competency-based education, and internships, have been offered by schools to educate ministers in different contexts.


More Than $113 Million

has been awarded to schools by the Lilly Endowment so far, with $102 million of that in the second phase of funding. The first phase of funding, which was non-competitive, provided $11.7 million to schools.


105 Lilly announced 21 additional schools funded in phase two for a total of 105 schools funded.


More Schools Involved

in the second phase of funding, announced in late 2021 and expanded this summer. Grantees reflect ATS demographics, representing not only a full spectrum of faith traditions but also a diversity of schools, sizes, locations, and missions.

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