Duke Receives $6 Million Grant to Train Church, Nonprofit Ministry Leaders

The grant will support the work of the ongoing Leadership Education program at Duke Divinity

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Duke University a $6 million grant to support leadership education at Duke Divinity School focused on professional development opportunities for leaders in church and nonprofit ministries, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Monday.  The program, called Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, encourages a theological vision of leadership and supports Christian institutions -- including seminaries, denominations and other nonprofit organizations -- as they develop current and future leaders. The grant will also fund the expansion of effective programs, including Foundations of Christian Leadership, a two-week intensive seminar for institutional leaders. “The Lilly Endowment has demonstrated a magnificent commitment to programs at Duke that develop leaders who work to strengthen communities,” Brodhead said. “We are grateful that this grant will allow Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School to expand its successful support for ministry and nonprofit leaders.”Richard Hays, dean of Duke Divinity School, called the gift “a major boost to our commitment to offer support to emerging Christian leaders in a rapidly changing environment.”“We are grateful for Lilly Endowment’s strong support for Leadership Education at Duke Divinity,” Hays said. “This program embodies a broad vision for enhancing Christian leadership in a variety of settings, not only in churches but also in other institutions that provide educational or social services to address human needs.”Leadership Education at Duke Divinity was created in 2008 with a $14 million grant from Lilly Endowment. The grant helped Duke Divinity start several programs, including Denominational Leadership, which has equipped more than 150 denominational staff members with tools and strategies to navigate the complexities of institutional leadership. The grant also established the online magazine “Faith & Leadership,” which reaches 318,000 readers annually and publishes new content that draws on multiple disciplines, as well as the e-newsletter “News & Ideas,” which provides a daily roundup of stories from other news outlets about the church and the world.The  Endowment’s latest grant will help advance Duke Forward, the seven-year, university-wide fundraising campaign that aims to raise $3.25 billion by June 30, 2017. Every dollar donated to Duke's 10 schools and units, Duke Medicine or university programs and initiatives counts toward the campaign.Lilly Endowment has a long history of giving to Duke and supporting the work of Leadership Education. Grants during the Duke Forward campaign include $250,000 to address the economic challenges facing future ministers and a $500,000 grant to enhance the availability and preservation of preaching resources through a partnership between Duke Divinity School, Duke Chapel and the Duke Libraries.“Duke Divinity School has established several strong programs to strengthen the leaders of Christian organizations,” said Christopher L. Coble, vice president of Lilly Endowment’s religion division. “Strong and able leaders are needed to help Christian institutions adapt to the challenges of the 21st century. We are pleased that we can support Duke in these endeavors.” 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 and Company. In keeping with the wishes of the three founders, Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment affords special emphasis to projects that benefit young people and promote leadership education and financial self-sufficiency in the nonprofit, charitable sector.