Board receives Lilly grant to expand Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations

December 18, 2018

​The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has received a
$1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., enabling the expansion of Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations into a program of national scope and impact.

The Board of Pensions initiated Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations in 2016 as a pilot in North Carolina with an initial $1 million Lilly Endowment grant. Both grants are part of Lilly Endowment's National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The initiative supports religious organizations throughout the United States as they address the financial struggles that can impair the ability of ministers to effectively lead congregations.

"The well-being of our ministers affects the vitality of our congregations," President Frank C. Spencer of the Board of Pensions said. "We know that debt, especially educational debt, is a source of worry for ministers and a very real encumbrance to their ministry. If we can help relieve these concerns, they may devote their best gifts and energies to guiding congregations on the journey of faith."

Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations brings together a church's minister and congregational leadership to work toward financial sustainability by providing financial education and consultations to both. A minister who completes the program with his or her congregation's leaders may be eligible to receive professional financial planning and a grant of up to $10,000 for debt reduction or retirement savings.

The Board of Pensions embodies the PC(USA) commitment to care for its clergy. It designs and administers benefits and assistance to support spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being. Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations is an extension of that. It will strengthen the work of the Church by helping its ministers and congregations address the financial concerns that keep both from a rich religious life.

Lilly Endowment is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the founders' wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.