ecoAmerica has received a $1.25MM grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to help churches nationwide strengthen congregational vitality and engagement through care for creation.
The grant, payable over 5 years, is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to encourage the flourishing of congregations by helping them deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the vitality of their communities and the world.
ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow program will offer new training, guidance, resources, and convening opportunities to empower greater participation in caring for creation. Focusing on congregations, clergy, lay leaders, and youth who have not previously engaged in creation care or climate action, the program will help these constituencies to see the inspiring connections between their faith and creation care, and spark engagement and action in ways that are helpful to their congregations and communities.
ecoAmerica will also expand the Blessed Tomorrow Climate Ambassador Training Program to support and convene clergy and lay leaders as they preach, teach, and engage their congregations, communities, and youth on creation care.
“Congregations play an essential role in deepening the faith of individuals and contributing to the vitality of communities,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s Vice President for Religion. “We hope that these programs will nurture the vibrancy and spark the creativity of congregations, helping them imagine new ways to share God’s love in their communities and across the globe.”
“Churches are the meeting spaces and backbones of their communities, and often on the front lines of the impacts from our changing climate,” said Meighen Speiser, ecoAmerica’s Executive Director. “We are grateful for the opportunity to offer greater support to pastors and other faith leaders responding to the increasing needs of their congregations while also offering inspiring ways to strengthen congregational vitality and resilience.”
ecoAmerica is one of 105 organizations that has received grants through a competitive round of Lilly’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. Their Blessed Tomorrow program fits squarely with Lilly’s objectives.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his 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, it 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. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe. https://lillyendowment.org
ecoAmerica is a nonprofit that is moving society toward climate solutions by inspiring and empowering trusted national health, faith, and civic institutions and their millions of stakeholders across America to visibly act and advocate for a climate solutions. ecoAmerica coordinates the Blessed Tomorrow, Climate for Health and Path to Positive programs, as well as the One Home One Future and the Climate Rx programs. www.ecoAmerica.org