Luther Seminary has received a $999,350 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to design a curriculum for non-degree learners that will be available through Faith+Lead Academy, a digital platform providing just-in-time learning experiences. The grant will also help the seminary cultivate partners for this endeavor, connect Faith+Lead Academy with the seminary’s degree programs, and scale for growth. (Learn more about Faith+Lead Academy and additional Faith+Lead offerings at faithlead.luthersem.edu.)
Courses for this curriculum will be clustered into pathways, providing guided learning experiences for leaders based on their needs, contexts, or roles. Within five years, the seminary hopes to offer 200 courses and 25 pathways to 15,000 learners from diverse church bodies throughout the United States and the world. Luther Seminary will experiment with financial models with the goal of making the courses affordable as well as accessible.
“This generous investment from Lilly Endowment will help Luther Seminary bring affordable, accessible theological education to learners when they need it wherever they are,” said President Robin Steinke.
Lilly Endowment is funding this work through its Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. Lilly Endowment designed the initiative to help theological schools in the United States and Canada strengthen and sustain their capacities to prepare and support pastoral leaders for Christian churches. An earlier Lilly Endowment Pathways for Tomorrow grant funded the first phase of this project, which enabled the seminary to develop a better understanding of Faith+Lead’s users, articulate an initial framework and digital pedagogical commitments for the curriculum, and discover the church’s current leadership needs and potential for collaboration.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a 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 exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion 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 their pastoral and lay leadership.
About Luther Seminary
Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities across the country and around the world. An innovator in theological education, the seminary is committed to exploring leading-edge approaches for Christian ministry, proclamation, and faith formation in a rapidly changing world. As one of the seven seminaries in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Luther Seminary has educated more than one-third of ELCA pastors, lay professionals, and leaders of many global Lutheran and ecumenical churches. Learn more at luthersem.edu.