Grand View Receives $1.25 Million To Establish Faith Forward Project

July 13, 2023

Grand View University has received a grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish Faith Forward.

The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the initiative to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.

The Faith Forward Project will address both aims of the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative by working with cohorts of pastors and congregational leaders and providing direct support to families within their congregations. Through Faith Forward, GV will continue to initiate and enhance relationships with rural and small churches. As a Lutheran university, connection and relationship with Lutheran congregations is of mutual benefit. Grand View’s success with both the NEXUS Institute (youth program) and the Moses Project (Thriving in Ministry program targeting rural Lutheran pastors) has increased GV’s presence across the Midwest and reinvigorated our Lutheran heritage by engaging with over 150 Midwest communities, 20 Lutheran synods, and participants from 10 states. NEXUS, Moses, and GV have built an inter-connected cycle of support and mutual benefit. The Faith Forward Project builds on the relationship and momentum of these programs.

Dr. Trisha Wheelock, Director of Faith Life at Grand View, is excited. “Campus Ministry is thrilled to receive the Faith Forward grant. This initiative will empower rural and small congregations to help them hand down their Christian faith to the next generation, equip parents and grandparents with faith practices, and encourage parents and grandparents to weave faith formation into the normal routines of family life. Continuing the good work of Nexus and the Moses Project, Faith Forward brings resources and renewal to rural congregations and families. We are thankful to Lilly Endowment for its support in helping Grand View become an innovative leader in ministry opportunities. This program brings in Peer Ministry as a partner, and we are excited to begin this new grand adventure.”

Grand View is one of 77 organizations that are receiving grants through this competitive round of the Christian Parenting initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.

“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion.  “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.  

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.

Visit Faith Forward Page