Aquinas Institute of Theology has received a grant of $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund the Aquinas Path for Tomorrow Project.
The Aquinas Path for Tomorrow Project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada as they prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future.
The central purpose and overarching goal of the Aquinas Path to Tomorrow Project is to strengthen Aquinas Institute’s mission to educate and form the next generation of ministerial leaders who will share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by actively participating in the emerging cultures of our religiously disengaged world. This commitment will position Aquinas – academically and operationally – for its long-term sustainability through two initiatives. The first is to establish a Center for Community Engagement and Evangelization that will provide opportunities for continuing formation, especially in preaching, administration, and community building, all of which are essential for engaging the emerging cultural realities of our time. The second is to develop a broad and inclusive institutional culture of philanthropy that will provide financial sustainability by lessening the school’s dependence on tuition revenue.
Aquinas President Fr. Mark Wedig, OP emphasizes that “Lilly Endowment’s funding of the Aquinas Path for Tomorrow Project will allow Aquinas Institute to achieve some of the pivotal goals and objectives of our new five-year strategic plan. The Endowment’s grant monies will help Aquinas to extend its outreach beyond its academic degree programs and serve new groups of stakeholders for the generation to come”
Aquinas Institute of Theology is one of 105 theological schools receiving phase two grants. Together they represent the broad diversity of Christianity in the U.S. and Canada. The schools are affiliated with evangelical, mainline Protestant, nondenominational, Pentecostal, Orthodox, Catholic, Black church, Latino, Asian-American and historic peace church traditions (e.g., Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Quakers).
“Theological schools have long played a pivotal role in preparing pastoral leaders for churches,” said Christopher L. Coble, the Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Today, these schools find themselves in a period of rapid and profound change. Through the Pathways Initiative, theological schools will take deliberate steps to address the challenges they have identified in ways that make the most sense to them. We believe that their efforts are critical to ensuring that Christian congregations continue to have a steady stream of pastoral leaders who are well-prepared to lead the churches of tomorrow.”
The Pathways initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s wider efforts to strengthen theological schools and other religious institutions and networks that prepare pastoral leaders to ensure that a diverse array of Christian congregations are guided by a steady stream of wise, faithful and well-prepared leader.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic 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. 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 supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A primary aim of its grantmaking in religion is to deepen the religious lives of Christians, principally by supporting efforts that enhance congregational vitality and strengthen the leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment values the broad diversity of Christian traditions and endeavors to support them in a wide variety of contexts. The Endowment also seeks to foster public understanding about religion by encouraging fair, accurate and balanced portrayals of the positive and negative effects of religion on the world and lifting up the contributions that people of all faiths make to our greater civic well-being.
About Aquinas Institute of Theology
Aquinas Institute of Theology, founded in 1925, is a Catholic, Dominican-sponsored graduate school of theology and ministry in St. Louis, Missouri. Part of the world-wide Order of Preachers (the Dominicans), Aquinas serves as a Center of Institutional Studies for forming Dominican friars from the Provinces of St. Albert the Great (Central USA) and St. Martin de Porres (Southern USA) as well as for the education and formation of priests, religious sisters, and lay men and women preparing for service to the Church. Aquinas Institute is recognized for its curricula uniquely focused upon the ministry of preaching. Since 1993, Aquinas has offered the only Roman Catholic doctoral program exclusively dedicated to promoting excellence in preaching. Aquinas shares a long-standing formal agreement with Saint Louis University that allows cross-registration, joint degree programs, complete library use, and access to student health and recreational facilities.