The Lilly Endowment Grants $2 million to Covenant College

Dec 04, 2002 06:05 PM EST

The Covenant College received $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to encourage a deeper exploration of Gods calling.

"Reviving the biblical understanding of vocation -- God's comprehensive calling on a person's life -- is at the heart of Covenant's mission in serving not only its students but also the Chattanooga community and the world," Covenant President Dr. Niel Nielson said. "The Lilly Foundation grant will enable Covenant College to prepare our students even more effectively for living out their God-given callings in every area of work and ministry. We look forward to the transformational impact of this grant on our campus and on the effectiveness of our graduates for years to come."

The grant will support the establishment of the Center for the Theological Exploration of Vocation to create and sustain educational experiences that help students and the wider college community. The center will most likely implement and coordinate a variety of initiatives in three program areas: The Imagine Initiatives program to generate fresh thinking about the theological concept of vocation and produce new resources for vocational reflection and assessment; The Integrate Initiatives program to engage students in vocational exploration through coursework, mentoring relationships and retreats; and the Interact Initiatives program to make purposeful connections with the larger community by providing students with internships in congregations, travel stipends to visit seminary campuses, relationships with local businesses, and opportunities for service at the college and beyond.

The Lilly Endowment, having given $171.3 million in similar grants to 88 colleges across the country since 2000, invited colleges to reflect on their strengths, history and mission in light of the program.

The Lilly Endowment invited colleges to reflect on their particular strengths, history and mission in designing proposals so that the programs would "fit" well. "The result," said "is a wonderful amalgam of creative programs that are clearly well-thought-out and have a real chance of success."

The Lilly Endowment has given $171.3 million in similar grants to 88 colleges across the country since 2000.

"The Endowment's grant making in religion is focused heavily on attracting a new generation of talented ministers for congregations," said Craig Dykstra, Endowment vice president for religion, "Church-related colleges play a big role in this task. They provide the environment in which young people explore future possibilities. These grants will help colleges strengthen this important work."

"Colleges that received grants in the earlier rounds are reporting very successful implementation of their plans - their students are eager to engage in theological reflection as they make choices about their future, and many students are seriously considering the ministry as a career. Faculty and staff are sharing in the enthusiasm both in and out of the classroom, and partnering organizations such as seminaries, churches and social service agencies are excited about the influx of student interest in their work," Dykstra said.

"Furthermore," he said, "people in these schools are getting together with each other to exchange ideas and tell each other about the most promising aspects of their projects, so the 'infrastructure' of connections keeps building. We think that will greatly enhance both their common purposes and the Endowment's ultimate objectives of a talented new generation of ministers leading healthy and vibrant congregations.

Founded in 1937, the Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private foundation that supports its founders' wishes by supporting the causes of religion, community development and education

By Pauline J.
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