Grinnell College is one of 28 college and universities in the country to receive a $1 million-plus grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create or enhance programs that enable young people to draw upon the resources of religious wisdom as they think through their vocational choices and to consider the ministry as a profession they might pursue.
Grinnell College was awarded $1,425,486 for a five-year project for the purpose of promoting reflection on vocation among Grinnell College students generally, and specifically increasing the number of Grinnell College graduates who enter professional religious leadership.
The Grinnell College grant has five aspects: 1) develop curriculum across a range of divisions and disciplines, 2) strengthen the advising systems, 3) enhancement of worship on campus and increase the visibility of the wide variety of religious practices in the college community, 4) provide practical experience through internships, alternative breaks, and off-campus study; 5) engage in guided reflection for discernment of personal vocations, and establishing mentoring relationships between students and alumni; and 6) offer financial assistance on a competitive basis for postgraduate education in seminaries, rabbinical colleges, and related professional and pre-professional programs.
In keeping with Grinnell College's commitment to diversity, and to the goal of fostering interreligious dialogue, the program will embrace all those who choose to participate.
"The grant arrives at an important time for the college," said George Drake, professor of history and chair of the committee that developed the proposal to the Endowment. "Grinnell, which was founded by New Englanders for the purpose of nurturing Puritan religion on the frontier, now embraces a wide range of religious traditions. The generosity of the Lilly Endowment will allow the college to serve the varied spiritual life of our campus much more effectively."
"It is clear that these 28 schools thought through their missions and strengths and that they were very intentional in devising these proposals," said Craig Dykstra, vice president for religion at the Indianapolis-based foundation, of the 28 academic institutions that will share $55.3 million. "The caliber of proposals was outstanding, and it is obvious that all these schools thought seriously and productively about how to encourage young people to consider questions of faith and commitment as they choose their careers."
Founded in 1937, the Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private family foundation that follows its founders' wishes by supporting the causes of religion, community development, and education.