Lilly Endowment Invests in Young Adult Ministry

Lilly Endowment Invests in Young Adult Ministry


In a recent article in Religion News Service, it was announced that the Lilly Endowment Inc. is launching a $19.4 million initiative to help congregations engage young adults and work with them to design innovative ministries that support and enrich their religious lives.

“At the heart of this initiative is a commitment to help faith communities transform the ways they think about young adults and how they respond to their spiritual needs.”

Young Adults Desire:

  • A place to explore questions of identity and purpose
  • Theological traditions as they make life-defining choices about work, friendship, family and service to others
  • Quality relationships with peers and mentors as they seek religious nourishment and support for understanding their religious identities
  • Self-sufficiency and religious experiences that reflect personal convictions and diverse cultural, political, social and theological perspectives
  • Communities that gather beyond the perceived boundaries of a local church

Grant Recipients

Hellenic College Holy Cross’ Office of Vocation and Ministry is thrilled to be one of twelve colleges and seminaries that are participating in five-year Lilly Endowment young adult initiative.

HCHC received $1.5 million for a new program titled the Telos Project. The Telos Project is an initiative that will assist Orthodox Christian parishes in developing new ministries with young adults ages 23-29 over a five-year period.

Other organizations that are receiving grants through the Young Adult Initiative include:

  • Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN – $1,496,533
  • Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX – $1,499,263
  • Denver Seminary, Littleton, CO – $1,500,000
  • Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA – $1,500,000
  • Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL – $1,500,000
  • Indianapolis Center for Congregations Inc., Indianapolis, IN – $1,571,000
  • Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA – $1,500,000
  • Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ – $1,500,000
  • Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN – $1,380,620
  • Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA – $1,499,826
  • Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL – $1,500,000
  • Wesley Theological Seminary of the United Methodist Church, Washington, DC – $1,500,000


Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical company. The Endowment is committed to causes of religion, education and community development. Its religion grantmaking is primarily focused on initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of Christian ministry in American congregations.


The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College provides opportunities for college students, high school students, and those who serve them, for growth in Orthodox Christian vocation and leadership through theological inquiry, ongoing reflection, and service activities by way of retreats, workshops, classes, conferences, study sessions, and mini-grants.


Hellenic College is a four-year liberal arts college that cultivates the intellectual, spiritual, and moral development of its students within the Orthodox Christian Community so that they might serve and contribute to society and the Church. Students are engaged in liberal arts and professional curricula that demand rigorous inquiry and academic scholarship. The College promotes spiritual and moral development by incorporating students into the practices, teachings, and liturgical life of an Orthodox Christian community. Hellenic College encourages its students to respond to their unique vocations by committing to education, faith, and service in all aspects of their professional and personal endeavors.


Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology is an Orthodox Christian seminary and graduate school of theology centered on the Trinitarian faith. Holy Cross educates its students to articulate and understand the biblical, historical, dogmatic, ethical, and liturgical traditions of the Orthodox Church. Students are prepared to become future Orthodox clergy and lay leaders who demonstrate faith, sensitivity, and compassion as they cultivate an attitude of offering a service of truth and love in the world. Through its graduate degree programs, Holy Cross offers men and women the opportunity to become spiritually mature persons through immersion in worship, theological studies, and service to the community.


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