Marquette receives $1.25 million Lilly Endowment grant to pass along faith and values to the next generation

Marquette University received a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the program, “FaithForm.” The five-year grant will help Marquette further engage its extensive network of community relationships with area congregations to help parents, caregivers and congregational leaders explore effective ways to pass on the Christian faith in an increasingly secular world with modern questions.

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

“This uplifting initiative aligns so well with our Marquette mission, outreach and strategic plan,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “Christian and moral foundation takes root when we intentionally pass it along, and we are grateful to Lilly Endowment for this significant opportunity to help shape the next generation.”

FaithForm will support parents, caregivers and congregations in the following ways:

  • Gather and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on the experiences of parents, caregivers and church leaders through surveys and listening sessions.
  • Form and resource parent and caregiver circles of support and learning across denominations throughout local congregations by connecting with Marquette’s academic resources through its psychology, sociology and theology departments, as well as through the College of Education.
  • Assist congregations in assessing and adapting their practices to support a faith formation-focused perspective and related activities.

“We are looking forward to continuing to navigate the space between church and academy, adapting the work of Marquette scholars for clergy and congregational benefit,” said Dr. Stephen Jenks, FaithForm’s principal investigator and program director. “We believe we will come together to form a collective vision that builds off our strong community faith partners. Ultimately, our goal is to benefit our youth as they discern their faith lives while living in their formative years.”

Marquette is one of 77 organizations that received 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.

Building on a faith-filled partnership

This initiative builds on a faith-filled partnership between Lilly Endowment and Marquette University that spans more than two decades. In 2020, the university received a $1 million grant through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative to help establish “The Examen(ed) Church.” The grant assisted churches in drawing on Ignatian spiritual practices to identify ministry opportunities and deepen congregational vitality in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In 2018, Marquette received a grant through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry initiative to help support Christian pastors in congregational ministry. The first Lilly Endowment grant, in 2000, focused on Christian vocation in the context of the community and the efforts of Marquette’s Office of Mission and Ministry programs, Pastoral Leadership in Cultural Context and Companions in Ministry.

About Lilly Endowment

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.

Marquette University and its historic Time to Rise campaign

Marquette’s historic Time to Rise campaign has now entered its final year. The campaign continues to drive the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission forward, surpassing $693 million toward its $750 million goal. The campaign has secured more than 65,000 donors with more than 32,500 (50%) of these donors making their first-ever gift to Marquette. Building on its founding mission to provide an accessible education, Marquette has raised $276 million in scholarship funds. In addition, 770 donors have given $100,000 or more in commitments, and 135 donors have given $1 million or greater.