TMF Uses Lilly Grant to Launch Courageous Leadership Imperative

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) has received a grant of $1 million to help establish its Courageous Leadership Imperative. It is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry Initiative. The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as role models and mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry. 

Lilly Endowment has made more than $20 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry Initiative. Lilly Endowment is making available a second round of funding through a national competitive request for proposals.

TMF’s Courageous Leadership Imperative (CLI) is a leadership platform for notable leaders at the “center” and the “edge” of the United Methodist Church who are in positions to leverage change. The CLI is designed to heighten these leaders’ capacity for sustained impact by networking them with other leaders and emboldening them through peer learning and support.

 “The role of leadership in the church today has shifted dramatically over the past few years,” observed Lisa Greenwood, TMF vice president of Leadership Ministry. “We hope to give courageous, innovative leaders brave space with peers to explore and enhance their own leadership for today and for the future.”

TMF is one of 24 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent diverse Christian communities, including Baptist, Brethren, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal, Churches of Christ, Evangelical Covenant Church, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Quaker organizations, as well as interdenominational and non-denominational organizations. Many of the organizations are working to help clergy from multiple denominational traditions.

The Thriving in Ministry Initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grantmaking priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.

“Many pastors are seeking role models and wise colleagues who can guide them through professional transitions and challenges encountered in particular ministry contexts,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Our hope is that this grant to TMF will support a new wave of efforts that help clergy thrive and lead their congregations more effectively.”  

You may download the press release here.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

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 business, Eli Lilly & Company.  The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development.  Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians.  It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

About TMF

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, TMF is a nonprofit organization offering assistance to United Methodists through investments, loans, grants, leadership platforms, and stewardship, gift planning, and endowment services. TMF serves the six United Methodist conferences throughout Texas and New Mexico. Leading from its core values of servanthood, integrity and competence, TMF is the largest United Methodist foundation in the country with more than $525 million in assets under management. To learn more, please visit https://www.tmf-­


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