San Dimas, CALIF. — Life Pacific University has been notified that the $5 million-dollar collaborative grant “Pathways for Tomorrow” was awarded from Lilly Endowment Inc. This competitive shared grant is a result of the hard work of three institutions: Azusa Pacific University (primary recipient), Latin American Bible Institute, and Life Pacific University. The Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative “supports theological schools as they strengthen their abilities to prepare ordained and lay pastoral leaders now and into the future.”
Dr. Angie Richey, President of Life Pacific University, stated, “LPU’s Biblical and Theological Education will advance to serve a growing Hispanic movement as we prioritize strategic collaboration with schools, churches, and non-profit agencies. As a result, we are hopeful more Hispanic ministers and pastors will be empowered and prepared to live out their ministry purpose effectively in a rapidly changing world for the glory of God.”
Life Pacific University will receive over $1.4 million of the shared grant to facilitate theological education, develop high-quality resources, and strengthen Hispanic pastoral leaders for Christian congregations. This is the largest grant LPU has received to date.
Dr. Daniel Ruarte, Vice President of Academics Affairs, worked collaboratively on this project for over a year with leaders from our partner institutions. Dr. Richey affirmed, “His focus, faithfulness, relational skills, tenacity, and passion for future students and the future church are to be commended.”
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from APU and LABI as we build a strong program that will create pipelines and pathways for a better tomorrow. It is evident that the world needs well-equipped leaders from all walks of life, and every generation to minister, lead and care for God’s people. Thank you, Lilly Endowment Inc., for such a generous vision!” said Dr. Daniel Ruarte, Vice President of Academic Affairs.
“Receiving the Pathway for Tomorrow grant fills us with hope to dream and work more than ever for a generation of pastors and leaders equipped pastorally and theologically to lead a healing church for a hurting society. We look forward to the strategic and kingdom relationships this initiative will allow,” said Dr. Daniel O. Prieto, Director Maestría en Artes en Liderazgo.
All three schools are Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). To receive HSI status, an institution must have Hispanic students represent at least 25 percent of its undergraduate student body. The schools also demonstrate interdenominational partnership, a value of Life Pacific University. News of the grant encouraged the LPU community. It affirmed the ongoing commitment to the transformational development of students into leaders prepared to serve God in the Church, the workplace, and the world.
About the Grant
The Pathways for Tomorrow: Transformational Training Pathways for Hispanic Pastors is being funded through the third and final phase of Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. The initiative is designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada as they prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future.
This project will focus on addressing issues of access and affordability in Hispanic theological and pastoral education and formation. University leaders recognize that the most acute barriers to theological education are the twin issues of limited access and high costs, especially for underrepresented groups of people. This initiative aims at reversing that situation by increasing access and affordability by creating pathways through all three institutions for would-be Hispanic pastors in the Wesleyan and Pentecostal communities these three institutions serve.
The collaborative grant proposals developed by Life Pacific University, Azusa Pacific University and Latin American Bible Institute is one of 16 grants awarded to theological schools for these large-scale, highly collaborative programs through the Pathways initiative. Lilly Endowment believes these programs have the potential to become models for other schools as they seek to strengthen the way they educate pastors and other congregational leaders.
“Theological schools play an essential role in ensuring that Christian congregations have a steady stream of well-prepared leaders to guide their ministries,” said Christopher L. Coble, the Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Many theological schools believe that their paths to the future depend on their abilities to form strategic partnerships with other schools and church agencies. These grants will help seminaries develop innovative and collaborative approaches to theological education that we believe will strengthen their efforts to prepare and support excellent leaders for Christian communities into the future.”
Lilly Endowment launched the Pathways initiative in January 2021 because of its longstanding interest in supporting efforts to enhance and sustain the vitality of Christian congregations by strengthening the leadership capacities of pastors and congregational lay leaders.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic 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, the Endowment 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. The principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of American Christians, 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.