SALISBURY – Hood Theological has received a major grant to support a slate of new programs.
The $1 million prize comes from the Lilly Endowment, a foundation that donates to religious, educational and community development causes. The grant will help the seminary undertake a financial empowerment initiative.
Program Director Karen Owens has been tapped to lead the four grantmaking initiatives over the next four years. Points are expanding academic programs at the seminary, offering courses on anti-racism and contested issues, offering courses on personal finance and organizational finance, and creating an alumni cohort. debt reduction students who will serve as ambassadors and “address financial management as an integral part of their response to a sacred call to service,” according to a statement from the institution. The cohort will be offered stipends for their work and will coach current Hood students.
“The initiative is a wonderful strategic opportunity for gifted and highly motivated seminary alumni, students and other members to creatively engage the next generation of pastoral and congregational leaders as they confront social and community change” , Hood President Vergel Lattimore said in a statement.
Lilly Vice President for Religion, Christopher Coble, released a statement addressing the 105 phase two grantees, saying the endowment’s Pathways initiative will help address the challenges they identified.
“We believe their efforts are essential in ensuring that Christian congregations continue to have a steady stream of well-prepared pastoral leaders to lead the churches of tomorrow,” the statement said.
Director of Institutional Advancement and Enrollment Management John Everett gave an overview of the grant, noting that Livingstone College and Catawba College are about 10 times larger than Hood and would equate to a much larger grant for those institutions.
“We got lucky,” Everett said.
Everett said the seminary has received grants from Lilly in the past, and the seminary tries to build relationships with all of its donors and show that they can be trusted with what Hood accomplishes with the funds. He said Lilly contacted Hood and about the grant and the seminary submitted proposals to go through the stages for approval.
Regarding the academic programs portion of the grant, Everett said the college needs to figure out what programs he wants to take and has a list of potential programs like a master’s degree in Christian education. The seminar plans to identify three programs to add.
“The one that’s definitely on the rise is the master of arts in Christian education,” Everett said, adding that the goal is to create more hands-on programs.
He said the demographics of seminary are changing, with more women and people of color participating in seminary programs and more people pursuing education not just focused on becoming a pastor.
Everett noted that Hood is one of two institutions in the state to offer a master’s degree in chaplaincy. The seminary also offers master’s programs in divinity and theological studies, a doctorate in ministry, and certificate programs.