Viterbo University Receives $134,570 Lilly Endowment Inc. High School Youth Theology Initiative Grant
Dec. 8, 2015
Contact Emily Dykman at 608-796-3703 or firstname.lastname@example.org
VITERBO UNIVERSITY RECEIVES $134,570 LILLY ENDOWMENT INC. HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH THEOLOGY INITIATIVE GRANT
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Viterbo University has received a $134,570 grant to develop and establish a Franciscan Social Justice Youth Theology Institute. The grant is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institute initiative, which is designed to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.
Viterbo’s Franciscan Social Justice Youth Theology Institute will be a week-long immersive experience for high school students entering grades 10–12 that will include service, personal reflection, scripture lessons and discussion, and of course, fun. It is scheduled to begin in summer 2016.
“Participants will have an opportunity to not only learn about the basis of the church’s rich and long-standing social justice mission, they will also have an opportunity to meet people touched by various justice issues, those whose lives are committed to alleviating those issues, and other young people with a passion for justice,” said Emily Dykman, the Viterbo religious studies and philosophy faculty member who is leading the project.
“Relationship building, which is so important to the Viterbo community and is a key Franciscan value, will be the core of the experience,” she said. “We have wonderful partners in the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and Catholic Charities of La Crosse who will help us develop opportunities for the participants. We believe the experiences will inspire young people to commit themselves to being change agents in their schools, churches, and communities.”
Viterbo University is one of 82 schools in 29 states and the District of Columbia participating in the initiative. Many of these colleges and universities reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions, including Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches, as well as Roman Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal, and historic African-American Christian communities.
“These colleges and universities are well positioned to reach out to high school students in this way,” said Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment. “They have outstanding faculty in theology and religion who know how to help young people explore the wisdom of religious traditions and apply these insights to contemporary challenges.”
Lilly Endowment is giving $44.5 million in grants to help a select group of private four-year colleges and universities around the nation to create the institutes. The grants are part of the Endowment’s commitment to identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically minded youth who will become leaders in church and society.
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 grant making 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.