October 11, 2023


MTSO and WomanPreach! receive $250,000 supplemental grant from Lilly Endowment

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Methodist Theological School in Ohio a supplemental grant of $250,000 to support compelling preaching through the WomanPreach! program. The grant period Is Sept. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2027.

The supplemental grant follows a five-year, $1 million grant awarded in late 2022 through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching initiative, launched in 2022 because of Lilly Endowment’s interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.

WomanPreach! Inc. was founded in 2010 by MTSO Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Valerie Bridgeman, who serves as the program’s CEO. It provides practical training and nurturing community spaces that empower preachers. Begun as a way to train women, WomanPreach! has since grown to include programming for people of all genders and speakers that serve as community organizers and in various other vocational spaces where faith-based, justice-centered proclamation is necessary.

The grant will enhance the ways MTSO and WomanPreach! work in partnership, strengthening the infrastructure, delivery and implementation of established WomanPreach! events and initiatives, with evolution in digital tools and communication.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based 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. Although the gifts of stock remain a 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 founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The primary aim of its grantmaking in religion, which is national in scope, focuses on strengthening the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States. The Endowment also seeks to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair, accurate and balanced ways the contributions that people of all faiths and religious communities make to our greater civic well-being.

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just, sustainable and generative world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in practical theology, social justice and theological studies, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.


Danny Russell, communications director
drussell@mtso.edu, 740-362-3322