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August 7, 2023

Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University Receives $1.2 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative grant is largest in Northeastern Seminary’s history

Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University has received a grant of $1.225 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative to establish Familias Unidas, a program that will create pathways for Latino parents and caregivers to strengthen their family ties and the transference of Christian values to their children.

In partnership with Missio Alliance — a network of theological practitioners including pastors, church ministry leaders, denominational, seminary and publishing partners — Familias Unidas will primarily support congregations by curating theologically robust, culturally attuned and community-driven resources that consider the unique assets and challenges embodied by Latino families.

“I am thrilled that Northeastern Seminary has the opportunity to partner with Missio Alliance on such an important project,” Vice President of Northeastern Seminary Benjamin Espinoza said. “Spiritual formation has been a core value of the seminary since its inception 25 years ago, and we are excited to extend this commitment to the broader Latino community.”

Northeastern Seminary and Missio Alliance will create context-appropriate resources that include educational opportunities, as well as contextualized liturgies, specialized training, resources and practices, podcasts and support networks, among other resources. The project will also enable the seminary to hire faculty to teach in the areas of children’s and youth spiritual formation and create an advanced certificate program in the same area.

"Missio Alliance is delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Northeastern Seminary on this pivotal project for the Latina/o community,” National Director of the Missio Alliance Lisa RodriguezWatson said. “Our values for ministry at the intersection of formation, justice and mission along with our commitment to culturally-attuned, theologically-robust resources for and from communities on the margins creates the ideal opportunity for this significant collaboration. We foresee great Kingdom fruit as we forge and deepen this partnership."

“I am really looking forward to partnering with Northeastern Seminary and finding pathways to listen to, equip, and empower Latino/a families throughout the United States,” added Gaby Viesca, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Missio Alliance. “It‘s exciting to see entire programs dedicated to historically marginalized communities and I can’t wait to see all the good work that comes out of this collaboration. It’s a new day for both Missio Alliance and Northeastern Seminary, and I anticipate a strong and fruitful partnership between our organizations.”

Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University is one of 77 organizations that are receiving grants through this competitive round of the initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.

“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well, passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.

For more information about Northeastern Seminary, please visit

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private 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, 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 hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, 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.

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