November 22, 2019 – The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ (PBUCC) has been selected to receive a $1,000,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to expand the scope and reach of the Ministers’ Financial Vitality Initiative (MFVI), a financial wellness program for authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ (UCC).
Launched in 2017 with an initial $1,000,000 implementation grant from Lilly’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders, MFVI focuses on the intersection of faith and personal finance in the lives of ministers and their families. To date, MFVI has successfully engaged approximately 100 ministers primarily from historically underrepresented groups in a program of education and financial assistance, and through matching grants.
The new grant is one of 20 grants Lilly Endowment is making to Christian organizations nationwide to help them expand the efforts of their programs in the National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.
“The Pension Boards has long recognized the importance of clergy financial wellness to faithful and effective ministry,” said Brian R. Bodager, PBUCC’s President and CEO. “The new grant will enable us to double the number of clergy participants MFVI serves. We are excited by Lilly Endowment’s continued support and affirmation of ongoing work to address the financial stresses of UCC ministers.”
“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment and for the success of the innovative MFVI program,” added the Rev. Dr. James Moos, Executive Director of the Pension Boards’ newly-created Faith and Finance Ministries. “In just two years, the initiative has developed a proven track record of meeting the challenges of clergy financial wellness. The second grant will enable us to expand the scope of our work to meet needs across the life of the church.”
The Pension Boards recently formed a subsidiary corporation, Generations Financial Resources, that offers low-interest loans to UCC ministers who have completed at least one year of the Ministers’ Financial Vitality Initiative. “We have already received the first few applications from current MFVI participants and look forward to providing another mechanism to assist clergy in their efforts toward greater financial health,” said Bodager.
A $20,000,000 capital campaign, Generations of Service: Faith and Finance in Action, launched in 2017 by the Pension Boards’ charitable arm, the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance, is raising an additional $2,500,000 to ensure the long-term sustainability of the MFVI program.
Additional information about expansion of the MFVI program, including applications and timelines, will be available on the Pension Boards website in coming weeks.