InterVarsity Press (IVP) has been awarded a $1.25 million grant in Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative.

Building on recent research that affirms the pivotal role parents, grandparents, and other caregivers play in the religious lives of children, Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022. The initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking that supports 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 to pass on a vibrant faith to a new generation.

“When we first learned about this new initiative from the Lilly Endowment Fund, we jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this exciting project,” said Helen Lee, director of strategic initiatives for IVP. “Caring about the spiritual formation of the next generation has always been a core part of IVP’s identity as a division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and imagining new ways that our library of content could serve parents, pastors, and caregivers was a welcome challenge. We are so honored to be selected as one of the organizations to receive this substantive support from Lilly, and we look forward to the beginning of a fruitful partnership together, to ultimately help children and youth deepen their walk with Christ.”

In this national and competitive initiative, grants range from $240,000 to $1.25 million and are supporting a variety of approaches that draw on cutting-edge research about child development and parenting to inform faith practices in the home. These approaches include forming parenting support groups in congregations and creating intergenerational parenting mentoring networks.

Some organizations are producing resources to help parents and children engage in daily Christian practices in their homes through prayer, scripture readings, and storytelling.  Many organizations are helping families develop faith-based rituals to help children grow spiritually by marking significant milestones in the lives of their children and at family celebrations. Other organizations are developing peer-coaching programs and offering training so that parents and caregivers can develop confidence in sharing faith.

“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.”

Between July 2024 and May 2029 IVP will produce a variety of resources for families around the Lilly initiative. From July 2024 through December 2024 phase one will begin with the development of a video course, in partnership with Seminary Now, around the topic of the book Teach Your Children Well: A Step-by-Step Guide for Family Discipleship by Sarah Cowan Johnson. During the first half of 2025 IVP will develop an audiobook and podcast based on Teach Your Children Well, and from July to December 2025 the press will begin to create additional multimedia content to help teach spiritual practices for family discipleship. From 2026 to 2029 IVP will consolidate these multimedia resources and expand beyond them in order to create a digital discipleship resource hub for families featuring content based on IVP books.

“We are grateful for the innovation and ministry made possible by this grant, which contributes to helping families and fostering the spiritual growth of the next generations,” said Terumi Echols, IVP’s president and publisher. “This initiative from Lilly Endowment aligns perfectly with the history and ongoing mission of InterVarsity, both the worldwide campus ministry and the press. Since 1941, when InterVarsity Christian Fellowship began ministering to college students, the organization has recognized the profound importance of investing in the next generation. For seventy-five years, IVP has contributed resources to campus ministry, nurturing and deepening the faith of young people. In recent years, the press has expanded its discipleship resources for families and developed the IVP Kids line of books to invest in an even younger generation. With this grant, IVP has a unique opportunity to develop additional resources—from multimedia content to an exciting resource hub—to support and foster the faith of families, children, and grandchildren for generations to come.”  

Among the organizations receiving grants through the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative are denominational judicatories, congregations, colleges and universities, faith-based camps, seminaries, and publishing houses. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, they are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Pentecostal, and Orthodox Christian faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black, Hispanic, and Asian church traditions.

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.