Millsaps College Receives Grant for Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative


By: John Sewell, Director of Communications and Community Engagement

Millsaps College has received a grant of $1,183,275 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help create a partnership program with three local United Methodist churches, which will support local parents and caregivers as part of the Center for Ministry based at the college. The partner churches are Aldersgate UMC, Galloway Memorial UMC, and St. Luke’s UMC. 
The effort is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.  
“This initiative will encourage critical thinking and creative responses to the challenges churches face today in their efforts to host effective children and family ministries,” said the Rev. Sally Bevill, associate chaplain at Millsaps.

Rev. Sally Beville
“Our grant proposal was birthed from time spent in curious listening circles with parents and caregivers who are concerned about being equipped to show and share their faith and values with their children. As we listened, we repeatedly heard the cry: ‘We want our children to know God!’ Lilly Endowment has made this a new possibility, and we are beyond grateful.”  
The Center for Ministry at Millsaps College is a shared initiative of Millsaps and the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church and is uniquely equipped to work directly with local churches and communities. Work with parents and caregivers will allow the Center for Ministry and partner churches to understand contemporary families’ needs for daily faith-sharing and learn how they may adapt programming to support healthy, daily examples of faith inside and outside church activities.  
Dr. Keith Dunn, interim president of Millsaps College, said the college is thrilled to continue its partnership with Lilly Endowment through this new initiative.  
“The Center for Ministry helps Millsaps live into and build on its Wesleyan heritage and commitment to free and open inquiry and purpose-based education,” he said. “Prior and ongoing support from Lilly Endowment has supported professional development and formal education for Mississippi clergy. This most recent generous grant will expand the Center for Ministry’s impact, allowing leadership to walk and work with our city and state’s churches, parents, and caregivers as they explore faith-sharing with the children and youth in their care.” 
Millsaps College interim-president, Keith Dunn. Photo courtesy
Millsaps College is one of 77 organizations that are receiving grants through this competitive round of the Christian Parenting 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.   
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. 
About Millsaps College 
Founded in Jackson, Mississippi in 1890, Millsaps College is a national liberal arts college dedicated to academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression, the exploration of faith to inform vocation and the innovative shaping of the social, economic and cultural progress of our region. Consistently ranked as one of the best values in higher education, Millsaps has been praised by Colleges That Change Lives, The Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, The John Templeton Foundation and The Fiske Guide to Colleges. 

320 Briarwood Drive
Jackson, MS 39206
or use our contact form
Sign up now
The Mississippi Annual Conference—empowered by love, generosity, justice and apprenticeship—forms spiritual leaders, faith communities and connections so more disciples of Jesus Christ transform the world.