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Hendrix Receives Lilly Endowment Grant to Create Youth Institute

CONWAY, Ark. (December 4, 2015) – Hendrix College has received $598,164 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create the Hendrix Youth Institute (HYI), a summer program that will help high school students discern a call to ministry.

Using a holistic approach, the Hendrix Youth Institute program will engage the concept of “head, heart, and hands” to enable youth to understand God’s call. Student participants will take classes in the Bible, Wesleyan Heritage, Worship, and Spiritual Formation. They will shadow a minister and participate in worship, small-group Bible study, local service opportunities, and discernment exercises. They will be part of an Orientation to Ministry event sponsored by the Arkansas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Offered during four consecutive summers, the two-and-a-half- week program will culminate in a mission trip in which participants will work together, building relationships with those they serve and learning from one another. Through service to others, the students will better understand themselves and be able to further discern their call.

“I am extremely grateful that Lilly Endowment has entrusted us with this grant for very important work with high school youth,” said Rev. J. Wayne Clark. “The College has been blessed to receive funds that have helped Hendrix students discern their vocational call, as well as helping clergy in their early ministry careers look at civic engagement and is thrilled for this next partnership. What we hope will be created is a culture of call that begins with high school youth, is nurtured in the college years and is sustained beyond seminary.”

Hendrix is one of 82 private four-year colleges and universities participating in the initiative. The schools are located in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding Christian traditions. These traditions include Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches, as well as Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal and historic African-American Christian communities.

“The colleges and universities participating in the youth theology initiative are well-positioned to reach out to high school students in this way,” said Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment. “They have outstanding faculty in theology and religion who know how to help young people explore the wisdom of religious traditions and apply these insights to contemporary challenges.”

The Endowment is giving $44.5 million in grants through this initiative. The grants are part of the Endowment’s commitment to identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically-minded youth who will become leaders in church and society. 

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

About Hendrix College

Hendrix College is a private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas. Founded in 1876 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884, Hendrix is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges and is nationally recognized in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings for academic quality, community, innovation, and value. For more information, visit