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Press Release: Wespath Awarded Third Financial Literacy Grant

December 20, 2021

Will fund support for clergy adversely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and underserved/under-represented clergy groups

For Immediate Release

Contact: Julie Capozzi
Managing Director, Communications
(847) 866-4111
[email protected]

Glenview, IL—Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) has been awarded a $250,000 grant as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. This grant includes an additional award of up to $250,000 if dollar-for-dollar matching funds are secured from United Methodist sources. Wespath will use the grant to expand on the work begun in 2015 as part of the Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative (Initiative) to improve the financial acumen of United Methodist clergy and, in turn, lead and grow vibrant congregations in the churches they serve.

With this grant, Wespath and its Initiative partners intend to expand resources to two key clergy groups: those most adversely impacted by the pandemic and clergy groups identified as typically underserved by, or under-represented in, Church programs and activities related to financial literacy. Specific plans include:

  • Utilize partnerships with fellow United Methodist Church (UMC) organizations that work closely with the two target clergy groups
  • Increase access to, and usage of, educational and empowerment experiences and resources
  • Raise matching funds in collaboration with UMC foundations, conferences, agencies and other groups already involved in—or wishing to undertake—projects aimed at the two target clergy groups

The Initiative seeks to foster innovative approaches and provide integrated resources to help UMC clergy address financial challenges. In this work, Wespath has partnered with a broad coalition of United Methodist organizations, including the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), Discipleship Ministries, and the National Association of United Methodist Foundations (NAUMF). The Initiative supports low-interest debt refinancing opportunities, provides scholarships for full-time students pursuing their Master of Divinity at UMC seminaries or schools of theology, and supports financial literacy education projects at a local level. In November 2020, in partnership with the United Methodist Publishing House, the Initiative launched a faith-based money management curriculum, Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being. This curriculum helps clergy and congregants learn how to reach personal financial goals and achieve a sustainable financial life. Funding for these programs has come from previously awarded Lilly Endowment grants.

“We are encouraged that the Lilly Endowment sees the continued value of UMC efforts to aid our clergy in building and maintaining their financial well-being,” said Barbara Boigegrain, Wespath general secretary and CEO. “Clergy with heavy seminary debt or financial stress often find it very difficult to fully give of themselves to their churches and congregants. Through the ongoing support of the Lilly Endowment, we are able to reach more clergy and help alleviate their financial stress through education, programs and financial support.”

For more information on clergy financial literacy partnership opportunities please contact:


About Wespath Benefits and Investments
Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) is a not-for-profit agency that has been serving The United Methodist Church (UMC) for over a century. In accordance with its fiduciary duties, Wespath administers benefit plans and, together with its subsidiaries, including Wespath Institutional Investments, invests over $30 billion in assets on behalf of over 100,000 participants and over 100 United Methodist-affiliated institutions (as of August 31, 2021). Wespath invests in a sustainable manner that seeks to achieve positive financial, social and environmental impact while upholding the values of the UMC. Wespath maintains the largest reporting faith-based pension fund in the world. For additional information about Wespath Benefits and Investments, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.