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Press Release: Wespath's Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative Reaches Fundraising Goal, Receives $250,000 Matching Grant

November 28, 2023

Funds prioritize post-pandemic well-being for clergy of color.

For Immediate Release

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

Glenview, IL – Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) has successfully raised $250,000 in funding which will be matched by a generous $250,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. These combined funds will further clergy well-being through Wespath’s Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative (Initiative). In 2022, the Initiative received a $250,000 Lilly Endowment grant and was presented with the challenge to raise an additional $250,000 to unlock matching funds.

With the matching funds, $750,000 is now available to support this important initiative, which has already begun allocating resources to well-being efforts focused on post-pandemic recovery for clergy of color. This includes programing dedicated to self-care and wellness to mitigate burnout, expanding emergency financial assistance for clergy, and providing financial backing for wellness retreats across the U.S.

“Helping clergy thrive in all aspects of their lives, especially enabling those who have faced adversity during challenging times, remains a priority,” said Andy Hendren, Wespath general secretary and CEO. “Our commitment to foster financial wellness, personal growth and racial equity underscores our belief that when our clergy are at their best, their ministries and the communities they serve flourish.”

Clergy affirm the value of these programs which span five dimensions of well-being (financial, physical, emotional, spiritual and social). A post-event report from one wellness retreat funded by the Initiative for cross-culturally appointed pastors shared the following from an attendee: “[I learned] how to breathe. Sometimes I can get so wound up, I can't exhale. I also learned how to break trauma loops.” Another retreat participant shared, “You have to manage your finances, just like you manage your spirit, mind and body.” A third attendee offered, “I learned that who I am is extremely important, and my culture interacts with the congregation I'm pastoring.”

We are grateful for the generosity of the following organizations that have pledged and contributed to the Initiative’s fundraising efforts:

  • Baltimore-Washington Conference Board of Pensions
  • Dakotas Methodist Foundation
  • Florida United Methodist Foundation
  • General Board of Global Ministries
  • General Board of Higher Education and Ministry
  • General Council on Finance and Administration
  • Holston Foundation
  • Indiana Conference
  • Iowa United Methodist Foundation
  • Kentucky Conference
  • Methodist Foundation for Arkansas
  • Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation
  • Minnesota Methodist Foundation
  • Midwest Methodist Foundation
  • Preachers’ Aid Society of New England
  • Texas Methodist Foundation
  • United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana
  • United Methodist Foundation of Michigan
  • United Methodist Foundation of Pennsylvania
  • United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, Inc.
  • United Methodist Foundation of West Virginia

For more information on partnership opportunities through the Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative, contact:

  • Dale Jones, Wespath Managing Director, Church Relations, at [email protected] or 847-866-2715
  • Bonnie Marden, Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative Project Manager, at [email protected], 978-846-1260

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 $24 billion in assets on behalf of over 100,000 participants and over 150 United Methodist institutions (as of December 31, 2022). 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 one of the largest faith-based pension funds in the world. For additional information about Wespath Benefits and Investments, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X and YouTube.