Philanthropy Column

October 24, 1990 2 min read

The Lilly Endowment last month pledged $430,000 for a major study of American religious education in an effort to foster greater appreciation of denominational heritage and identity.

The Rev. James Wind, a program officer at the Indianapolis-based foundation, said the United States has become biblically and theologically illiterate.

“Religious traditions have become so remote that it has become hard for people to reach back into their religious heritage to find guidance,” he said.

Secularization has helped erode religious knowledge, he said, but so have the complications of religious pluralism and “the wall of theological jargon” erected by members of the clergy and academicians.

Dorothy Bass, a church historian now teaching at the Chicago Theological Seminary, will supervise the study full-time from 1991 to 1995.

The Milwaukee Foundation last month awarded $1.1 million in grants to 31 greater-Milwaukee projects, including $239,000 for education and child-care services.

The largest of the grants, $100,000, will be used to establish the Milwaukee Community Service Corps, based on the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The new version will target at-risk 18- to 23-year-olds and will emphasize education programs, job training, and work experience.

Other grants include $20,000 for the International Institute of Wisconsin to develop a curriculum on cultural diversity, $15,000 for school-reform projects coordinated by the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, and $10,000 to start a program aimed at black males ages 11 to 14.

Another Milwaukee group, the Faye McBeath Foundation, was awarded $30,000 for a community-service program linking Custer High School and Edison Middle School with the business community to promote community-development projects.

Sixty-five Florida business leaders learned about educational issues and challenges from the inside this month when they spent a morning as principals of elementary, middle, and high schools in Pinellas County.

The “Presidents as Principals” program, developed by the Pinellas County Education Foundation, allowed the participants to observe teachers, meet students, and become immersed in education issues, according to Donald Pemberton, a foundation spokesman.

The foundation’s Education Leadership Initiative, of which the “Principals” project is a part, seeks to attract private-sector resources for public-school workshops, training, and seminars.


A version of this article appeared in the October 24, 1990 edition of Education Week as Philanthropy Column