The Louisville Institute

The Louisville Institute
1044 Alta Vista Road Louisville, KY 40205 (502) 992-5432

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of persons get research grants from the Louisville Institute?

Why does the Louisville Institute make grants to both academics and pastoral leaders?

What kind of research do you fund?

What kinds of projects other than research do you fund?

What kinds of projects does the Louisville Institute does not fund?

To which grant program should I apply to support my research project?

How do I apply for a grant from the Louisville Institute?

What does a good Louisville Institute proposal look like?

Do I submit my application online or in hard copy?

Can a Louisville Institute grant be used for salary support?

Does the Louisville Institute provide sample proposals?

May I submit a proposal to more than one grant program?

I’m a biblical scholar. Can I apply for a grant from LI?

I am not a practicing Christian. Can I apply for a grant from the Louisville Institute?

Can persons from abroad apply for grants from the Louisville Institute?

I learned about your program after the grant deadline. Can I still apply?

Where on the website can I find more information about some of the grant projects you have supported?

I'm not sure my project is a good fit for the Louisville Institute. Where else can I look for grants?

What kinds of persons get research grants from the Louisville Institute?

The Louisville Institute has identified a specific constituency of pastoral leaders and academics who are passionately committed to both the vitality of America Christianity and to engaged reflection about it. We sometimes describe them as “scholarly pastors” and “faithful academics.”

“Scholarly pastors” are both committed to ministry and realistic about its distinctive challenges in the contemporary cultural situation. They are well educated, appreciative of the tradition but open to new learning, and reflective about the context of contemporary ministry. For their part, “faithful academics” see themselves as both students of religion and persons of faith who want their scholarly work to contribute to the vitality of American religious life.

Why does the Louisville Institute make grants to both academics and pastoral leaders?

Despite sincere efforts from both sides, a persistent gap effectively separates the professional cultures of “faithful academics” and “scholarly pastors”, to their detriment and that of the many common interests and concerns they share. The aim of the Louisville Institute is to create the conditions for systematic, new connections between religious leaders and religion scholars in order to strengthen American churches.

What kind of research do you fund?

The Louisville Institute supports research pertaining to contemporary North American Christianity. Sometimes this may be practical theological research on spiritual formation in American Christian communities or research by an ethicist on religion, work, and family in North America.  At other times it may be sociological or historical research on American Christianity.  But, in all cases, we are especially interested in research that will contribute to the revitalization of Christian churches and other religious institutions.

What kinds of projects other than research do you fund?

In addition to supporting research, the Project Grant for Researchers Program can also support certain research-related activities. It might, for example, enable a scholar-educator to meet with a group of pastors to discuss his or her research findings on the role of Christian faith in a religiously pluralistic world. Or it could support a particularly promising consultation of pastors and academics on the distinctive role of small, rural congregations or an innovative and collaborative dissemination project involving both groups.

What kinds of projects does the Louisville Institute does not fund?

The Louisville Institute does not make grants for basic institutional operating support (including the normal operation of existing programs), construction expenses, endowments, publication subventions, routine conference support, educational expenses for persons enrolled in degree programs, and Doctor of Ministry projects. [Note: VTE fellowships have separate criteria.]

Louisville Institute grants cannot be awarded to members of the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary Board, faculty, administration, staff, or student body, or to any of their immediate family members (parents, spouse, or children). Institute Board members themselves and members of their immediate families are ineligible to receive Louisville Institute grants.

To which grant program should I apply to support my research project?

The Louisville Institute offers five different competitive grant programs.  You should apply to the one that best fits your professional identity and the scope and nature of your project.  For more information, see the appropriate sections of this website.

How do I apply for a grant from the Louisville Institute?

Application materials may be downloaded from this web site. Since application procedures vary from program to program, please be sure to download the correct application materials for the program to which you are applying. In addition, be sure to follow carefully its application procedures and to submit all application materials by the application deadline. While parts of an application may be submitted online or by email attachment, the rest must be filled out and mailed to the Institute.

What does a good Louisville Institute proposal look like?

An effective grant proposal constructs a reasoned argument about an issue or problem of significance for the church and usually contains the following elements: 

  • A one-paragraph summary of the argument. What core questions will guide your inquiry?
  • A clear description of the issue or problem and its significance.
  • A description of the proposed strategy for addressing the issue or problem.
  • An explanation of what you expect to find or accomplish.
  • An indication of how you intend both to assess the success of your project (evaluation) and to share your findings with others (dissemination).
  • A description of the ways in which this project contributes to the vitality of contemporary American religious life.

    Given the Louisville Institute's fundamental mission to bring pastors and academics together, preference will be given to proposals that, in fact, involve both groups during the grant period. See also the How to Apply section of this website.

    Do I submit my application online or in hard copy?

    With the following exceptions, we prefer that you send most application materials by either uploading documents through our website or by e-mail attachments in either *.pdf or *.doc format by the annual deadline.

  • The Applicant Information and Project Summary Form can be submitted online or in hard copy.
  • Transcripts.
  • Letters of recommendation should be sent by the letter writer directly to the Louisville Institute. While it is our preference to receive them by hard copy on letterhead, letters will be accepted on letterhead by email attachment in *.pdf or *.doc format or by fax, with hard copy to follow.
  • If you choose to send your entire proposal in hard copy, please assemble it using paper clips and not staples and mail to the office of the Louisville Institute by the annual deadline.

    Can a Louisville Institute grant be used for salary support?

    Yes. Grant budgets can include salary or other legitimate research expenses. But all such expenses must be justified in the budget narrative.

    Does the Louisville Institute provide sample proposals?

    It is the policy of the Louisville Institute not to provide samples of successful proposals, since proposals vary so widely. But in the midst of this variety, successful proposals almost always follow closely the proposal procedures provided for the appropriate grant program section of this website.  Brief summaries of successful proposal can be accessed from each program's particular page.

    May I submit a proposal to more than one grant program?

    Applicants may submit applications to only one Louisville Institute grant program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31).

    I’m a biblical scholar. Can I apply for a grant from LI?

    Biblical research projects that bear fairly directly on North American religious life may be funded. Recent grantees, for example, have explored faithful ways of reading Paul's letter to the Romans in the current political context and the contemporary misuse of the Book of Revelation.

    I am not a practicing Christian. Can I apply for a grant from the Louisville Institute?

    The Louisville has made grants to scholars who claim no personal commitments to Christianity. Such grantees should be astute, even if critical, observers of American religious life and should be able to work empathetically on issues of interest to the Louisville Institute.

    Can persons from abroad apply for grants from LI?

    On very rare occasions, the Louisville Institute has made a grant to someone outside the United States or Canada.  It is essential, however, that proposed projects bear directly on North American Christianity.  Other projects will not be funded.  Pastoral sabbatical grants are awarded only to pastoral leaders serving institutions located in North America.

    I learned about your program after the grant deadline. Can I still apply?

    No. In fairness to all applicants for Louisville Institute grants, we are unable to accept proposals after the posted application deadlines.

    Where on the website can I find more information about some of the grant projects you have supported?

    The “Search” section of the home page contains three options. Site Search provides a search box with which to search the entire site for any word or phrase.  The Previous Grants search option enables you to search all grants on a particular subject, grants made to particular grantees, or grants made in particular grant programs.  The third option enables a seach by author, type of publication, grant program, and so forth.  Additional information about a grant project may be requested from the individual grantees.

    I'm not sure my project is a good fit for the Louisville Institute. Where else may I look for grants?

    The Louisville Institute is one of several grant making institutions funded by the Lilly Endowment. Links to and descriptions of these various institutions are posted at the Resourcing Christianity website.