We are part think tank, part granting agency, part talent scout.

louisville institute

What it means to be a spark

Sharing our mission by fostering community

LI impact on the study of and practice of North American Christianity is broad and deep.

Catalyst of change

LI convenes religious leaders and academics through its grants, fellowships, and inquiry teams. Many recipients continue their LI connections beyond the end of the grants.

Impact on North American Christianity

LI brings together leaders of religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work of each informs and strengthens the other.

Our Mission

As a center to support research and leadership education on American religion, the Louisville Institute seeks to nurture inquiry and conversation regarding the character, problems, contributions, and prospects of the historic institutions and commitments of American Christianity. In all of its work, the Louisville Institute is guided by its fundamental mission to enrich the religious life of American Christians and to encourage the revitalization of their institutions, by bringing together those who lead religious institutions with those who study them, so that the work of each might inform and strengthen the other.

A little bit of history

In late 1990, Lilly Endowment Inc. (an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation) launched the Louisville Institute, based at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company, the Endowment supports the causes of religion, education, and community development. The Religion Division of Lilly Endowment works with people and institutions of promise to generate knowledge, communicate insights, nurture practices, and renew and sustain institutions that help to make accessible and effective the religious resources upon which a flourishing and humane society depends.