Howard University School of Divinity Awarded $1 Million Grant to Launch the Ethical Leadership and Racial Justice Initiative

WASHINGTON – The Lilly Endowment Inc., a private philanthropic foundation, has awarded $1 million to the Howard University School of Divinity (HUSD) to launch the Ethical Leadership and Racial Justice Initiative.  

“The Howard University School of Divinity is honored to be awarded such a significant grant from the Lilly Endowment to support our Ethical Leadership and Racial Justice Initiative,” said Yolanda Pierce, Ph.D., dean of the School of Divinity. “As one of only six historically Black theological institutions in the nation, and the only one located within a research university, Howard University School of Divinity is in a unique position to train those committed to racial justice for ethical leadership in today’s complex and globally connected world. We are grateful for the student funding this grant provides, and we look forward to the research, guest speakers and curriculum enhancements that will ensue from this partnership.” 

The initiative will support students in their quest to use their theological training to solve the nation’s socio-political, economic and moral crises by funding a cohort program for students whose academic interest align with ethical leadership and racial justice. It will also seek to bridge the gap between public policy and faith-centered ethical reasoning by inviting visiting scholars and practitioners to the campus community and developing a certificate program for clergy and lay leaders, all with the goal of producing the next generation of ethical leadership committed to racial justice. 

“It is the duty of Howard scholars and leaders to be forward thinking,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “The award from the Lilly Endowment will allow the School of Divinity to advance the Ethical Leadership and Racial Justice Initiative, which is emblematic of the type of interdisciplinary and highly impactful work we strive to do.” 



About Howard University School of Divinity 

The Howard University School of Divinity (HUSD) was chartered in 1870, three years after Howard University was established. The divinity school became fully accredited in 1940 by the Association of Theological Schools under the leadership of former dean, Benjamin Elijah Mays (1934-1940). Howard University School of Divinity remains one of the oldest fully accredited theological institutions in the United States and is the only historically Black theological institution connected to a comprehensive category-one research institution. Throughout history, it has gained an enviable reputation for its distinguished faculty and graduates who have made an indelible impact on the nation and the world.   

Howard University School of Divinity enrolls students from diverse backgrounds and religious traditions who are pursuing a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, Master of Divinity, Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration, Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work and Doctor of Ministry degrees. HUSD offers an unparalleled educational experience that not only reflects the African-American cultural and religious tradition, but also the foundations of excellence promoted throughout Howard University’s history and the unique opportunity afforded by its location within the nation’s capital.  For more info, visit 

About Lilly Endowment Inc. 

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons, J.K. Jr. and Eli, through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.