Lilly Endowment Pastoral Financial Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: February 29, 2016

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1. What is the maximum amount that a congregation (conference or family member) can raise that will be matched by the Lilly Grant?

A: A maximum of $5,000 can be contributed to a pastor’s financial needs per year. Half of this amount ($2,500) comes from the Lilly fund and half ($2,500) from the congregation or other sources.


2. Does the 20 percent “gross up” for taxes get paid by the Lilly Grant or the congregation or both?

A: It is paid by both.


3. I am a chaplain in a hospital with a credential from my conference, is this grant something I am eligible for?

A: The grant is only for active, credentialed congregational pastors. Retired pastors and chaplains do not qualify.


4. I see the grant can help me with my retirement. Can the full $5,000 grant to go into my retirement account?

A: No, grant money cannot be used to supplement retirement accounts. It can however, be used to pay down debt such as student loans, credit cards, unpaid medical expenses and related financial burdens.


5. Can family members or friends of the pastor contribute to the matching dollars raised by a church for a pastor?

A: Yes, family members can send money to the pastor’s congregation which will then be forwarded to the Mennonite Foundation.


6. Is it true that if I receive a grant this year for debt reduction that I may also be eligible for another similar grant next year?

A: Yes, pastors can reapply for another need-based grant a second year.

7. What role does the conference and conference minister play in this grant? Are they involved in the process and helping to gather the matching grant as well?

A: Besides the local congregation, area conference ministers and family members can be contacted and asked to assist with finding matching money. There is no guarantee that all conferences can assist all requests.


8. If I miss the deadline for this quarter does that penalize me or make it less likely that I will receive a grant next quarter?

A: No, the Pastoral Financial Assistance Oversight team will meet once per quarter to review new applications. If you miss a deadline (March 1, June 1, September 1, November 1) the application will be reviewed the following quarter.


9. If I receive an additional 20 percent above the grant and matching grant to address the tax implication of this gift, how do I record this as income in my tax form?

A: You will receive a 1099 from the Mennonite Foundation and the grant you received will need to be reported as additional income for the tax year in which it was received.


10. If I meet another pastor of a Mennonite Church USA congregation am I free to encourage them to apply for this grant without jeopardizing my chances for the grant that I just submitted?

A: Yes, each application will be reviewed on its own merits and not in comparison with other requests. We do however, have a limited amount of Lilly Endowment money allocated for pastoral grants. Once the allocated grant money is spent, further assistance for this part of the program will come to an end.


11. How do I qualify for a $250 Mennonite Retirement Trust (MRT) subsidy and how is the grant processed?

A: A pastor must attend an Everence retirement or financial management educational event to receive an application form for the MRT subsidy. A check for $250 must be contributed by the congregation or pastor, through the local church to the pastors MRT fund. An additional $250 will then be sent from the Lilly fund to the local congregation to be forwarded to the pastor’s MRT. All MRT funds much be channeled through the pastors congregation.