Pathways to Vitality, a financial literacy initiative of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, is a six-year program funded by Lilly Endowment and designed for clergy and lay leaders to facilitate well-informed and honest conversations about money. Learn more at the Pathways website.
Through the Pathways program, the diocese offers seminary scholarships and assistance to clergy and their families.
Ministerial Excellence Fund
Financial Relief and Financial Literacy Education to Clergy and Families
The mission of the Ministerial Excellence Fund is to provide financial relief and financial literacy education to clergy and their families who are experiencing financial emergencies or distress. Recognizing the unique relationship between clergy and their congregations, the grant-making process is designed to be a catalyst for authentic and informed conversations regarding the unspoken financial challenges and sacrifices of ministry.
- Download the Ministerial Excellence Fund grant guidelines and application process.
- Complete the Ministerial Excellence Fund online application.
Seminary Loan Repayment
The diocese offers loan assistance to active, stipendiary and non-stipendiary clergy serving congregations.
The Ministerial Excellence Fund provides $500 for loan assistance to each eligible person submitting an application. Additionally, the Fund will match the applicant’s personal loan payments made in 1/12th increments for each year of participation in the program. For example, a cleric participating for the first time will receive $500 plus a 1/12th match of personal seminary loan payments made the previous year. During the second year, the cleric will receive another $500 plus a 2/12th match of personal payments made, and so forth.
- Clergy who wish to participate in the program must submit the appropriate 2021 loan payment documentation and application to the Canon for Administration and Evangelism by February 15, 2022. Complete the online application.
- Payments will be paid directly to the lending institution(s).
- For clergy employed for a partial year, the diocese will pay $500 for the previous year. The 1/12thmatch will kick in on the cleric’s first full year of employment,
- If a cleric is able to make an unusually large payment in a single calendar year, the Ministerial Excellence Fund will match the payment up to $5,000.
- If a cleric pays off his or her loan during the calendar year, the cleric should contact the Canon for Administration and Evangelism to negotiate the final estimated match.
- The diocese through the Ministerial Excellence Fund provides assistance for seminary debt only at this time.
- Clergy receiving seminary aid are responsible for paying all applicable income taxes based upon current IRS and state guidelines for the full amount paid to lending institution(s). Please consult your personal professional advisor for more information.
Financial support from the Ministerial Excellence Fund is available to diocesan seminarians to assist with seminary tuition and living expenses. Please contact Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale, canon to the ordinary for administration and evangelism, for more information.
Financial Consulting and Counseling
All clergy and their spouses or partners may take advantage of personal financial counseling and advising for one year free of charge with Lisa Brown, CPA and MBA, of Highfield & Associates. To schedule your personal and confidential appointment, please contact Melissa Hickman, Pathways to Vitality program director.
403(b) Savings Plan Match
Effective January 1, 2021, the Ministerial Excellence Fund will match clergy contributions to new or existing 403(b) savings plans up to $300 annually (or $25 monthly). All active clergy in the diocese can participate by enrolling in a new 403(b) and committing to saving at least $300 annually. For clergy who already have a 403(b) plan, you will need to increase your annual contribution by $300. In both cases, the Ministerial Excellence Fund will match your new or increased contribution up to $300.