United Church of Christ

Program Grants

Re-imagine the Gifts of GodProgram Grants fund the work of the church.

The Adese Fellowship

The Adese Fellowship: A catalytic experience for emerging entrepreneurs who renew the Church's mission to create a just world for all.

The United Church of Christ, in partnership with Church Building & Loan Fund, is excited to announce the Adese Fellowship!

This groundbreaking, ecumenical program will engage participants in theological reflection and business development as they create enterprises that help their communities follow the way of Jesus and live into God's economy.

The all-expenses-paid, 12-month program will maximize the capacity of fellows to build sustainable ventures that counter systemic poverty.

While Adese is an initiative of the UCC, the program welcomes applications from any faith-driven entrepreneur who is committed to a just world for all.

Read the overview to learn more. Explore the curriculum and faculty here.

Read article announcing launch of Adese.



Direct inquiries to:
Rev. Dr. Chris Davies
CASA Director

The Genesis Fund 2018

Deadline: The online application form for The Genesis Fund opens on December 1 each year and closes on March 15 of the following year at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The Genesis Fund, established in 1996 from funds raised through the Make a Difference Campaign, provides seed money for faith-based projects that are innovative or experimental, represent a new initiative in Christian mission, or that may be deemed controversial. Funds are available for domestic and international projects.

Each year applications open December 1 and close on March 15 of the following year at 5:00 pm Eastern time. Award disbursements are made in late summer.

Make A Difference: The Genesis Fund Report 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Fund

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Fund provides annual funding to UCC-related AMA schools. Applications are not accepted.

New Spiritual Communities and ReNewing Churches

Deadline: September 1, 2017

Direct inquiries to:
Karen Koza
Administrative Assistant, Local Church Ministries

The purpose of the United Church of Christ is:
To love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves.

Mission statement:
United in Spirit and inspired by God's grace, we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.

And together, we vision:
United in Christ's love, a just world for all.

The New Spiritual Communities and ReNewing Churches grant program of the United Church of Christ seeks to enact the Vision, Mission, and Purpose by investing in programs and ministries which live into the ethos of the United Church of Christ’s becoming. In March of 2017, leaders from across the life of the denomination gathered to redefine the grant program and set intention and vision on the funding and the churches that the UCC will be supporting.

After much deliberation on the metrics of new churches, the team affirmed that we will invest in the values which lead communities into action, and for the greater impact of the ministries. Our funded new and renewing churches will be led by the following five values:

Love: Right relationships define love. Love is a communal experience enacting love of neighbor, self, and God. Love has a narratable timeline; something happening drawing one out of oneself, and extending self. The community speaks love through a narration of their story including presence to both joy and pain in the midst of loving.

Spirituality/Faith: Communities which are connected to something bigger than themselves, and the great cloud of witnesses (past, present, and future), while adding to the Christian story.

Community: Gathering body of individuals that speaks to live out the teachings of Jesus Christ. Community means interdependence, connection, honoring of difference, with the equal distribution and sharing of power and resources for all.

Justice: Justice speaks truth to power. Justice is what love looks like in public, and through the eyes of God. Justice creates opportunities for wholeness and health in individuals and communities. Justice is connected to the community surrounding in the building of coalitions and partnerships. Justice is intersectional; so the faith community is also facing outward. Justice ensures the voice of the voiceless and serves the underserved, inviting the tradition and wisdom of voices historically excluded and/or undervalued. Justice repairs the breaches, and restores right relationships. Justice is the equitable allocation of resources for God’s beloved children.

Creativity: The ministry takes a bold and innovative approach, and/or applies the old model in a new way to address a particular need within the community.


This grant is available to faith communities affiliated with the United Church of Christ. If the applicant is not a Member in Discernment or UCC minister in good standing, a UCC accountability structure must be described and agreed upon through the local conference or committee on ministry.

The first thing applicants should do is determine who will serve as a reference for this application. References MUST be in before you can "submit" the application.
Decide, and reach out to EITHER a conference minister or associate conference minister, OR, all of the below:
-a local pastor of a congregation where membership and accountability is held
-a leader of a community partner organization
-an outside source of communal support (e.g. a coach, mentor, spiritual director, et cetera.)

We hold intention that at least 50% of our funding will go towards faith communities who are historically marginalized: specifically, communities of color, or faith communities led by people of color.

There are two types of grants: grants that can be matched, or non-matching grants.

Within matching grants for NEW communities, any income can be matched, including tithed income.
For RENEWING churches, it must be outside fundraising, NOT including "normal" church income, such as tithed income. For all churches, matching grant funds must be properly documented, such as would hold up to an IRS audit.
-Grants which are NOT matched: $20,000 over 4 quarters, for the period of one year.
-Matching grants, up to $40,000. $10k first, then $30k matched to follow, over 6 quarters (1.5 years.)

Each community and/or applicant is eligible for up to $100,000 grand lifetime, from this program.

Grants are awarded based on how applicants seek to embody in their ministries the values lifted up at the beginning of this document, as well as the impact from those values within the local community.

Ministries that are meant to be sustaining, as well as ministries that are meant to be impactful for a particular time and place, are encouraged to apply.

New Spiritual Communities and ReNewing Churches

Neighbors in Need

Deadline: September 30, 2017

Direct inquiries to:
Bentley de Bardelaben
Executive for Administration and Communications Justice & Witness Ministries

Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the UCC that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry(CAIM). Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.

Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC congregations and organizations that are doing justice work in their communities. Only UCC congregations and organizations are eligible to submit proposals. These requests must relate to work supported by General Synod actions in one of the following programmatic areas:

• The Rights and Freedoms of all Persons
• Environmental Justice
• Economic Justice

These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. Funding is provided through donations to the Neighbors in Need offering.

First time project grants range from $1,000 to $10,000. (Note: Only a few $10,000 grants will be awarded annually.)


The Daniel Hand Fund

The Daniel Hand Fund provides annual scholarship aid to UCC related AMA institutions that educate persons of African descent. Applications are not accepted.

DDaniel Hand Report for Academic Institutions 2018

Daniel Hand Report for Non-Academic Institutions 2018

The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program (Sabbatical)

(given by The Lilly Endowment, not the UCC)
UCC congregations are invited to apply for grants up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for their pastor, with $15,000 of those funds to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary represent the Endowment's continued investment in renewing the health and vitality of American Christian congregations. There is no cost to the congregations or the pastors to apply. Learn more >>