Skip to main content Skip to footer

Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative grant is largest in Seminary’s history

Northeastern Seminary 
Receives $1.2 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University has received a grant of $1.225 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative to establish Familias Unidas, a program that will create pathways for Latino parents and caregivers to strengthen their family ties and the transference of Christian values to their children.


In partnership with Missio Alliance — a network of theological practitioners including pastors, church ministry leaders, denominational, seminary and publishing partners — Familias Unidas will primarily support congregations by curating theologically robust, culturally attuned and community-driven resources that consider the unique assets and challenges embodied by Latino families. 


“I am thrilled that Northeastern Seminary has the opportunity to partner with Missio Alliance on such an important project,” Vice President of Northeastern Seminary Benjamin Espinoza said. “Spiritual formation has been a core value of the seminary since its inception 25 years ago, and we are excited to extend this commitment to the broader Latino community.”


Northeastern Seminary and Missio Alliance will create context-appropriate resources that include educational opportunities, as well as contextualized liturgies, specialized training, resources and practices, podcasts and support networks, among other resources. The project will also enable the seminary to hire faculty to teach in the areas of children’s and youth spiritual formation and create an advanced certificate program in the same area.


"Missio Alliance is delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Northeastern Seminary on this pivotal project for the Latina/o community,” National Director of the Missio Alliance Lisa Rodriguez-Watson said. “Our values for ministry at the intersection of formation, justice and mission along with our commitment to culturally-attuned, theologically-robust resources for and from communities on the margins creates the ideal opportunity for this significant collaboration. We foresee great Kingdom fruit as we forge and deepen this partnership."


“I am really looking forward to partnering with Northeastern Seminary and finding pathways to listen to, equip, and empower Latino/a families throughout the United States,” added Gaby Viesca, director of strategy and partnerships at Missio Alliance. “It‘s exciting to see entire programs dedicated to historically marginalized communities and I can’t wait to see all the good work that comes out of this collaboration. It’s a new day for both Missio Alliance and Northeastern Seminary, and I anticipate a strong and fruitful partnership between our organizations.”



Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University is one of 77 organizations that are receiving grants through this competitive round of the initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.


“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.” 


Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well, passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.  


For more information about Northeastern Seminary, please visit


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it 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. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.


About Missio Alliance

For more than 10 years, Missio Alliance has been serving the (largely Protestant) Church in North America by curating content and conversations that invite diverse church leaders to engage in generative dialogue at the intersection of formation, justice, and mission. That is, we seek to help church leaders develop a holistic theology and practice through culturally-attuned, theologically-robust and missionally-minded resources predicated on the core conviction that God is at work in the world, reconciling all things to himself unto the ultimate aim of new creation.


About Northeastern Seminary

Northeastern Seminary is a private Wesleyan seminary on the campus of Roberts Wesleyan University in Rochester, New York. Rooted in biblical and historic Christian faith, its mission is to prepare Christ-centered women and men for faithful effective service to the church and the world. With over thirty denominations and faith groups represented, Northeastern Seminary enjoys a vibrant ethos as a broadly ecumenical and intentionally multi-denominational institution. For more information, visit


About Roberts Wesleyan University

Roberts Wesleyan University is New York’s leading university for character education. Committed to the development of the whole person, the institution is focused on student growth through Christ-centered education, transformational learning and service to others. With 1,579 students and a tradition of excellence since 1866, the university strives to inspire students to transform themselves and the world, and offers over 90 undergraduate, graduate and adult-degree completion programs taught by high-quality, supportive faculty. Roberts Wesleyan University also has two doctoral programs in clinical/school psychology and occupational therapy. Redhawks Athletics intercollegiate sports teams compete as members of NCAA Division II. For more information, visit