Our Mission

Issachar Fund partners with scholars, leaders and organizations that seek religious and scientific truth, learning from and contributing to the ideals, values, knowledge and practices of our increasingly multicultural society.

Our Vision

The humble pursuit of the truth about God and creation.

Why Questions

The Twelfth-century philosopher, logician, and theologian Peter Abelard wrote, “The key to wisdom is this—constant and frequent questioning.” Questions are powerful, revelatory tools. They indicate a desire to learn and an openness to fresh ways of thinking. Questions disclose something of what we know and shed light on things we don’t know. They invite conversation and point to new directions for how to live our lives.

Our Staff

Kurt Berends


Mike Hamilton

Vice President for Programs and Special Initiatives

Sara Hohnstein

Vice President, Operations and Applied Projects

Sara Merrilees

Communications and Events Manager


Issachar Fund is a private operating foundation, not a typical grant-making one. By legal definition, our foundation giving is restricted primarily to our own programs. However, we also invite grant proposals that are consistent with our mission and purposes. We recommend grants only after the grant proposal has been thoroughly vetted and evaluated.

Issachar Fund does not align itself with a particular denomination, nor does it require specific faith commitments from its partners. We support work at secular and faith-based institutions and organizations. We also promote interfaith work that serves the Christian church.

We hold a high view of science and a high view of the Christian scriptures. We support projects that engage the sciences, the scriptures, and the church in a rigorous, relevant and gracious way.

We have helped secure funding for many different types of projects: individual research projects, team research projects, books, journal articles, conferences, small working groups of scholars, church education projects, and lectures. We are open to a wide range of endeavors. We are focused on reaching a variety of audiences: the academic community, congregations, pastors, teachers, thought leaders, the international community, and others.

Due to the number of inquiries we receive, we prefer that your inquiries begin with a LOI.

Visits to Issachar Fund are rarely necessary and are only at our invitation.

Issachar Fund evaluates LOIs and small grant proposals as they are submitted, a process that usually takes 4 to 6 weeks. Decisions about large grants are made twice yearly, in the spring and in the fall. To be considered for spring 2021 please submit your LOI before December 3, 2020. A fall deadline for review will be announced next year.

Issachar Fund has helped secure funding for projects ranging in size from $5,000 to $300,000. In a few exceptional cases, we have recommended funding for larger projects.

Most projects we recommend for funding are one to three years long. In remarkable cases, Issachar Fund may recommend funding for a project with a longer time span, but approval is needed before submitting a proposal for a project longer than 3 years in length.

We understand that many projects take advanced planning. Sabbatical approvals, course buyouts, calendar conflicts, etc., can all affect the timeline of a project. We will accept proposals for projects up to 24 months in advance of their start date.

Unless otherwise specified in a specific program, Issachar Fund does not have geographic boundaries or restrictions. However, we strongly prefer that international organizations have a U.S. fiduciary to receive funds.

Yes. We currently cap our indirect cost recoveries at 10%.

Yes. However, Issachar Fund strongly prefers projects that are affiliated with an institution (typically a university, research institution, or other non-profit organization). Unaffiliated individuals must find appropriate 501(c)3 institutions to administer their grants.

We typically do not support planning grants. In special circumstances, Issachar Fund will consider planning grants that align with our Guiding Questions.

Yes, in some cases. However, we believe good ideas often invite broad support and therefore we prefer projects with multiple funding sources. This is especially true for projects over $15,000.

We consider LOIs on a rolling basis, so you may submit an LOI any time.

The application process begins by submitting a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). Issachar Fund staff will then review your LOI. If your work fits within Issachar Fund’s interests and priorities, we will invite you to submit a full grant proposal.