Our Vision

The humble pursuit of the truth about God and creation.

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.




We all grow up in a tradition. When we are young, we learn to think about the world and ultimate questions in ways we that are modeled and taught by our parents, extended families, neighbors, schools, and places of worship. As we grow and become aware of the world outside our families and neighborhoods, we often start asking larger questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? How can I know what is true? Is there a God? Why is there suffering? What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? How should I live? How should I respond to the challenges of my time? Asking such questions can, in turn, open doors to encounters with people, problems, and outlooks that are not part of our upbringing. The goal of the Issachar Fund is to encourage encounters between a broad range of perspectives as we explore the big questions of existence, purpose, and meaning.



When we ask the big questions of life, we become aware that reality has both physical and spiritual dimensions. In our scientific-technological culture, rapid change in our knowledge of physical reality drives rapid social change. Our spiritual traditions, by contrast, are ancient, and change more slowly. Yet spiritual knowledge about ultimate realities is needed if science and technology are to aid human flourishing. The Issachar Fund encourages all spiritual traditions—Christianity especially—to become aware of the challenges of our time that arise from scientific and technological development, and to engage in internal and external dialogs about how best to understand and meet these challenges.



How do we respond to the challenges of our time? For this we need wisdom—the ability to discern the foundational significance of science and religion and how they can inform each other in addressing contemporary issues. For this task, goodwill and common sense are not enough. Wisdom brings the practical knowledge that makes disciplined study, rigorous analysis, and thoughtful reflection on our lived experience useful. The Issachar Fund identifies and supports those who have the preparation, vision, and motivation to discern wise courses of action.



Ultimately, we do not seek knowledge, understanding, and wisdom for their own sake. Our society needs people of faith who see deeply into the challenges of our times and how to address them in ways that enhance the common good. The Issachar Fund disseminates compelling learning and wisdom distilled from science and religion in order to inform and encourage leaders in every sphere of human activity.


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, Programs and Special Initiatives

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 grants are made twice yearly, in the spring and in the fall.

Issachar Fund helps secure funding for projects ranging up to $50,000.

Most projects we recommend for funding are one to two years long.

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.

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 accept LOIs on a rolling basis.

The application process begins by submitting an 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.

Yes. Our focus is on important questions and issues arising from the interface of Science and Religion.

We use the software Foundant for all of our grant management and reporting needs. To log into your account to submit a report click on the link here: Foundant Log-in