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Fund Development

The Issachar Fund (TIF) assists select organizations in obtaining funds for projects that are consistent with our mission and purposes. TIF invites grant proposals and makes funding recommendations on a competitive basis to a donor advised fund (DAF). We recommend grants only after an applicants’ tax-exempt status has been verified and the grant application has been thoroughly vetted.

If you are an organization or individual working in one of our areas of inquiry and are seeking support for your work, please refer to our calendar for deadlines to submit a Letter of Inquiry. On occasion, TIF will also run Requests for Proposals (RFP) related to one or more of our Areas of Inquiry. RFP announcements will be on the TIF website.

If the Foundation approves your Letter of Inquiry, we will ask for a more detailed Full Proposal.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of projects and organizations we have recommended for funding:


Creation and the World of Science

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Calvin College:  Support for the Second Wave of the National Study of Religion and Human Origins:  Dr. Jonathan Hill is working on an expansion of his current work on the social context of beliefs about religion, science, and human origins.  In terms of content, this extends his research on human origins into an exploration of the American public’s general conceptions of the nature and purposes of science, the bounds of scientific and religious knowledge, and the nature of the overlap between these domains. The primary output from this project will be a university press book. Secondary outputs would include essays and editorials for general audiences, peer reviewed journal articles, and professional and popular presentations of the findings. 

University of Oxford


Oxford University:  Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion Oxford University, The Ian Ramsey Center: This Issachar Fund recommended funding to endow the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion. This post is currently filled by Professor Alister McGrath.

 

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Oxford University:  The One-Year Master of Studies in Science and Religion: Based in Oxford University’s Faculty of Theology and Religion, this degree program is one of the most important qualifications available for those wanting to lay the foundations for a career in the field of science and religion. Alister McGrath, as Idreos Chair of Science and Religion, provides the main body of teaching, and the program includes ample opportunity to develop a significant research program. This project will provide four scholarships per year over a period of three years to enable outstanding students to come to Oxford and benefit from this outstanding program.


BioLogos:
Evolution and Christian Faith. TIF secured supplemental funding for the ECF project. ECF supports projects and network building among scholars, church leaders, and para-church organizations to address theological and philosophical concerns commonly voiced by Christians about evolutionary creation.

     

 


Christian History Institute
Debating Darwin Issue. The Christian History Institute created Christian History magazine (Issue 107) on the topic of the church’s various responses to Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species (1859) and the theory of evolution by natural selection it proposed.

     


Medical Care and Human Dignity

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: The National Clergy Project on End-of-Life Care: This project aims to facilitate clergy education in understanding the theological issues surrounding spiritual care within terminal illness (e.g., cancer) and the medical decision-making process faced by patients, families, and religious communities in the United States.  The project advances this objective by supporting additional data analysis of a large national survey and enabling a practical-theological book to be published (co-authored by Michael Balboni, Ph.D. and Patrick Smith, Ph.D.). 

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Duke University: The Fellowship in Theology, Medicine, and Culture Program: This projects aims to provide theological formation to the church’s health practitioners. As part of its commitment to creating innovative approaches to theological formation, Duke Divinity School already provides several paths for health professional students and practitioners to work alongside students who are training for vocations within the church. The new Fellowship program aims to deepen theological formation with respect to the practices of health care, and to make the Divinity School more visible and accessible to health professional students and practitioners, both nationally and globally. Combining academic study with prayer, mentorship, seminars, practicums, and retreats, the Fellowship will equip the Church’s healers with an imagination for faithfully engaging their vocations in health care.

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Cardus, Inc., Comment Magazine: “Healthcare, Social Architecture, and the Common Good”:  A themed issue of Comment magazine exploring why Christians who care about justice and the common good should care about the renewal and reform of healthcare systems in their countries (with a specific focus on the United States and Canada).  This issue, published in Fall 2015, featured articles by both engaged theologians and ethicists as well as reflective practitioners. 

Calvin College, January Series: Victoria Sweet Lecture. Calvin College’s renowned January Series brought Victoria Sweet to speak about her influential book God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine.


The Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's University and Seminary:
 The Faith and Health Education Initiative. This project seeks to develop, in order to deliver, a graduate theological certificate that integrates faith traditions and medical practices into a holistic understanding of healthy persons, congregations, communities, and institutions.


Human Flourishing in a Technological World

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Goshen College: The Amish, Technology, and the Rest of Us: This project looks at how Amish people negotiate the use and influence of technology in their individual and collective lives, and bring those practices and insights into conversation with the best contemporary Christian reflection on technology so as to advance that wider Christian discussion by raising new questions, exposing assumptions, and suggesting new possibilities for community practices. The project will result in two journal articles. 

Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning at Calvin College: Educational Technology and Human Flourishing. This research project will examine how new technologies are reshaping the practices and culture of education and how this impacts the identity and mission of Christian schools. This ground-breaking study seeks to elucidate the benefits and pitfalls for student formation in a Christian school of systemic investment in new technologies, with the aim of informing decision making in similar educational contexts.

Institute on Religion and Public Life: God, Science, and Technology. The project's purpose is to provide a sophisticated, interdisciplinary, and public forum for engaging questions such as: 1) technology’s role in modern science, 2) the nature of our technological ambitions, 3) the implications of the technological imperative for human dignity. The initiative will consist of a day-and-a-half colloquium bringing twenty eminent scholars and journalists, the publication of three major essays and selected responses in the pages of First Things magazine, and a sustained engagement with the initiative’s themes through resulting essays in web-only articles and blog posts on firstthings.com.


Creation Care

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Shalom University: Environmental and Spiritual Regression among the Forest Dwellers: This research seeks to address two major issues: (1) It seeks to understand why the socioeconomic conditions of Ituri forest dwellers are not improving (compared to the Bantu migrants in the forest), yet they have shifted from subsistence exploitation of forest natural resources to commercial trading. (2) Why are the original forest dwellers returning to traditional beliefs and practices after having been Christian for the past century? This research will (a) establish the responsibility of the local communities and newcomers in mismanaging natural resources; (b) bring the local communities to understand the need of an equal distribution of economic gains among beneficiaries; (c) create awareness of creation care among the Ituri elite; and (d) help the church discover the factors behind shaky foundations and less impact of the Gospel on the traditional beliefs of Ituri forest dwellers.

Bethany Land Institute

Bethany Land Institute: Seed Funding: Bethany Land Institute exists to address three interrelated problems in rural Africa: food insecurity, environment degradation and poverty. At the basis of these problems lies a theological problem that has to do with failure to see and acknowledge our deep connection with the land and an attempt to escape from our vocation to “till the land and take care of it.” (Gen 2:15). The Bethany Land Institute seeks to recover this mandate by forming and supporting the poor in Africa, especially the youth, in practices of sustainable farming, ecological consciousness, and economic entrepreneurship.

Great Lakes Initiative via Duke Divinity School: Sacred Trust: Land and Community in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa. This project will host a seminar focused on a range of issues related to land and community in the region. The seminar will be co-led by an American biblical scholar and an African theologian and will consider how the biblical text speaks to the Church in the contemporary social, political, and economic context of the Great Lakes region. One goal of the seminar will be to outline a curriculum that would aid various institutions in the East African Great Lakes region (universities, seminaries, NGOs) in creating courses and workshops on the topic. Toward this end, we will reconvene a small number of the participants from the region to refine and test curricula.

Congo Initiative-Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (CI-UCBC): Campus Conversations, May 2014. CI-UCBC seeks to convene Creation Care: Campus Conversations for the purpose of initiating a process toward an institutionally-shared, coherent vision on Creation Care that informs all aspects of the organization’s activities, including university curriculum (e.g., sciences and theology), land management, organizational culture, and outreach activities to the community. The Campus Conversations include a variety of events, including all-campus and all-staff gatherings, small group conversations, professional development workshops, and planning sessions.