Lilly Endowment Awards Grant for Hendrix Youth Institute
Sustainability funding to allow continuation of HYI’s programs for another five years

CONWAY, Ark. (October 7, 2019) — Hendrix College has received a $231,250 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to continue the Hendrix Youth Institute (HYI). The College operates HYI, which is geared toward teens discerning a call to ministry, under the direction of the Office of the Chaplain and through a grant made by the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas to the Center for Calling & Christian Leadership, part of the Office of Religious Life on campus.

The Lilly Endowment grant will ensure that Hendrix can continue providing the two-week HYI summer program for the next five years. HYI began in 2016 and was launched with initial funding from Lilly Endowment through its national initiative, High School Youth Theology Institutes at Colleges and Universities.

“We are grateful for this generous gift from Lilly Endowment to continue the Hendrix Youth Institute for high school students who are discerning a call to ministry and leadership in the United Methodist Church,” said Hendrix College Chaplain the Rev. J.J. Whitney, who also serves as director of HYI. “With our partners at the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas and the Arkansas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, we will continue to cultivate this culture of call in young adults throughout Arkansas.”

HYI invites rising juniors and seniors in high school to come to the Hendrix College campus to take religious studies classes with Hendrix professors and Arkansas United Methodist clergy, participate in an orientation to ministry with the Arkansas Annual Conference, plan and lead worship, explore their spiritual gifts through guided exercises, and engage in service-learning opportunities. The second week of HYI features a mission trip to a different location within the United States each year, where HYI participants work through local United Methodist congregations to meet needs in their surrounding communities.

“Having the opportunity to participate in the Hendrix Youth Institute for two weeks this summer was one of the most exciting, influential, and reassuring things I’ve ever done,” said Phoebe Sanders, a member of Pulaski Heights UMC in Little Rock and a participant in HYI 2019. “Whether it was allowing myself to be vulnerable within small groups about troubles or doubts with my faith, taking classes in the morning to learn about the historic importance of each aspect of worship, or visiting churches around Arkansas and learning from their purpose and mission, HYI quickly became a place where I was able to confidently explore my faith and discern my call to ministry.”

HYI 2020 will take place from June 14-27, with the first half on the campus of Hendrix College and the second week on a mission trip to Chicago, Illinois. Applications are due by Feb. 1, 2020. Learn more about the Hendrix Youth Institute at

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly 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, the Endowment 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. Although it funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

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