As the son of a Methodist minister, Arthur Vining Davis held a deep respect and appreciation for the traditions that provide meaning and hope for many. Mr. Davis could see then what is equally true today: most Americans draw on religious convictions in ways that motivate their thoughts and action and inspire them to love and serve their fellow citizens.
As one of the most religiously diverse nations in human history, the United States faces the challenge of nurturing an increasingly religiously pluralistic society while also moderating religious tension. Achieving these twin goals requires Americans to embrace a deeper understanding and appreciation for religious traditions other than their own, and to cultivate opportunities for collaborations and friendships across religious divides.
Interfaith Leadership and Religious Literacy grants typically range from $100,000-$300,000, although the Foundations will entertain larger requests.
Faith-based campuses provide students with an opportunity to explore various fields of study through the lens of their faith tradition. Students emerging from these institutions often go on to key leadership roles within their communities.
Grants in this focus area seek to support increased religious literacy and interfaith engagement at these campuses with the aim of producing future leaders who are knowledgeable and empathetic and who actively seek interfaith partnerships.
Featured Grant: Elevating Interfaith Cooperation Across the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities Network
The Christian Leadership in a Multifaith World Curriculum explores the Christian foundation for interfaith engagement, builds students’ religious literacy and gives students the tools to lead bridge-building activities in their communities. For more information about this featured grant, please click here. To learn more, click here.
While colleges and universities host a variety of interfaith activities, students who are deeply involved in faith-based campus groups tend to be less involved in such activities.
Grants in this focus area seek to create opportunities for religious student groups and the leaders of those groups to actively engage with students and leaders from different religious traditions. Such projects should seek to enhance student religious literacy and foster dialogue and collaboration across religious differences.
In 2019 the Pew Research Center conducted a study looking at the causes of religious polarization. The study found that those who have personal contact with individuals from a specific religious group also had higher positive sentiment towards that religious group. As a result, one way to mitigate polarization and to increase prosocial relations across religious divides, is simply to provide ways for individuals from different faith communities to get to know each other. With funding form AVDF, Hillel International, the largest pluralistic Jewish campus organization in the world, aims to foster just this sort of interfaith engagement by bringing students from different faith communities together on campuses.
To learn more, click HERE.
Many campuses support programs that foster opportunities for moderated, face-to-face interaction between students from different identity groups, with the goal of increasing understanding and collaboration.
Grants supported in this focus area can support curricular and extra-curricular programs of this sort either between students from different religious communities, or between religious students and students with no religious affiliation.