Twenty-five years ago, at the 1997 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, leaders of our church presented a case for establishing what we now know as the ELCA Fund for Leaders and challenged the church to make a robust commitment to theological education for its future leaders. In 2000 the Fund for Leaders awarded its first eight scholarships. Now, the Fund for Leaders supports over 300 candidates for ministry with over $3.2 million in scholarships. Including synodical scholarship recipients, the Fund for Leaders network of alums has grown to over a thousand!
We will celebrate the Fund for Leaders all year with new stories from alums, new resources and the first in-person scholarship award banquet since 2019. We will also continue to grow the Fund for Leaders. The fund is providing $1 million more in scholarship support annually than it was five years ago. With your help, we hope to increase our annual awards by another $1 million in the next five years. That will allow us to give 50 full-tuition scholarships to promising leaders every year.
Together, we are working toward our ultimate goal: a future in which every ELCA seminary candidate can graduate without the burden of financial debt.