College secures $500k Lilly grant for Global Institute

By Hattie Stahl

Macalester has decided to house a $500,000 matching grant from the Lilly Endowment under the forthcoming Institute for Global Citizenship.

The grant, which Chaplain Lucy Forster-Smith and Associate Dean of the Institute Karin Trail-Johnson will co-administer beginning June 1. The college will be required to raise $500,000 to create a total $1 million grant.

The Lilly Endowment, according to its web site, exists to promote religion, education, and community development. The grant is designed to bring a basis for theological exploration of vocation, and will bring extensive funds and a network of existing programming to the Institute.

The Institute’s goals include the education of global citizens for lives of commitment and ethical citizenship, living and participating in their communities, Trail-Johnson said.

“The views of Lilly and the Institute are incredibly meshed,” she said. “They both strive to ensure habits of the heart and social conscience.”

In Dec. 2000, Macalester was one of 88 colleges to receive a $1.8 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Forster-Smith said. Colleges were given money to provide means for students to explore how to apply their values and commitments to their work in the world. This was part of an initiative on the part of the Lilly Endowment called Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation.

The college spent the grant money to fund programming, including seminary visits, summer internships, and the first-year Lives of Commitment program.

According to Trail-Johnson, the five main programs funded by the initial Lilly grant, received in Dec. 2000, will continue, although some aspects will change slightly. The programs include summer research funds and faculty course development initiatives.

Last June, the Lilly Endowment approached Macalester, offering the college the option of applying for what the Endowment termed bridge money. The offer was turned down, Forster-Smith said, because Macalester was not in the position to find a home for the project.

But then Lilly approached Macalester again last fall.

“It made a lot of sense institutionally then to house the grant within the Institute,” Forster-Smith said.

Many programs funded by the initial Lilly Endowment grant money lay dormant for six months, Forster-Smith said. Now, Forster-Smith and Trail-Johnson are planning to charge ahead with programs.

The $500,000 grant from Lilly allows the college about three years to raise the necessary matching funds, some of which have already been raised, Forster-Smith said. The goal is to raise endowment money to indefinitely sustain programs funded by the grant.

“Lilly got really excited about housing the grant within the Institute,” Forster-Smith said. Lilly is one entity under the umbrella of the Institute, but it will remain connected to the chapel, Forster-Smith said, referring to the grant’s traditional arrangement.

“The religious component to Lilly provides room for people to bring all their values to the table,” Trail-Johnson said.

Ahmed Samatar, Dean of the Institute, has not been a part of the grant process. According to Samatar, Provost Diane Michelfelder suggested the grant be housed within the Institute.

“If the Lilly foundation believes in our values of academic performance and civic life for our students and college, then this grant is very agreeable for both us and the foundation,” Samatar said.