Grants, Scholarships & Loans
Grants for Clergy
Course of Study
Clergy licensed and under appointment within the NC Conference are required to complete the Basic Course of Study (COS) program.
Here is some information to guide you in learning more about the educational resources, where to apply, and how the Conference assists with the costs of the registration.
Ministerial Education Fund
Ministerial Education Funds are an apportioned fund managed by the Office of Ministerial Relations. Of the portion retained by the NC Conference, certified candidates are eligible for scholarship funds – both for the final two years of undergraduate study as well as for basic theological degrees (Masters of Divinity, Masters of Arts in Christian Practice). Funding is not available for an MTS, ThM., DMin, or other degrees.
Continuing Education funds are for clergy currently under appointment. Applicants must be a member of the North Carolina Annual Conference.
Opportunities include Clinical Pastoral Education, Holy Land trips, and more.
The Clergy Care Committee provides financial assistance to clergy families of the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church who seek confidential counseling and therapy. Clergy Care funds are NOT to be used for career enhancement, but are limited to personal growth and well-being. Clergy Care is financial assistance, $400 a year per family, for clergy.
Ordained clergy within the NC Conference may apply for a matching grant to assist with the reduction of seminary debt. Upon confirmation of payments to one’s lender for seminary debt ONLY, the Office of Ministerial Relations will send a check up to the grant award directly to the same lender. Clergy must be Members in Full Connection.
Grants for Churches
Congregational Development Fund (CDF)
The Congregational Development Fund, Inc., was incorporated in 2000 with the stated purpose of receiving and investing property and funds, and then using those funds “… for charitable, educational, and religious purposes which are related to local church development, including new church extension.” Funds are available in the form of grants for a wide variety of needs to promote and enable local church development. A consultation with the District Superintendent is required.
Key Taylor Award
The Key Taylor Award is gifted annually and comes from The Rural Church Endowment. The award, sponsored through the United Methodist Foundation, is to call attention to the mission work of all rural churches by honoring the specific achievements of one rural church. Applications are typically posted online in the Spring and awarded in the Summer. Requirements are as follows:
- The church is in a community of less than 1,500 people, or RUCA eligible.
- The church has 250 members or less.
- The church is significantly involved in community mission.
- The church shows faithfulness in its stewardship of the mission and service commitments (apportionments) and supports Advance Specials.
- The church displays commitment towards growth in ministry and perseverance toward accomplishing their vision of ministry.
New Faith Communities Seed Funds
The office of New Faith Communities provides $7,500 in seed funds to new North Carolina United Methodist church planters who are working with their office to create a new ministry. These funds are only available to church planters currently appointed within the North Carolina Conference. Contact New Faith Communities to learn more.
Good Kile College Scholarship
Graduating high school seniors and currently enrolled college students can apply for the Good Kile College Scholarship. Priority will be given to applications who aspire to careers in the field of engineering or basic science.
Grants for Outreach
Mission Seed Funds
Mission Seed Funds are designed to facilitate and encourage United Methodist congregations of the NC Conference to engage in new ministry with people in their local communities who would not usually participate in the life of the church. Priority is given to new ministry initiatives that meet at least one of the five areas of emphasis of the NCCUMC: Healthy Congregations, Congregations for Children (C4C), Unity, Anti-racism, and Effective Leaders.
Board of Mission
The Board of Mission, Inc. is primarily a low-interest lending organization. Loan applications are considered on a cash available basis. As funds are repaid, new loans are originated. At a given point in time, funds may or may not be available to make new loans. Loans are also considered on a missional basis. Churches receiving missional priority are those in low-income neighborhoods and those needing more space to engage in cross-cultural and cross-racial programs. Some matching grant funding is available to churches needing repairs or replacement of vital building components. These grants are only approved after consultation with our contractor.
The Gary Wayne Locklear Mission Endowment
The mission of The Gary Wayne Locklear Mission Endowment is
to provide resources as we partner with others for new mission with people in the geographical area of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. The mission focus will be on emerging needs related to 1) health, wellness, and abundant life, 2) economic resources for fullness of life, 3) education, 4) spiritual vitality found in Jesus Christ. Funds will be invested in mission as directed by the North Carolina Conference Mission Endowment Team or its successors and in collaboration with the Conference Connectional Table executive team.
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM)
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) exists to promote, encourage and enable Christians to exemplify “Christian Love In Action.” Our aim is to achieve the Great Commission by providing short-term mission opportunities, both nationally and internationally for everyday Christians. Missional Exchange Grants are intended to encourage UMVIM initiatives by various groups. Team leader training by the Conference UMVIM Committee is required to qualify for this grant. NCC UMVIM also offers scholarships to individuals from several different funds created over the years.
Youth Service Fund
Youth Service Fund (YSF) grants are made by the YSF Committee of the Conference Council on Youth Ministries at their January meeting. Applications are available online with more information and specific due dates.
Golden Cross is a ministry that reaches out in love to the laity in our Annual Conference who are experiencing financial difficulty due to excessive medical expenses. Recipients must be active United Methodist members and be recommended for assistance by their pastor. For any questions or more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Who is Loved
United Methodist Foundation is trustee of a special endowment called the “One Who Is Loved Fund.” This permanent endowment makes possible, love gifts to benefit children under the age of 18 who have special needs such as specialized medical equipment or supplies/medicine, transportation to hospitals or treatment centers, or other special needs. Pastors of the NC Conference are encouraged to recommend children for the fund.
Grants for Race Equity and Justice
Comprehensive Plan of Inclusiveness (CPI)
The project must relate to the Comprehensive Plan of Inclusiveness (CPI) and must be developed by one or more United Methodist local church(es) with priority given to ethnic churches. The project must address one or more chronic social problems or concerns that impact United Methodist ethnic local churches or ethnic persons. Priority is given to new and pilot projects.
CORR Action Fund
The CORR Action Fund (CAF) grant program is established by the General Conference of The UMC for the empowerment of diversity, inclusion, and racial justice work within and outside the Church.
Strengthening the Black Church
Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century is a program designed to assist United Methodist churches with predominantly black congregations to become effective in mission and ministry. It does this by linking successful congregational resource centers with congregations that are in search of new ideas and revitalization.
The NC Annual Conference offers funding to enable Pilgrimage participation by Hispanic/Latino youth.
Peace with Justice
Grant must address one or more of four objectives. Applications may be submitted throughout the year. Funding decisions are made through the Peace with Justice Committee of the NCC Board of Church and Society at the Board’s regular meetings.
Restorative Justice & Mercy Ministries
The Committee on Restorative Justice and Mercy Ministries of the North Carolina Conference is committed to providing services and opportunities for United Methodists in the North Carolina Conference to achieve and maintain an understanding of prison ministry and the importance of prison reform based on Christian principles. The Committee seeks to relate in a Christian manner to the individual offender and his/her family and to victims and their families.
Refugee & Immigration
The Refugee & Immigration Committee is streamlining the process for individuals and organizations who wish to apply for funding. Churches can now complete one of three short Google forms to request monetary assistance to assist refugees and immigrants.
External Grants, Scholarships & Loans
These funding opportunities are given by organizations outside of the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. Contact these organizations directly for application dates and more information.
Funding Opportunities from General Agencies
of The United Methodist Church
SEJ Renfro Trust Fund
The Renfro Trust Fund awards annual bricks-and-mortar grants to small rural United Methodist congregations in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. The income from the Fund is to be used for the purpose of establishing and supporting United Methodist churches in rural areas of the United States within the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. The term “rural areas” shall be interpreted to mean towns of less than 10,000, villages, and open country. Situations described as unusual and challenging and for which insufficient funds are available from other local sources shall be considered eligible for grants from the Renfro Trust Fund. Contact Rev. Bill Haddock for more information about the application process.
Intentional Growth Center
The Intentional Growth Center is an agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. The IGC seeks to fund educational events or programs that increase pastoral and congregational effectiveness in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
United Methodist Communications
United Methodist Communications offers marketing services and promotional grants to United Methodist congregations active in their communities and need support and guidance in reaching new people in new ways.
General Board of Church & Society
The General Board of Church and Society awards grants to United Methodist congregations and groups related to The United Methodist Church through the Ethnic Local Church, Human Relations Day, and Peace with Justice programs.
Farmer Fund Grant
Distressed clergy members or former clergy members of an annual conference; their spouses, former spouses, former surviving spouses; or surviving dependent children (including adult dependent children) are eligible to apply for a grant from Wespath. The applicant is required to attach additional documentation pertaining to any unusual medical, legal, or other expenses which have created this one-time emergency situation. The maximum grant amount available from the Program is $3,000 per each individual approved application. Applications should be returned to email@example.com.
Young People’s Ministries
The “Global Youth Service Fund” and the “Grants for Ministries with Young People” programs invite innovative submissions for ministries with young people. The Global Youth Service Fund (YSF) is a unique grant program within the UMC, because all aspects involve youth. Youth create fundraisers and contribute money, youth decide what projects receive money, and all of the projects supported must be youth-designed, led by youth, and benefit young people. Young People’s Ministries offers these grants through our program budget because we believe that dynamic, creative individuals and groups sometimes need resources to help a ministry become reality. These grants are meant to support creative and innovative approaches to ministry for, with, and by young people.
General Board of Higher Education and Ministry
The GBHEM scholarship application opens in January of each year. You can only submit one application per year where it will be screened for all possible eligible programs. Scholarship programs are divided into three categories: General Scholarships, Racial-Ethnic Scholarships, and Ministry as a Career Scholarships.
United Methodist Higher Education Foundation scholarships help make it financially possible for qualifying students to obtain higher education, especially those attending United Methodist-related institutions. In rare cases, awards are also given to students attending other schools.
General Commission on Archives and History
The General Commission on Archives and History calls for students and researchers to apply for grants and awards offered in a number of fields of study, including United Methodist history, particulary as it relates to women and ethnic groups, and archival science. Ten grants and/or awards are available for qualifying undergraduates or graduate-level students, as well as researchers of all kinds. GCAH also funds the Josephine Forman scholarship each year to provide financial support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science, to encourage students to pursue a career as an archivist, and to promote the diversification of the American archives profession.
The Foundation for Evangelism
The Foundation for Evangelism Equipping the Local Church grant initiative seeks to empower pastors, laity, and smaller local congregations to dream, take risks, and partner with God in the transformation of lives and communities. Grants for $5,000 or $10,000 will be awarded to small and medium church congregations, or clusters of churches working together, in a Wesleyan-tradition denomination. The grant focus is to launch an experiment or initiative to share the Gospel, tell their faith stories, and invite others into a relationship with Jesus.
Racial Ethnic Local Church Grants
The purpose of the Discipleship Ministries Racial Ethnic Local Church Grants (RELCC) is to provide funding to strengthen the ethnic local church through leadership training, small groups, worship, stewardship, and spiritual formation as they engage in developing disciple-making systems inside the church walls as well as in the community. Priority is given to new programs/ministries that move churches to places where disciples are formed, grow, and make new disciples of Jesus Christ who will transform the world.
Multiethnic Ministries Grants
The Multiethnic Ministries program supports multiethnic and racial-ethnic congregations as they reach out in mission and ministry in their local communities. A variety of partners and people make up the General Board of Global Ministries’ multiethnic networks. Grants from different sources make possible the support and growth of ministries that communities might not otherwise have an opportunity to develop.
United Methodist Committee on Relief
UMCOR offers grants for Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation, Relief, Recovery, and Migration. UMCOR’s core values of equality and justice, respect with dignity, and good stewardship are reflected in UMCOR’s grant-making priorities.
United Methodist Voluntary Service
The General Board of Global Ministries will offer Community Engagement Grants to congregations and annual conferences through the United Methodist Voluntary Service (UMVS) program. The United Methodist Voluntary Service (UMVS) serves as a resource to volunteer-based groups and programs that challenge unjust political, social, and economic systems which threaten the livelihoods of people of low socioeconomic status, as well as racial/ethnic communities.
Community Engagement Grants can be used for short-term (less than 1 year) community-based outreach programs and events. The UMVS provides financial resources of up to $15,000 per congregation, annual conference, or mission partner. Applicants must provide a financial contribution of at least 10% of the requested amount.
Other Programs for
Religious Professionals & Organizations
The Duke Endowment
Grants may be available from The Duke Endowment to select 501(c)(3) organizations in North Carolina and South Carolina in the following areas: Child & Family Well-Being, Health Care, Higher Education, and. Rural Church.
Reflective Leadership Grants
The Reflective Leadership Grant from Duke Divinity supports an opportunity for structured reflection for lay or clergy leaders of Christian organizations that are advancing their mission following the multiple pandemics — COVID-19, racial inequity, economic disruption, and mental distress — that emerged and/or intensified throughout the past few years.
UMF Clergy Loans
The Clergy Loan Program was created out of the desire to help clergy and their families to escape paralyzing debt that can have a negative effect not only on the individual and family but also on relationships within the church family. Our hope is that through participation in this program clergy will find new and healthy opportunities to be stewards of the financial blessings God has provided.
Reynolds Ministry Fund
Have a great idea to engage your community? A Reynolds grant can help. The Reynolds Ministry Fund supports projects that carry God’s message of hope beyond the church walls. If your church or organization has an idea to engage the community – but isn’t sure how to pay for it – a Reynolds grant can help. Every penny is distributed in the hope that new disciples will be made. The Reynolds Ministry Fund is an offering of the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina.
The Shepherd’s Fund
A retired pastor and their spouse can qualify for a one-time grant of up to $10,000 each or $20,000 total. They may reapply in subsequent years, especially if they have a chronic ongoing medical condition. Grants may also be given to pastors on medical leave and their spouses, or widows of pastors. Grants may also be given to retired pastors or pastors on medical leave that are legal custodians for their adult children that may have a medical issue from childhood. Grants may also be given to retired pastors or pastors on medical leave that are legal custodians for their grandchildren that may have a medical crisis or issue, regardless of age.
Partners in Health & Wholeness
We are excited to partner with congregations across the state to engage our faith communities and their larger communities in living happier, healthier, more abundant lives. We have proudly done this for years through our PHW Collaborative Pledge and PHW Mini-Grant program. Congregations identifying as United Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal are eligible for a mini-grant of up to $3,000 in any PHW Focus Area.
Resourceful Communities’ small-grant program, the Creating New Economies Fund (CNEF), provides direct investment in community-based efforts. Seed money supports a range of projects: eco- and heritage tourism, youth conservation programs, farmers’ markets, alternative energy production, and more. A portion of CNEF funds are available to help rural United Methodist Churches (UMCs) strengthen food ministries. All UMCs are encouraged to contact Faith and Food Coordinator Aaron Hayworth (firstname.lastname@example.org), Matthew Rouse (email@example.com), or Dave Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss potential projects. You can also email email@example.com with questions.
NC Rural Center
Our vision is to build socially dynamic and economically vibrant rural faith communities across every town and crossroads in North Carolina. Connect increases community engagement through coaching, resources, and grant assistance. Participating churches create a team of 6-8 church members who are ready to lead their church’s local missional engagement. These teams meet monthly with a Rural Center coach. The program assists the church in determining their resources, understanding the trends and opportunities in the larger community, and developing a strategic plan for increasing their impact outside the walls of the church.
RAFI Come to the Table
United Methodist churches in rural North Carolina can apply to receive funding to purchase food from a local farmer of color. Churches must use these funds to purchase food from a designated farmer of color to distribute to food-insecure community members. Because of RAFI-USA’s long-standing relationships with farmers, farmers markets, and faith communities throughout North Carolina, Come to the Table is uniquely situated to connect these groups in mutually beneficial relationships.
Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal
Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs are administered by the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary. Through its religion grantmaking, Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation, seeks to deepen and enrich the lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. To this end, National Clergy Renewal Programs provide an opportunity for pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and engage in a period of renewal and reflection. Renewal periods are not vacations but times for intentional exploration and reflection, for drinking again from God’s life-giving waters, for regaining enthusiasm and creativity for ministry.
Communities of Practice
The Catawba Clergy Network is excited to offer area ministers financial resources and opportunities for personal and professional growth through its “Thriving in Ministry” initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment. By joining a Clergy Community of Practice, you can gain invaluable peer learning and support, as well as get grant funding to help you and your churches thrive.
To apply for any of the grants above, choose “Learn More” below the grant description for further instructions.