Lilly announces $4.9 million religion journalism initiative

The Lilly Endowment announced one of the largest religion journalism grants in decades, the long-anticipated Global Religion Journalism Initiative.

The $4.9 million package will go to the Religion News Foundation for an 18-month startup phase. The collaborative will involve the Associated Press, Religion News Service and The Conversation US.

Lilly reported “The initiative will establish a coordinated strategy for reporting on religion and increase significantly the number and reach of high-quality stories about religious faith and practice and the impact of religion in the United States and around the globe.”
The grant is to support:



  • A collaborative religion desk at the AP

  • More reporters dedicated to religion

  • Enhanced capacities to produce and distribute video through digital and social media

  • A new weekly news series focused on religion and faith

  • A Web-based news channel focused on religion

  • Enhancement of the AP and RNS for distributing religious content

The three news organizations are to test strategies for revenue streams needed to make these efforts self-sustaining.

— Joe Grimm

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