Welcome

Welcome to the Coordination Program for the National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders, an initiative of Lilly Endowment Inc. The Coordination Program exists to support, resource, and connect the grantees in this initiative, with the following aims:

Keeping the purpose and goals of the initiative in front of the grantee organizations, particularly project directors, denominational and judicatory leadership, and others;
Encouraging communities of learning and practice within specific grantee organizations that enable them to design, implement, and continually assess and sustain programmatic initiatives that promise to achieve their identified aims;
Nurturing an initiative-wide learning community that will encourage grantee organizations to: (a) learn from one another; (b) engage collaboratively in program design and implementation; and (c) learn from their own work, paying attention to program outcomes and impact;
Providing coaching advice, support, and resources to specific projects, as needed, in order to help grantees make connections to people and resources, and improve the quality of their work;
Gathering and disseminating learning about the collective enterprise to grantee organizations, to other denominations and religious bodies, and to the general public; and
Working with staff of Lilly Endowment and assisting them in overall responsibilities in support of this initiative.

Rick Foss and Elise Erikson Barrett provide leadership for this coordination program.

Rick FossRichard “Rick” Foss, the Coordination Program Director, served as the interim president of Luther Seminary from December 2012 – May 2014. He came to Luther Seminary as director of Contextual Learning in 2008. Previously, he served as bishop for the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a position he held since 1992.

Rick holds degrees from St. Olaf College (BA) and Luther Seminary (MDiv and MTh). Prior to serving as bishop, he served for 21 years as senior pastor in congregations in Minnesota,  Washington, and North Dakota. In 1995 he was named as one of three finalists for presiding bishop of the ELCA.


Elise Erikson Barrett,Elise Erikson Barrett, Coordination Program Manager, is a former ordained United Methodist pastor, now in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and is a writer whose book What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage received Christianity Today magazine’s “Best Book” award in the spiritual living category. A singer/songwriter with two full-length albums (www.elisebarrett.com), she is part of the Sister|Sinjin musical project and a mother of three. Former Communications and Education Manager at Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, Elise holds degrees from Hanover College (BA) and Duke Divinity School (MDiv).