Holston Foundation grants $150,000 to campus ministries

Holston Foundation grants $150,000 to campus ministries

From the Holston Foundation

The Holston Foundation announces grants totaling $150,000 to support leadership development for college students. The Holston Conference’s five Wesley Foundations will receive $100,000 (divided equally among the programs) for leadership, discipleship, and fellowship.

Emory & Henry College will receive a $50,000 grant to create the new Leadership Emory & Henry program.

"The Holston Foundation wants to not only inspire generosity but also practice it. We want to be good stewards of our funds, and there is no better stewardship than investing in young people. These gifts will support students during a critical time both in their lives and in the life of the Church,” Paul Bowman, Holston Foundation president, said.


Wesley Foundations

The grant from the Holston Foundation will support the Holston Conference’s Wesley Foundations: East Tennessee State University, Radford University, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Wesley Foundations serve as the presence of The United Methodist Church on-site at state universities within the Holston Conference.
For decades, countless Holston clergy and laity have been impacted by the ministry of Holston's Wesley Foundations. Many United Methodists have answered a call to both professional ministry and lay leadership in our churches. Individual lives and faith communities are stronger today as a result of the influence of the Wesley Foundations' students and alumni.
The grant will be used by the Wesley Foundations to support: leadership, discipleship, and fellowship of students through providing opportunities for them to participate in enhanced special programs, small groups, retreats, outreach programs, and more. Holston’s five Wesley Foundations have ministries unique to each campus but are united in their goal to provide a vital ministry for students as they seek to find their places in the world.  
“We nurture communities, which encourage participants to explore the difficult questions that arise as they navigate the unfamiliar waters of transitioning into adulthood. Wesley Foundations will also provide leadership training within the context of their faith, through their relationships with God and people, and amidst their discernment of God's call to be witnesses to their faith. The Wesley Foundation Directors are grateful for the generous support of the Holston Foundation, which provides us with significant financial resources to strengthen our collective ministry across the Holston Conference,” Rev. Mary Kay Briggs, director of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said.


Emory & Henry

Emory & Henry College has Methodist roots dating back to its founding in 1836. The Holston Foundation is proud to support a new program at the College, Leadership Emory & Henry, which will invite senior high school and Emory & Henry students, faculty, and staff to strengthen and develop leadership skills focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, civic engagement, and social justice. The program will focus on the leadership development of students to serve as leaders and advocates at the College, in the surrounding community, including churches, and ultimately, throughout the world. Leadership Emory & Henry is sponsored by the President's Office and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI).
“The Holston Foundation’s generous support of Leadership Emory & Henry provides an opportunity to create a collaborative partnership between the Foundation, the Church, community, and Emory & Henry. It allows us to increase opportunities to expand leadership in Southwest Virginia and beyond. The program fosters a positive environment where everyone has the 'opportunity to flourish,'” Rev. Sharon Bowers, associate chaplain and special advisor to president John Wells for DEI initiatives at Emory & Henry College, said.
Leadership Emory & Henry participants will develop skills and approaches needed to bring about social change and policy advancement. Participants in the new year-long Leadership Emory & Henry program will be chosen from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including racial diversity and first-generation college students. Students will work together to foster structural transformation, facilitate intentional dialogue across diverse populations and differences to create greater knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion.
"We are excited about the prospects for Leadership Emory & Henry. The College has a long commitment to training leaders, and in today's world, we know that making certain that tomorrow's leaders have the cultural competence to lead with integrity and inclusion is all the more important. By providing instruction and immersive experiences in diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are preparing community leaders who can truly be agents of change and justice in their respective communities. This exciting opportunity has great potential to be a transformative program,” John Wells, Emory & Henry College president, said.
In previous years, the Holston Foundation has given significant grants to Holston’s Camp and Retreat Ministries ($150,000), Tennessee Wesleyan University to support its acquisition of the dental hygiene program from Hiwassee College ($100,000) and Holston’s ministry with the people of South Sudan ($75,000).