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Flagler College's Missing Voices Project awarded $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Jul 27, 2023

Flagler College is honored to receive a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support The Missing Voices Project. This grant ensures the continuation of its vital work in giving support and voice to young people in faith-based communities who typically find themselves marginalized by society and the church.

The grant follows a $1 million Lilly Endowment grant to help Flagler College’s Youth Ministry Program launch The Missing Voices Project 

“Ultimately, the goal of The Missing Voices Project 2.0 is to reach across the broad congregational landscape with creative resources and tools to enable congregations to love and serve historically marginalized young people on their journey of faith formation, listening and learning from their voices which have been missing from the larger narrative in faith circles,” said Associate Director of The Missing Voices Project, Mary Scine.

Mary Scine
Mary Scine

The project is an integral part of the Youth Ministry Program at Flagler College, a program within the Humanities Department where students are able to earn an academic minor. In addition to course material, the program focuses on empowering young people through open dialogue, faith-based mentorship, and fostering opportunities for community engagement.  

The additional funding from Lilly Endowment will enable The Missing Voices Project to expand its reach through 2025 and deepen its impact on young people by:  

  • Dramatically extending the project’s congregational reach
  • Amplifying the missions and impact of ongoing initiatives among cohort churches 
  • Creating frameworks for churches beyond this cohort to implement similar initiatives
  • Developing practical resources and tools for churches to better support youth on the margins

During its first two years, The Missing Voices Project created a cohort of twelve congregations throughout Florida, providing each church a seed grant of $10,000 and guiding these churches in launching their respective youth ministry initiatives. As a result, the project has already helped foster multiple on-the-ground community initiatives.


“By focusing on the experiences of young people from four historically marginalized social locations--youth with intellectual differences, youth from the LGTBQIA+ community, youth in the foster care system, and young people forming friendships across racial divides --our goal is to inform and influence the broader approach to youth ministry,” Scine said.  

The Missing Voices Project team worked alongside Southside United Methodist Church in Jacksonville to pioneer Happy Brew Café - a coffee shop that employs and supports young people with intellectual and developmental differences. While currently selling coffee beans and supplemental items, the full-service shop will open to the public in the Fall of 2023.  

Young Life Sojourners in and around Deland, Florida, is another ongoing initiative The Missing Voices Project supports. This initiative is focused on supporting and offering faith-based mentorship to youth in Volusia County’s foster care system, specifically those in group homes.   

Justin Forbes, Director of The Missing Voices Project, expressed gratitude for the continued support from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to sustain ongoing initiatives like these and launch new ones.  

Justin Forbes
Justin Forbes

"This generous funding will allow us to expand our reach, deepen our impact and foster a greater connection between young people and faith-based communities," Forbes said. "We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for recognizing the importance of our mission and investing in the future of youth ministry."   

As The Missing Voices Project continues its transformative work, the program remains steadfast in its commitment to listening to young people from the margins to learn about youth ministry in ways that will challenge and transform us all. 



About the Eli Lilly Endowment Inc.  

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion. 

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