Funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. will help Springtide Research Institute uncover what is engaging Gen Z 

 In Press Release

The multi-year project will pinpoint how faith-based innovations successfully support youth and young adults 

MINNEAPOLIS — On March 20, Springtide Research Institute®, nationally acclaimed for its groundbreaking studies on young people and spirituality, will embark on a three-year project to identify what is engaging Gen Z in America’s new religious and spiritual landscape. Springtide will do so with the help of a $1.25MM Lilly Endowment grant to its parent organization Lasallian Educational and Research Initiatives. 

Across the United States, Springtide is learning of young people who are flourishing, with innovative models of caring at the forefront. Thanks to Lilly Endowment’s generous grant, Springtide will conduct research to understand what, how, and why these models are helping in the care of young people so effectively, and how leaders can bring that to the work they do. 

Each year, Springtide surveys and interviews thousands of 13-to-25-year-olds on topics such as belonging, meaning making, relationships, work, and, most recently, mental health—all while keeping an eye on their spirituality. Springtide hopes its research will help adults caring for young people to care better, including faith leaders, parents, employers, teachers, and more. 

Highlights of the project include:  

  • Convening a diverse group of expert practitioners from notable faith-based groups to share their wisdom and distribute a nationwide survey to faith leaders working with young people 
  • Visiting organizations and spaces around the nation where young people say they are flourishing 
  • Conducting a national survey of 5,000 young people to center their voices in the project 
  • Exploring how project findings can be grounded in theology with help from influential thinkers 
  • Forming a community of practice where faith leaders can draw from project findings to transform how they engage young people 
  • Designing frameworks for national distribution that can be adapted and applied within faith communities 

This project will be a continuation of Springtide’s years-long effort to understand why young people struggle and thrive, particularly in faith-based environments, and will also build on Springtide’s massive data set on young people and spirituality, the largest of its kind in the United States. Project findings will also test the merit of the religious decline narrative in America, which has garnered increased interest among religious demographers in recent years as the number of Americans claiming no religious affiliation rises in national surveys. 

About Lilly Endowment: Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. 

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