Press release: Announcing Lab funding from Henry Luce Foundation

Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University receives $750,000 from Henry Luce Foundation

Luce logo for chaplains site

BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, Waltham, Mass.: The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab received two grants totaling $750,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation in the second half of 2020 to continue building and supporting resilience in chaplains and other spiritual care providers across the country.

As they respond to the double pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, chaplains are called on now more than ever to address some of the most pressing and deeply felt needs of communities. Growing coverage of chaplains in the media has brought this crucial profession into the national conversation at a time spiritual care is most needed.

“We’ve seen chaplains accompany COVID patients in their last moments when loved ones could not be present. The year 2020 inflicted deep wounds on many in our communities and chaplains were there offering support,” said Wendy Cadge, the project’s principal investigator and Senior Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives at Brandeis University. “We’ve also seen chaplains working ‘both sides of the line,’ with protestors and with law enforcement, during the movement to secure racial equity in the United States.” This project will further chaplains’ growing work and visibility during these times.

With the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab awarded16 micro-grants totaling over $440,000 to institutions across the country to extend the work of chaplains at this important time. The grants have assisted chaplains on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic at facilities like the Hampton VA Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, ProMedica Health System, Pine Rest Mental Health Services, Keene State College, and New York Presbyterian Medical Center.

Projects financed by these grants include focusing on the challenges facing healthcare environmental service staff; leadership in healthcare systems; the need for restorative practices for faculty and staff in higher education; support for medical language interpreters as they work with patients, families, and healthcare teams; and more.

Funds from the Henry Luce Foundation are also providing free virtual support groups for chaplains that the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab offers in partnership with the Albert and Jesse Danielsen Institute at Boston University. The support groups have served 100 chaplains to-date and will continue through December 2021. “We’re excited to partner with the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab and we’re humbled by what we’re learning in these groups. Chaplains are supporting so many people in so many situations, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to support those chaplains in turn,” said George Stavros, Executive Director of the Danielsen Institute.

The Lab continues to offer free webinars on a range of topics with additional funding expanding the range to include restorative sessions titled Music for the Soul.