Vital Leaders endowment grants

Applications for the 2023 Vital Leaders Endowment grants

are now available! 

Please read this PDF document first with information about the grants, how to determine eligibility, and details on submitting an application.

Student Loan Debt Reduction Grant - If you made payments to student loans in 2023 and have been actively serving in the EaND Synod, you may be eligible to apply (read more in the PDF above).


Pension Equity Grant - If you made less than $60,000 in 2023, you may be eligible for this grant (read more in the PDF above).


If you determine that you are eligible to apply, you can download the applications below: 

If you have questions after reading all the attachments, you can reach out to Pastor Jon Olson, Vital Leaders Endowment Coordinator,

vital leaders endowment fund

The Synod Endowment Fund for Vital Leaders was established in 2000 by the Eastern North Dakota Synod Council to sustain rural ministry and enhance quality pastoral leadership.  The fund is intended to maintain viable ministries and sustain congregations in rural eastern ND for years to come.

Grants are available through the ministry of the Eastern North Dakota Synod Endowment Fund. The purpose of this fund is to recruit and retain strong pastoral leadership in Eastern North Dakota. These grants are a way for the synod to provide care for Rostered Ministers in our synod who faithfully contribute to the work we do together as a synod.

To maintain a healthy culture in Eastern North Dakota Synod, it is expected that Rostered Ministers faithfully participate in synod assembly, fall theological conference, and complete boundaries training every three years. Grants may be denied to leaders who've not met this expectation

Debt Repayment Grant

This grant was established to help relieve rostered ministers of student loan debt.  The grant amount is a percentage of what is paid by the rostered minister over the course of the year.  The percentage paid by the endowment fund increases with each year of service in Eastern ND, up to 6 years.

Pension Equity Grant

A grand to assist those who may be compensated under synod guidelines to ensure that their pension is not compromised as a result of accepting a call under guidelines.  

Grant applications are accepted each year, Jan-April 30th

The last Sunday of every September is designated as Synod Endowment Sunday - encourage your church to take a special offering!

If you would like to support this ministry, please send your check (payable to EaND Synod Endowment Fund) to

Eastern ND Synod

PO Box 2019

Fargo, ND 58107

Any questions can be directed to

Endowment fund for leaders gives away over $2M!

Since it's inception in 2000, the Eastern North Dakota Synod's Endowment Fund for Vital Leaders has given away over $2M to deserving leaders in our synod!  This fund was started under the leadership of Bishop Rick Foss as a way to support and retain pastors in this synod.  Here from some of the grateful recipients below.



holy innovations endowment fund

In our ever-changing world, it is critical the congregations of Eastern North Dakota Synod are challenged to think creatively about how to share God’s love and grace in the 21st century.

The synod exists to strengthen partnerships, recruit and develop leaders, and equip congregations to do God’s work in the midst of a changing church and society.

To encourage ministry vitality and inspire congregations and ministries to think boldly

and innovatively about ways to bring God’s altar into God’s world, we’d like to establish

an endowment fund to support “Holy Innovations.”

This endowment will provide match dollars for innovative ministry initiatives which live out

the synod’s mission statement “Jesus Christ calls us to live in love as we serve, equip and challenge God’s people.”

Congregations/Ministries will be invited to submit grant applications annually.

There will be three tiers of grant categories available:

  • Serve Grant - matching dollars up to $5,000
  • Equip Grant - matching dollars from $3,000 - $15,000
  • Challenge Grant - matching dollars of $15,000 or more

Each grant tier will have accountability parameters to ensure dollars are being faithfully invested:

  • Equip Grants - Congregations receiving Equip grants will be asked to participate in Vitals Signs - a 2 year journey toward defining your congregations strategy for growing in life-giving relationships with God, each other and the world.  
  • Challenge Grants - Congregations receiving Challenge grants will be asked to participate in "Vital Signs" as well as have their rostered minister(s) participate in the synod's soon to be created leadership academy.  

Because we believe leadership and congregational vitality go hand in hand, two programs will

emerge out of this endowment to compliment and support congregations:


A facilitated process bringing together cohorts of Congregational Teams to grow vitality:

life-giving relationships with God, each other, and the world. They will be supported

by coaching and discovery will be shared as we build a Synod-wide learning community.


An intensive year-long academy bringing together a cohort of rostered ministers to grow

in the core competencies of preaching, teaching and serving.


holy innovation grant RECIPIENTS

  • Pontoppidan Lutheran – Fargo
  • Atonement Lutheran – Jamestown
  • Richland/Our Savior’s Parish – Walcott
  • St. Mark’s – Fargo
  • Grace Lutheran – Oakes
  • Beloved Art and Practice
  • Golden Ridge Lutheran Ministry & Peace Lutheran – Fargo
  • St. John Lutheran – Fargo
  • Calvary Lutheran – Grand Forks
  • Emmanuel Lutheran – Gackle
  • Gustaf Adolf Lutheran – Gwinner
  • Augustana Lutheran – Grand Forks
  • Our Saviors – Park River

Many bold and creative ideas were submitted with 13 congregations/ministries receiving grants from the first round of the Holy Innovations Endowment!  Grants from $500 - $5000 were rewarded for a total of $25,580!  We look forward to hearing and seeing the fruits of these dollars at work in these congregations!