YDS Home>Notes>Campaign

Capital Campaign Enters Final Year:  Five Essential Projects To Complete

With $31 million raised toward a goal of $38 million, the Divinity Tomorrow capital campaign has begun its fifth and final year aimed at embarking on five key projects.

Graph “The campaign has already helped us make great strides toward providing higher levels of financial aid for students,” said Dean Harold W. Attridge.  “Though this will remain a continuing need for years to come, as a result of gifts already received scholarship aid for students as a percentage of tuition revenue has increased from 57% to 82%. The final year of the campaign will focus on five special areas of need that will benefit students.”

Divinity Tomorrow is a coordinated campaign of Yale Divinity School along with it Episcopal Church affiliate, Berkeley Divinity School.  It is part of Yale Tomorrow with all gifts to the Divinity School counted toward the university-wide capital campaign.

The five areas highlighted for special support are:  

  • Joint degree program in Religion and Environmental Stewardship
  • Educational Leadership and Ministry program (ELM)
  • Global Education and Partnerships
  • Roman Catholic Student Scholarships
  • Experiential Learning programs

These five foci represent areas of growth and priorities for expanding educational capacities.

Joint degree program in Religion and Environmental stewardship

Yale Divinity School has been in the forefront of the burgeoning religion/ecology synthesis—demonstrated most vividly with creation of the nation’s first joint Master’s degree program in religion and the environment (with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies).  A number of alumni, some with established reputations nationally, are engaged at the intersection of these two areas of inquiry, as are a solid group of current students.

While YDS has developed a solid foundation and growing reputation in the field, it now has an extraordinary and unique opportunity to provide further leadership in this arena.  Several distinct options exist for helping bring this vision to fruition:  An endowed chair in religion and environmental stewardship; scholarships for students in the joint YDS/FES degree program; a research fund focused on collaboration between YDS and FES; a lecture/colloquia series on religion and ecology.

Educational Leadership and Ministry Program
In 2008,  Berkeley Divinity School began the process of creating a program for the entire Yale Divinity community that would help prepare students for vocations in educational ministry. Three years later, YDS has an introductory course entitled “Leadership Ministry in Schools and Colleges,” a course in “Models and Methods of College and University Chaplaincy,” and an advanced seminar in “Leadership Ministry in Schools and Colleges” in addition to the introductory course.

The directorship of the ELM Program is at present a part-time position, and its funding is supported principally by one foundation’s grants. Ideally, the program should be able to bring in experts in the field and provide students with support to visit schools and attend conferences.  YDS now seeks to place this pioneering program on a firm foundation with endowment support to secure its future.

Global Education and Partnerships

In 2009, Dean Attridge announced an expanded program of global programs including student exchange programs with partner theological schools; a commitment to enhance global learning opportunities for US students; and a renewed program seeking to bring promising young leaders from churches around the world especially for the STM program.  In making the announcement to the student body, the dean wrote, “What does it mean for theological education to engage the world? We live in communities that are increasingly multi-religious, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual. In this context it is important that global perspective be integral to preparation for ministry.”   

The Global Education and Partnership initiative seeks to provide new financial support for students from the US to participate in the new spectrum of global opportunity programs including seminars, exchanges and internships.  At the same time, YDS is committed to supporting some of the brightest and best of future leaders from churches around the world.   Yale University President Levin has publically declared Yale’s commitment to being a “global university.”  The Divinity School has long been committed to international engagement.  At any given time 10 percent or more of YDS students come from countries other than the US.  New resources are needed to build and sustain the expanded program.
Roman Catholic Student Scholarships

For more than 300 years, Yale has educated generations of leading preachers, theologians, and lay practitioners for lives of service. That tradition of excellence continues today at Yale Divinity School, but YDS has emerged from its early Congregational origins to become a thoroughly ecumenical, nonsectarian institution, with Roman Catholics representing the second largest faith group within the student body after Episcopalians.

Nonetheless, while many donors have created funds with a preference for various Protestant denominations, not until recently did a fund exist to assist Roman Catholic students, who demonstrate the same level of need as the overall student body. By establishing more funds like the newly created Henri Nouwen Scholarship fund, YDS can ensure that gifted students of all religious traditions, including Roman Catholic, can pursue rigorous theological inquiry at the Divinity School each year.

Experiential Learning

YDS is perhaps best known for preparing leaders to serve the churches with both pastoral sensitivity and theological sophistication.  With a program of rigorous scholarship, professional preparation also includes opportunities for experiential learning in parish settings as well as in mission service.  Though a strong program of experiential learning exists through “supervised ministries,” in recent years a critical shift in funding for these programs has occurred.  The vast majority of parishes and mission programs seeking to host students in their programs no longer have the financial resources to support them.  

Supervised ministry is a required component of the M. Div program, and increasing numbers of M.Div. students seek summer internship opportunities. This critical component of theological education and formation will now require new endowment resources. .   Some M.A.R. students also explore the possibility of pastoral ministry through participation in a supervised ministry experience.

Nine Months to Complete the Campaign

With only nine months until the end of the campaign and $7 million remaining to be raised, major efforts are planned for the year ahead with continuing focus on the financial aid needs of student along with the five special foci.  

All types of gifts are counted toward the Divinity Tomorrow goal including:

  • Gifts to the Annual Fund – 100% is used for scholarships for students
  • Planned Gifts – providing you with dependable life income and benefitting YDS in the future
  • Endowment Gifts for financial aid or one of the special initiatives (A gift may begin with a pledge to be paid over a period of time—up to 5 years.)
  • Bequest pledges.  Alumni and friends are urged to remember YDS in their WILLs.  A bequest gift can become the “gift of a lifetime” benefiting future generations of students.

All gifts large and small make a difference and support students as they prepare to be leaders in church and world.

To learn more about how you can participate in Divinity Tomorrow, please contact:

For further information about the campaign and the five special initiatives: John Lindner, Director, Department of External Relations. Email: john.lindner@yale.edu

For Endowment Gifts, Planned Gifts and Bequest: Constance Royster, Director of Development, Email: constance.royster@yale.edu

For Annual Gifts:  Gail Briggs, Director of Alumni Relations, Email: gail.briggs@yale.edu

For Gifts to Berkeley:  Pamela Wesley-Gomez, BDS Director of Development, Email: pamela.wesley@yale.edu