The United Methodist Church allocates part of the World Communion Sunday offerings to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) for ethnic leadership development. As part of its ongoing mission to nurture United Methodist leaders – both lay and clergy – GBHEM uses those funds to award Ethnic-in-Service Training Grants. These grants are awarded in sums up to $10,000 and are given to programs designed to bolster recruitment, training and retention of persons of color for leadership positions at every level of the church and its ministry.

Partnerships and collaborative efforts in campus ministry, chaplaincy and institutions of higher education and general agencies are encouraged, but GBHEM also considers applications for innovative programs in other ministry settings. Proposals may encompass ministries related to areas such as children’s homes, retirement homes, camping and retreat centers, hospitals, the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission.

Mentoring opportunities, learning contracts with clear goals and measurable outcomes are highly recommended.

Apply here.

EIST Funding Criteria

In order to be considered for funding, programs must:

  • Be consistent with the purposes as stated above.
  • Be consistent with the mission of GBHEM.
  • Provide evidence of how the proposed program will support one or more of the following strategies within the GBHEM strategic plan:
    • Meet a clearly demonstrated need.
    • Provide measurable goals and outcomes, with clear accountability structures and connection with the UMC (general church, annual conference).
    • Demonstrate endorsement from persons representing appropriate structures in the connection to which the project is related.
    • Provide evidence that those from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds have been involved in the planning leadership, decision making and evaluation components.
    • Include an itemized budget, detailing anticipated income and expenses.

What to Know Before Writing an EIST Grant Proposal

  • Proposals must be prepared in consultation with the ethnic concerns staff team and related with the appropriate unit of GBHEM.
  • Grants are one-time seed money, in an amount not to exceed $10,000, provided for one year to approved programs. Additional requests may be submitted for follow-up funding, after appropriate reports and evaluation.
  • Programs must be evaluated using the form provided and incorporating the identified outcomes. Copies of the evaluation must be submitted by the end of the funding year to Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson, GBHEM assistant general secretary of the Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns.
  • 2023 applications open December 15th and the DEADLINE TO APPLY IS MARCH 30. GBHEM awards funds in June. To receive proper consideration for funding, those requesting funds should submit a completed Ethnic-in-Service Training Grant Application, along with all supporting documentation.


Crystal E. Banks

Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson