23 January 2023

2023: A New Year for Renewing

Written by: Evelyn

During a Lilly Endowment event this past year, the Hispanic Access team learned about the Lilly Clergy Renewal grant opportunity – a rare opportunity for leaders in ministry to apply for meaningful sabbatical resources. This opportunity is unusual among Hispanic ministers, even the leaders in our networks had a hard time believing it could be true. Our team catapulted into action to provide access, capacity, and the belief among our faith-based network that this opportunity was possible for them too.

Hispanic Access has built extensive trust-based community networks throughout the U.S. The largest segment of our networks is Latino clergy. We have had the privilege to partner with these dedicated leaders in implementing community health, financial, and educational programs – serving hundreds of thousands of people in hard-to-reach communities. By 2033, our goal is to foster 10,000 leaders across 50 states and Puerto Rico to address the Latino community's unmet needs. Religious communities are essential to a thriving community – yet most Latino clergy are under-resourced, lack healthcare, and many struggle to make time to care for their own health and well-being and that of their families.

The sabbatical grant, if awarded, is a rare opportunity for these leaders to dream big, but submitting the grant application can be daunting for these leaders; despite the fact that they’re invited to do so in their native language. In December of 2021, our Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN) held an informative webinar on the Clergy Renewal Grant. The grant is an amazing opportunity to provide pastors and churches with a grant of up to $50,000 for them to design and implement a sabbatical that would benefit and revitalize the pastor and the congregation they lead. Many clergy applying for the grant felt overwhelmed and it was a long process to tackle with detailed guidelines and a budget model that one must carefully follow. Hispanic Access breaks down these barriers of access by partnering with our networks to problem solve and together find the solution.

Moreover, Hispanic Access’ Christine Tamara who helps oversee the Hispanic Leadership Network quickly gathered an experienced team that included, Dr. Harold Caicedo who was a previous recipient of the grant along with Life Coach, Margarita Flores who was able to provide accountability and ensure guidelines were followed for a strong application and Dr. Francisco Colop who serves as the network’s Senior Advisor providing spiritual counsel and professional development.

“They were our wise guides and mentors for the entire process,” said Rev. Daniel Cali. In 2022, the team began gathering the interested applicants weekly to work through the entire grant proposal. “This time with the group was wonderful and I definitely think that alone I would not have been able to do it or it would have definitely been much more complicated for me.” said Rev. Darmaris Lopez. “It helped me clearly understand the forms I had to fill out and I received a lot of advice that encouraged and challenged me at the same time,” said Rev. Armando Vera.

Our team was so excited to receive the news that three clergy in HLN were awarded the grant! All three clergy have served in ministry for a total of sixty-three years. Not one of them had ever had a sabbatical during their pastoral ministry nor did they ever imagine that as pastors of Hispanic congregations with limited resources that a sabbatical was ever a possibility. In August 2022, they were notified that they each had been awarded the $50,000 grant and starting January of 2023 they will be able to have their very first sabbatical! When President and CEO, Maite Arce founded Hispanic Access Foundation she had the desire to create bridges of access to vital resources and new opportunities in order to improve the quality of life for her beloved comunidad.

Hispanic Leadership Network was pleased to witness a new horizon of opportunity open up for clergy who have been working tirelessly these past few years and now more than ever are in much need of receiving a sabbatical in order to rejuvenate, rest, and plan for the next stage in their vocation.

“It is my hope that after hearing the successful stories of Rev. Cali, Rev. Vera, and Rev. Lopez that more pastors will apply for this life changing opportunity. I am very excited to share that we recently announced we held our second informational webinar for the Clergy Renewal grant and will once again provide weekly peer group meetings to support and encourage clergy to draft a promising application,” said Christine Tamara.

This grant invests in the integral health of clergy and we believe that a thriving church is dependent upon a healthy pastor. For more information about Hispanic Leardership Network’s the Clergy Renewal Cohort, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Phone: (202) 640-4342

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