Lake Institute Network of Emerging Scholars (LINES)

To create, foster, and sustain an interdisciplinary field of scholarly research focusing on the broad relationship between religion and philanthropy.

LINES 2024

September 11 – 13
Indianapolis, Indiana

LINES is an opportunity for emerging scholars to participate in building an interdisciplinary field of research focusing on the broad relationship between religion and philanthropy. To continue growing this scholarly conversation, Lake Institute seeks to support new and ongoing research projects of a select group of scholars during a gathering on September 11-13, 2024. If the opportunity to receive support for your work in this field intrigues you, we encourage you to apply. Please find more details below.


Photo of scholars in discussion sitting in a large circle around tables.

Emerging and senior scholars discuss research on faith and philanthropy at the 2015 LINES gathering

2024 LINES: Call for Proposals


Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy fosters a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between faith and giving through research, education, and public conversation. To build the interdisciplinary field of religion and philanthropy, Lake Institute will support the ongoing research of a select group of emerging scholars through the Lake Institute Network of Emerging Scholars (LINES) gathering on September 11-13, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana. In convening a cross section of scholars from diverse disciplines to learn from one another, we seek to nurture current and emerging work by helping to advance research proposals, build collaborative projects, and ultimately broaden an understanding of how faith informs and inspires giving.

As a part of the world’s premier institution studying philanthropy, Lake Institute both contributes to and benefits from leading edge research of philanthropy in a diverse range of fields across the humanities and social sciences. In recent years, Lake has supported research in fields such as history, sociology, anthropology, theology, ethics, and political science. We continue to be interested in these disciplinary approaches and are excited to extend scholarship beyond these fields as well. As an integral aspect of our mission to increase reflection at the intersection of faith and giving, we are hosting the second cohort of LINES.

The LINES gathering will continue to create, foster, and sustain an interdisciplinary field of scholarly research focusing on the broad relationship between religion and philanthropy. Few scholars may see their work at the direct intersection of faith and giving, but we define these categories broadly. We welcome critical work on formal giving to nonprofits and faith-based organizations as well as individual giving trends and motivations, but work in this space often extends more broadly as well. Past research has engaged topics such as religion and humanitarianism, economic models of religious institutions, historical forms of mutual aid, informal giving, and diverse religious and spiritual communities. While we are open to a wide variety of topics and disciplinary approaches, we offer three guiding themes to spark new research ideas and to help scholars envision their own research within this field:

  1. Faith, Philanthropy, and New Economic Imagination. Some religious organizations are asking fundamental questions about their resource models, and others are asking how to rethink and even release the use of their resources (including buildings) for mission. As religious leaders seek new financial approaches and ministry models, what can they learn from social sector innovations (B corps, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, etc.) which claim to align action with values? How can they contribute to these conversations as voices for religious values? At the cutting edge of ministry, how can faith-identified social innovators develop long-term, sustained support for their efforts? Are particular forms of capitalism, taxation, or investment seen as a friend, foe, or frenemy of charitable giving?
  2. Faith, Philanthropy, and Cultural Differences. How can we better understand, celebrate and build upon the rich diversity of faith traditions, philanthropic understandings and practices, and pluralism that defines our communities? How is organized philanthropy engaging with questions of religious pluralism? Across traditions (and innovations), what is the relationship between generosity and justice?
  3. Faith, Philanthropy and the Common Good. How does philanthropy serve the public good? What is the role of religious institutions or spiritual values in helping shape the moral imagination in the work of philanthropy writ large? How can philanthropy be promoted for the public good? What is the role of moral imagination in the humanities?

Applicants are welcome to shape their proposals around one (or more) of these themes or propose a project that falls outside of these themes.

LINES is designed around the idea that fundamental to developing any field of study or interdisciplinary conversation is creating opportunities for pioneering and visionary scholars who are committed to these ideas in their own research to come together to share their work and develop synergies for cultivating a common vision and a burgeoning agenda for the field. Our convening will be intentionally small with only around 15 emerging scholars. Lake Institute will cover all travel and lodging expenses for the in-person convening. At the convening’s end, LINES scholars will have the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant to continue developing their research.

If the chance to support your future work in building a new field of research through collaborative opportunity intrigues you, we encourage you to apply. To apply, email with the following three documents (attached as PDF files) by March 4, 2024: a current CV, a 250-word statement about your current research, and a 400–500-word project proposal of what you might like to present in a workshop format with other colleagues. (Applicants should have received their doctoral degree before September 1, 2024. In supporting emerging scholars, we are prioritizing the work of pre-tenure scholars, but recently tenured professors are not excluded. Scholars in post-doctoral fellowships and alternative academic or contingent roles are also encouraged to apply.)

Lake Institute will then select participants based on quality, mix of discipline, and engagement with religion and philanthropy.  Notification of selection will be made the week of April 1, 2024. Selected participants must draft and submit a project proposal working paper (10-12 pages) by August 1, 2024, to be reviewed by fellow participants and senior scholars prior to the convening.

Several senior scholars have already committed to serve as interlocutors and advisors for LINES 2024, including Dr. Patricia Snell Herzog from IUPUI (a former LINES emerging scholar), Dr. Gerardo Martí from Davidson College, Dr. Tyrone McKinley Freeman from IUPUI, Dr. Heather D. Curtis from Tufts University, and Dr. Joseph Lennis Tucker Edmonds from IUPUI.

While the bulk of our time together at LINES will be dedicated to engaging each participant’s project, there will be several conversations about the state of research in this field and intentional opportunities for peer conversations. Following the September gathering, there will be opportunities for ongoing collaboration.

We look forward to your consideration and application.


Learn about the history of LINES.