Northeastern Seminary and Missio Alliance to Launch “Familias Unidas” – A Lilly Endowment Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative

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Missio Alliance, in partnership with Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University, will use a $1.225 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to launch “Familias Unidas,” an initiative aimed at coming alongside Christian parents and caregivers from marginalized communities as they support their children in their formational journey. “Familias Unidas” will primarily support congregations by curating theologically robust, culturally attuned, and community-driven resources that will consider the unique assets and challenges that Latino/a families embody.

Northeastern Seminary received the grant from Lilly Endowment through its Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to help organizations support parents and other caregivers as they share their faith and values with their children.

Missio Alliance will draw on its experience of centering theological reflection and spiritual practices of historically marginalized Christian communities in North America. Missio Alliance will harness its connection to churches, pastors, Christian writers, and theological practitioners – especially Latino pastors, authors, and ministers – to assist with listening, learning, designing and implementing a uniquely Latino/a catechesis for first- and second-generation families.

Northeastern Seminary is excited to bring to bear its decades-long focus on spiritual formation and robust academic training of pastors to launch Familias Unidas for the sake of strengthening family- centered discipleship for Latino Christian families. Together, we will come alongside parents and caregivers to nurture healthy relationships with their children and support their spiritual formation.

Dr. Ben Espinoza, Vice President of Northeastern Seminary, says, “I am thrilled that Northeastern Seminary has the opportunity to partner with Missio Alliance on such an important project. Spiritual formation has been a core value of the Seminary since its inception 25 years ago, and we are excited to extend this commitment to the broader Latino/a community.”

“Missio Alliance is delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Northeastern Seminary on this pivotal project for the Latina/o community. Our values for ministry at the intersection of formation, justice and mission along with our commitment to culturally-attuned, theologically-robust resources for and from communities on the margins creates the ideal opportunity for this significant collaboration. We foresee great Kingdom fruit as we forge and deepen this partnership,” says Lisa Rodriguez-Watson, National Director of Missio Alliance.

Gaby Viesca, Director of Strategy & Partnerships at Missio Alliance states, “I am really looking forward to partnering with Northeastern Seminary and finding pathways to listen to, equip, and empower Latino/a families throughout the United States. It‘s exciting to see entire programs dedicated to historically marginalized communities and I can’t wait to see all the good work that comes out of this collaboration. It’s a new day for both Missio Alliance and Northeastern Seminary, and I anticipate a strong and fruitful partnership between our organizations.”

If you lead a Latino church, especially a Spanish-speaking congregation, and are interested in learning more about Familias Unidas, contact Lisa Rodriguez-Watson at

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.