Apply for a Rural Church Grant

Apply for a Rural Church Grant

Process At-A-Glance

In 2013, The Duke Endowment introduced a new pre-application process for the Rural Church program area. It consists of six questions, which will help confirm your eligibility and guide you to one of two areas of work, Congregational Outreach or Rural Church Development.  If you believe your project fits best within our third area of work, Clergy Leadership, you will be required to first contact Rural Church staff, as pre-applications are not accepted online. 

Pre-Application Deadlines

April 7 and September 18
The pre-application portal will open approximately six weeks prior to these deadlines. Pre-applications cannot be accepted outside of these dates. 


Start Pre-Application

Within a week of receiving your pre-application, The Duke Endowment will either invite you to submit an application for the upcoming grant cycle, or inform you that your project does not align with current priorities, thereby concluding the process.

Are you a current grantee returning to edit an existing application or submit a grant report? Log in with your current username and password. 

Edit Application/Access Reports

Eligibility for Rural Church Grants

In his Indenture of Trust, our founder restricted Rural Church funding to specific organizations.  Only the following may apply for a grant: 

  • United Methodist Churches that serve rural North Carolina communities. See a list of eligible churches.
  • The North Carolina and Western North Carolina conferences and districts of the United Methodist Church
  • Duke University Divinity School 

Projects Not Eligible for Funding

  • Church vans or buses
  • Church playgrounds
  • Church-based child care/pre-school programs
  • Homework help programs
  • Audio-visual equipment for church facilities
  • Parking lot repair and/or paving
  • Roof repair and/or replacement
  • Signage
  • Parsonages
  • Elevators and/or lifts
  • Bathroom accessibility
  • Routine maintenance of any church property, including but not limited to:
    • stained-glass window repair, replacement, or protection
    • heating, air, or HVAC units
    • plumbing or electrical work
    • mold remediation
    • building repairs
    • painting or other cosmetic facility upgrades

Areas of Work and Funding Priorities

Within Rural Church, we focus our work in three main areas:

Congregational Outreach

Programs that engage rural United Methodist Church members in efforts that serve their communities; specifically:

Search our current Congregational Outreach grantees.

If you wish, review the pre-application questions before starting online.  

Rural Church Development

Programs and projects that build the infrastructure and capacity of rural United Methodist churches to enhance ministry and mission; specifically:

  • Programs that increase a congregation’s awareness of its community and engagement with community organizations
  • Construction or renovation projects that strengthen a Congregational Outreach program (see above)

Search our current Rural Church Development grantees.

If you wish, review the pre-application questions before starting online.

Clergy Leadership

Programs that improve the quality and effectiveness of church leadership. These programs are primarily large-scale initiatives conducted by the two North Carolina Conferences or through Duke Divinity School. An example includes the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative, which develops strong pastors for rural church leadership, increases congregational strength and inspires innovation. 

Search our current Clergy Leadership grantees.

If you believe your project fits best within Clergy Leadership, please contact Rural Church staff, as pre-applications are not accepted online. 

Areas of Work

  • Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children

    To equip children and families with skills to ensure that children reach developmental milestones to lead successful lives.

  • Out-of-home care for youth

    To drive child welfare systems toward greater accountability for child well-being.

  • Quality and safety of health care

    Improving the quality and safety of health care delivery

  • Access to health care

    Improving health by increasing access to comprehensive care

  • Prevention

    Expanding programs to promote health and prevent disease

  • Academic excellence

    Enhancing academic excellence through program and campus development

  • Educational access and success

    Increasing educational access and supporting a learning environment that promotes achievement

  • Campus and community engagement

    Promoting a culture of service, collaboration and engagement among schools and communities

  • Rural church development

    Building the infrastructure and capacity of United Methodist churches to enhance ministry and mission

  • Clergy leadership

    Strengthening United Methodist churches by improving the quality and effectiveness of church leadership

  • Congregational outreach

    Engaging United Methodist congregations in programs that serve their communities

  • Zero to Eight Emphasis

    Confronting the challenges crippling today's families and communities in early childhood, before they take root.

  • Get Ready Guilford