After earning a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History in Scotland and serving as a pastor in Chicago, Dr. William Enright came to Indianapolis to become the senior pastor at Second Presbyterian Church. He served there for over 23 years when, in the midst of his retirement transition plan in 2004, an offer came to his attention. It was an offer that gave him the chance to be the founding director of the newly-established Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the then-Center on Philanthropy.
Now, this offer did not come from “out-of-the-blue.” Dr. Enright played an instrumental role in the formation of Lake Institute. To understand his role, we have to travel back before the creation of Lake Institute and his offer to be its inaugural director.
After arriving at Second Presbyterian, Dr. Enright first insisted that the church focus on inner city issues and embrace the community it belonged to. After that, he began thinking about ministry and financial issues when he met Robert Lynn, then vice president of Lilly Endowment.
“Bob became interested in economic issues related to ministry when he discovered that talking about money in a religious setting was a taboo subject,” Dr. Enright said. “Through these conversations, he began to focus my mind on money and the spiritual side of money and fundraising.”
Study of religion and philanthropy
In many of these conversations, Dr. Enright noted that Lynn described Tom Lake, the former president of Eli Lilly and Company and former CEO and president of Lilly Endowment, as the person who taught him the importance of giving and opened his eyes to the relationship between faith and generous giving. When Lake died in 1999, he left money to IUPUI. Chancellor Gerald Bepko and Drs. William Plater and Gene Tempel invited Lake’s daughter Karen Lake Buttrey to a meeting to discuss how the family wanted the university to use the donation.
As the family’s pastor, Dr. Enright was also invited to the meeting. During the meeting, Lake Buttrey stated that two things mattered the most to her father; faith and generosity in giving. After several discussions, Lake’s family decided that they wanted to set up an institute dedicated to the study of religion and philanthropy within the Center on Philanthropy.
Dr. Enright suggested hiring Lynn, who in his retirement was writing a history on religious giving in America, as a consultant for a year. Toward the end of the first year, Lake Buttrey asked Dr. Enright to serve as the first director of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving. In the midst of his retirement from the church, Dr. Enright was unsure.
“I thought that there’s no way they’d want an old guy like me to run the institute,” he said.
They did though, and Dr. Enright agreed to serve part-time after one more year of working at the church.
“We had the first Lake Lecture, but besides that, we had a blank sheet of paper,” he said.
And so he began to work on creating and developing the preeminent institute on faith and charitable giving.
“The first thing I wanted to do was to build on the Lake Lecture and to make that really prominent,” Dr. Enright said. “We brought on some fine interfaith scholars, including Martin Marty, Ingrid Mattson, and Eboo Patel, and were able to continually build that lecture.
“Then, my next goal was to build an advisory board that reflected the widespread beliefs of the religious world and was the right mix of academics and practitioners. We were able to bring on individuals like Dr. David Smith, the director of the Poynter Center on Ethics, and Don Johnson of Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates.”
Building training programs
Seeing the academically-focused Lake Lecture growing in popularity, Dr. Enright began to build another lecture more focused on the practical side.
“I knew we needed another lecture with a practical dimension, so we began the Distinguished Visitors Lecture,” he said. “We’d bring in people from various backgrounds, such as Tom Cousins and other individuals from various sectors to discuss their giving.”
After establishing both of the lectures and advisory council, Dr. Enright knew that the institute had to touch religious communities.
“Every year for four Mondays in May, I would meet with the Indiana Center for Congregations and 10 local ministers,” he said. “In the fall, I would then meet with lay people from those congregations. They would ask, ‘why don’t our ministers talk about faith and charitable giving? Why the silence?’ As a result, we began to create the program Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity (CCCG).”
Since its creation, the CCCG program has trained over 3,000 congregations in how to discuss charitable giving and faith. However, Dr. Enright recognized that it was not enough.
“I was asked to train the presidents of theological schools in North America and I began to see what the issues were,” he said. “We needed to create a program that not only trained congregations in faith and giving, but the clergy and leaders of the congregation.”
Out of that sprouted the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) program, where Dr. Enright and other experts would conduct four one-day seminars throughout the year to train clergy members how to talk about faith and giving, fundraising, and other money-related topics.
And so Lake Institute on Faith & Giving was established and that blank piece of paper finally had some writing on it. For Dr. Enright, his 10 years at the helm brought many rewarding experiences.
“I’m proud of what was established, especially the ECRF. But overall, taking a sheet of paper and turning programs into reality, as well as listening and learning from other people, were the most rewarding parts of my experience,” he said.
In 2014, Dr. Enright retired (again!) from Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, but he continues to stay involved in discussions surrounding faith and giving.
“In the religious community, we still need to address the depth of the taboo surrounding money-talk. I’m pleased with the progress made and the trust built, but we can do more as well,” he said.
“I think it’s wonderful what David (King, current Karen Lake Buttrey Director) and his group has done. They’re strengthening the research side of the institute and also studying the use of technology, online giving, etc. These are the issues that have to be addressed when you look to the future.”
Lake Institute’s future would not have been possible without Dr. Enright, though.
“From Lake Institute’s inception, Bill was the key voice and steady hand that helped to build many of the courses that have become the foundation of Lake Institute’s training to this day,” Dr. King said of Dr. Enright’s many contributions. “Now we train over 1,000 people annually in aspects of faith and giving, and that is due to the foundation Bill built.
“This is not simply in the past, but into the present as Bill continues to be a voice helping to frame these issues with deep wisdom in how to raise the questions in ways that allow people to enter into the thorny issues of faith and giving.”
Dr. Enright’s dedication is not only recognized by current Lake Institute staff members, but by Indiana University as a whole. Last month, he received an honorary doctorate for his many contributions to the school over the years. It’s an honor he feels he “doesn’t deserve,” but accepts with gratitude.
“I’m deeply grateful. As my wife says, I’ve had a wonderful encore career,” he said. “The opportunity to create something, watch it grow, and then turn it over has been very satisfying.”
Dr. King: “We are indebted to Bill for his wisdom in helping shape the work of Lake Institute that continues today.”
Abby Rolland is the content coordinator for the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.