Seminary Debt?

We can help.


Through this matching grant program, active pastors who receive a MEF grant must participate in The Executive Education Program (EEP). Upon successful completion of the EEP, pastors will receive a monetary award.

Who Can Apply?

  • Must be an active pastor in the AME Church (Districts 1 through 13).
  • Must submit proof of seminary loan debt; medical expenses.
  • Must provide a matching gift within two weeks of approval of the application. (Ex: $1000 gift will reduce seminary debt by $2000). Once we receive your matching gift, the payment will be applied to your seminary loan. Therefore, your matching funds should be raised before applying for the grant. Please allow 45 days for processing after all documents and matching funds have been received.
  • Must complete an application to apply for the grant.
  • Medical expense holder

Guidelines and Instructions

  • In completing the application for the Ministerial Excellence Fund, you will be asked to provide personal information about you and your finances. This information is considered private information and will be held in upmost confidence in a secured file.
  • Your application and private information will only be shared with the few committee members who will review and approve the application for a grant within the Ministerial Excellence Fund.
  • All applications will be acknowledged within 48 hours of receipt of the application.
  • The initial Grant period will commence in the Fall of 2023 working with Districts 1 through 13.
  • All grants will be paid directly to the seminary or financial institution holding the loan debt.
  • This is a matching grant fund; therefore, you must raise the amount you are requesting. Example: If you raise $5000, we will match the $5000 and the seminary or financial institution holding the loan will receive $10,000. All funds raised for the active pastor must be sent to the Department of Retirement Services, which will be deposited to an account held specifically for the Ministerial Excellence Fund. All matching funds should be sent via a cashiers’ check or certified check directly to DRS at 280 Hernando St., Memphis, TN, 38126.
  • We want to ensure there is equity, therefore, parity will be applied in the allocation of grant funds for each Episcopal District.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ministerial Excellence Fund (MEF)?

The MEF is a matching grant program to help reduce seminary loan debt for senior pastors in the AME Church, Districts 1-13.

Who may apply for the grant from the MEF?

Active pastors in Districts 1-13 can apply for the MEF grant.

What types of debt qualify for a grant?

Only seminary loan debt will qualify for the MEF grant. There are no grants awarded for church improvements or any other reason, other than seminary debt, medical expenses.

How much grant support is available to me?

An active pastor can apply for a minimum of $1000, up to a maximum of $5000.

Are there tax implications if I am awarded the grant?

It is the responsibility of each awardee to address all tax implications.

How many times can I apply for the grant?
This offering goes through May 24, 2024, and you can only apply once during this period as funds are available.
How will the funds from the grant be distributed?
Once the application is approved and the matching funds are received by DRS, both the matching funds and the grant amount will be sent directly to the seminary or the financial institution holding the loan debt medical expense holder .