In 2012, ATS began serving as the coordinators of the Economic Challenge Facing Future Ministers Initiative (ECFFM) funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. In 2013, a pilot group of 16 schools received three-year grants to address the economic challenges facing future ministers through research into financial issues facing students, new strategies for decreasing financial burdens on students, educational programs in financial literacy for pastoral leaders, and partnerships to address these issues. In 2014, 52 more schools received grants. Participating schools were given the opportunity to apply for two-year sustainability grants in 2016 and 2017.
In 2015, Lilly Endowment Inc. expanded its work to address the economics of ministry by launching the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders (ECFPL) Initiative. Through the initiative, grants were given to a variety of organizations across the nation to help pastoral leaders develop stronger financial literacy skills and provide direct aid to help these leaders reduce or eliminate educational debt, participate in pension programs, pay off extraordinary medical expenses, and address other challenges.