Duke Divinity School is partnering with The Shepherd’s Fund to help alumni in their time of need. The Shepherd’s Fund was established by a generous donor to provide financial assistance when a medical crisis creates a hardship. Retired or disabled pastors who have faithfully served in ordained ministry, their spouses, or their widows or widowers are eligible for these assistance grants.

A retired pastor and their spouse can qualify for a one-time grant up to $10,000 each or $20,000 total. They may reapply in subsequent years, especially if they have a chronic ongoing medical condition. 

Apply for The Shepherd's Fund

Interested alumni may apply online. The Shepherd’s Fund will review applications, typically within two weeks. The fund will forward approved applications to their partner, Helping Hands, for further screening. After the information is verified and approved, grant funds will be disbursed in a timely manner. Most often, payments are made directly to a hospital, doctor, or other vendor.

For general questions about this fund, please email Minoka Yonts, director of alumni relations at Duke Divinity School. If you have specific questions about the application or whether you qualify, please email The Shepherd's Fund.



The following Duke Divinity graduates and their spouses are eligible to apply for an assistance grant from The Shepherd’s Fund:

  • Retired pastors and spouses of any denominational affiliation
  • Surviving spouses of retired pastors
  • Pastors with disabilities who are unable to perform ministerial duties, but are not yet of retirement age
  • Retired pastors and spouses who are legal guardians of adult children with a disability
  • Retired pastors who are legal guardians for their grandchildren who have a disability or medical condition, regardless of age