Since 1996, the Hispanic Theological Initiative’s (HTI) mission is to create and nurture a community of Latina/o scholars to service the academy and the church. Its primary goal is to increase the number of Latina/o students and faculty in theological education and, by doing so, better equip US institutions to serve the growing Hispanic population.
Established in 1996 with a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) was originally housed at Emory University. In 1999, it moved to its current home at Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS). Pew has sustained HTI with grants totaling over $8.35 million since its inception. In 2003, Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded HTI a grant for $888,000 to fund its doctoral scholarship component.
While these major foundation commitments have sustained HTI for a decade, both Pew and Lilly will phase out their support in 2009. In 2002, the Board of Trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary voted to adopt the HTI. Beginning in July 2008, Princeton Seminary will support the infrastructure of HTI, including the staff, office space and certain fixed operating expenses sufficient to support a program of up to 40 students. The support structure in place will help support the mentoring, networking, and professional development activities for the students of the member institutions.
With a commitment to maintain the ecumenical, multi-ethnic, and multi-denomination makeup among the HTI Ph.D. student populace, Princeton Theological Seminary believes a broader participation of seminaries, schools of theology, and university religion departments is necessary to expand HTI’s already successful work as well as to strengthen the efforts of many Ph.D. programs who work independently to recruit and retain Latina/o Ph.D. students. This new approach provides a collaborative way to expand recruitment efforts and combine support services, including financial aid efforts.
The Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium currently consists of twenty-three Ph.D. granting institutions that are committed to increase the pool of Latina/o Ph.D. graduates in theological and religious education.