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John Templeton Foundation awards $2.1 million grant to ND Law’s Religious Liberty Initiative | News | The Law School

The John Templeton Foundation has awarded Notre Dame Law School a landmark grant that will enable the Law School’s Religious Freedom Initiative to explore new ways to facilitate principled pluralism in the United States and around the world.

The scholarship, called “Protecting Freedom of Conscience through the Notre Dame Initiative for Religious Freedom,” is the largest grant received by the Notre Dame Law School. The award will provide $2.1 million from August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2024.

Marcus Cole, Dean and Professor of Law Joseph A. “It will be a catalyst for strengthening our fundamental freedom.”

Launched in fall 2020, the Religious Freedom Initiative promotes and advocates for religious freedom for people of all faiths through scholarships, events, and the Law School’s Religious Freedom Clinic.

The Religious Freedom Initiative aims to achieve several results over the next three years by producing new scholarships on religious freedom theories, by submitting complaints, appeals and amicus briefs for the defense of religious freedom, by advising clients on best practices relevant to religious practice and by bringing together lawyers, scholars, religious leaders and advocates for conversations about protecting religious freedom.

These results include:

Citations in federal and state courts, and in legal submissions brought before those courts
As a center for granting religious freedom, the initiative expects that scholarly work produced by Notre Dame’s faculty will be cited in opinions by the highest federal courts and by the most talented advocates.

Protection of religious ministries in religious institutions
The legal advice provided by students associated with the initiative will help religious groups to maximize available legal protections and avoid unnecessary litigation by engaging in best practices of their religious governance.

Creation and dissemination of knowledge
The initiative will develop scholarships and the media to advocate for religious freedom, and focus on disseminating this information to the target audience.

Student composition
The initiative will develop the next generation of scholars and lawyers who will go out to the world equipped to stand up for freedom of conscience. The initiative expects these students to become legal clerks, assistants, and partners in law firms, academics, and public servants. In their areas of influence, they would be better equipped to defend the principles of religious freedom.

Dean Cole and Professor Stephanie Barclay, Director of the Religious Freedom Initiative, are principal investigators involved in the grant-funded projects.

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries concerning the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humanity. The Foundation supports research and encourages informed civic dialogue on topics ranging from complexity, evolution, and emergence to creativity, tolerance, and free will. In all cases, the goal of the institution is to stimulate curiosity and accelerate discovery.

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