Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Lilly company and Lilly Endowment?
Eli Lilly and Company was founded in 1876 by Col. Eli Lilly. Three subsequent members of that family, J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr., founded Lilly Endowment in 1937 with gifts of stock in the pharmaceutical company. While stock in the company is the Endowment's foremost asset, the Endowment is separate from the company. The Endowment, a private foundation, is in a different location, has a different board of directors, and is not linked to the company, except for the stock it holds.

Why do you call it Lilly Endowment instead of Lilly Foundation?
The founders named it Lilly Endowment Inc. It operates as a private family foundation. There is also an Eli Lilly and Company Foundation:

Why do so many of your grants go only to Indiana organizations?
The founders of the Endowment believed strongly that they wanted to "give back" to the city and state that had been so good to them in their business operations.  Generally, approximately 70 percent of the grants paid each year go to Indianapolis and Indiana charitable organizations.

Why do you give religion grants?
Our founders believed that being a member of a religious congregation was an important part of a citizen's life, and they gave generously to their Indiana churches. The Endowment, consequently, has long had an interest in the role and purpose of religion in American life and strives to create opportunities across the country to learn more about the subject through research, to encourage the development of a new generation of talented ministers, nurture the excellent ministers who practice their faith every day, and build healthy and vibrant congregations.

Why don't you give grants to individuals?
Federal tax regulations stipulate that grants from private foundations generally must go to duly recognized charitable organizations. An exception relates to fellowship programs that meet certain criteria, such as the Endowment's Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program.