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Lilly Endowment Inc. was founded in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. for the “promotion and support of religious, educational or charitable purposes.” Throughout its history, the Endowment has sought to nurture the human spirit, intellect and character. When once asked what the main purpose of the Endowment should be, Eli Lilly said, “I hope we could help improve the character of the American people.”

Our founders viewed character and human development in the context of community and encouraged unselfish concern for the welfare of others. The value they placed on philanthropy, which was in large part motivated by their religious faith, was expressed by Eli Lilly when he said: “Owing everything we are to the past and present generations, each of us must be willing to give unstinted help to others.”

Open Initiatives:

Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative:  Through Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative, the Endowment is inviting eligible organizations submit proposals to establish new and/or enhance existing programs that support congregations as they design intergenerational corporate worship services and prayer practices that more intentionally and fully engage children and nurture their faith.  Learn more

GIFT VIII:  Through the eighth round of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow, Lilly Endowment is offering community foundations three funding opportunities to 1) grow their financial resources to promote long-term viability and sustainability; 2) further strengthen their leadership capabilities; and 3) develop and implement strategic programs, projects and initiatives that enhance their communities’ quality of life. Learn more

PBS Documentary Tells the Story of Black Gospel Music

PBS Documentary Tells the Story of Black Gospel Music

GOSPEL is a new PBS docuseries exploring the history of Black spirituality through sermon and song. The Endowment helped fund the project with a grant to PBS station WETA. The grant is part of the Endowment’s support for efforts that promote the public understanding of religion.

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2022 Annual Report

2022 Annual Report

The Endowment has found that gaining a wider perspective is vital for our work and that of the organizations we support. One principal way we assist organizations in widening their perspectives is by providing planning grants to help them identify and study their strengths and challenges, test assumptions, confirm or refine their missions, seek the input of diverse stakeholders, and prioritize strategies to address their challenges and opportunities.

View Report