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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.”

The Literary Legacy of J.K. Lilly Jr.

The Literary Legacy of J.K. Lilly Jr.

Consistently regarded as one of the nation’s top libraries for books and manuscripts of great importance, the Lilly Library was established in 1960 to house the extensive private library of Josiah K. Lilly Jr., one of Lilly Endowment’s founders.

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Supporting Financial Sustainability for Human Services Agencies

Supporting Financial Sustainability for Human Services Agencies

In 2016, Second Helpings was part of the first round of Lilly Endowment’s human services financial sustainability grants, designed to help organizations build strong financial futures so they can have a lasting impact on the communities they serve. In 2019, the Endowment funded its third round of sustainability grants to 10 Indianapolis human services agencies totaling $48 million.

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Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation

Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation

17 projects, undertaken by 18 grantees, will be developed throughout Marion County in order to enhance quality of life, benefit all those who live, work and play in Indianapolis, and foster a creative, energized and forward-thinking community.

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Renewing Teachers Through the Power of Story

Renewing Teachers Through the Power of Story

Indiana K-12 educators strengthened their commitment to their students by visiting CANDLES Museum and meeting its founder, Eva Kor.

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