Lilly Endowment is pleased to announce the publication of its 2019 Annual Report, which highlights how several of its grantees are collaborating with other organizations to further their missions and aims. As this report was being prepared, it became apparent that the challenges from the COVID 19 pandemic would be profound and comprehensive. Accordingly, the Endowment’s staff focused its efforts on determining how the Endowment could use its resources to help address these challenges. The first grant the Endowment approved for this purpose was to the United Way of Central Indiana in the amount of $15 million to help launch in collaboration with several other funders the Central Indiana COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Since this fund was launched on March 13, the Endowment has been pleased to provide nearly $170 million to support many other efforts in Indiana and around the country to help organizations meet a variety of compelling needs stemming from the pandemic.

A summary of the Endowment’s COVID 19 grantmaking can be found here.

The pandemic also laid bare how African Americans’ quality of life has been diminished by generations of systemic racism, which has limited their access to educational and economic opportunities that others often take for granted. To supplement its ongoing support of efforts to enhance the vitality of African American arts and cultural institutions and the educational attainment, career development and overall quality of life of African Americans in Indianapolis and around the country, the Endowment this month approved a $100 million grant to the National Urban League to help create the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Renewal Initiative. The Indianapolis Urban League and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis will lead this collaborative initiative. Based on the African American community’s input, the initiative’s funding priorities may include, among others, efforts to  help more African Americans in Indianapolis gain access to high quality, lifelong learning opportunities; build family stability and financial assets; obtain affordable housing; improve physical and mental health; achieve economic and business parity; and participate in advocacy, civic engagement and leadership to promote equality and racial justice.

We are grateful for the many ways that charitable organizations the Endowment supports are stepping up with intelligence, grace and resilience to work together to address these challenges. The Endowment’s continued efforts to help during these unprecedented times will be highlighted from time to time on its website.

N. Clay Robbins
Chairman, President & CEO
Lilly Endowment Inc.


The individuals and families we serve are our partners in strengthening our community and so are the neighborhood groups, employers, city agencies and financial institutions that believe in this work, too. We couldn’t do it alone.

Moira Carlstedt
Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership
Community Development

Enhancing quality of life in Indianapolis and Indiana and funding compelling causes nationwide

Featured Story

Collaborations LIFT Indiana Regions

With support from a $42 million grant from Lilly Endowment in 2019, Notre Dame, along with the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership, has created the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network to help drive greater economic growth and prosperity for the South Bend-Elkhart region.

Featured Story

Opening Doors for Would-be Home Buyers

In 2016, the Indy Chamber and Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) began to collaborate on an opportunity for Indianapolis: help large nonprofit institutions—hospitals, universities and cultural organizations—embrace their roles as anchor institutions that can provide stability, leadership and other resources in their neighborhoods.


Increasing educational attainment and helping young people reach their full potential

Featured Story

Lilly Scholars Network Links High Achievers to Each Other and Indiana

To support the Lilly Scholars Network and help it grow, the Endowment in 2019 made a $1.05 million grant to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI). The funding will enhance and expand the ways current and alumni Lilly Endowment Community Scholars can serve and lead in the Indiana communities they call home, including where they live now, their hometowns and the towns and cities where they attended college.

I’m very thankful that the scholarship enabled me to stay in Indiana and use what I learned to further the mission of growing and keeping talent here and to help our communities succeed and compete on a global level.

Domini Martin-Urban
Lilly Endowment Community Scholar
Featured Story

Working Together to Fill Childcare Needs

Four out of every 10 children in Indiana live in a childcare desert, where there is no more than one childcare seat for every three children. In 2019, Early Learning Indiana created the Child Care Deserts Competition to encourage communities across Indiana to develop innovative solutions to address this challenge.


Enhancing congregational leadership and vitality and public understanding of religion

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Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose

13 faith-based organizations received grants to create “innovation hubs” as part of Lilly Endowment’s $20 million Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative. Begun in 2017 and continuing for five years, each hub is working under the guidance of an experienced leader to accomplish several identified central goals.

Featured Story

Vocation Matters

In March 2019, nearly 700 people representing close to 200 U.S. colleges and universities gathered in
Louisville for the national conference of NetVUE, the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education. Presidents, provosts, chaplains, professors and student life leaders came together to learn from one another about how to help students navigate the interplay of meaning-of-life questions, career preparation and religious exploration.

Featured Story

Global Journalism Initiative Builds Partnership to Strengthen Religion Reporting

Lilly Endowment’s $4.9 million grant to develop the Global Religion Journalism Initiative will help to increase the volume, quality and reach of religion reporting. The initiative is a collaboration among The Associated Press (AP), RNS, and a third news partner, The Conversation US, which provides explanatory journalism from academic authors.

In this Nov. 17, 2019, photo, a Buddhist family offers special prayers at a temple courtyard on the outskirts of Kandy, Sri Lanka. With the day-to-day violence of the civil war in the past, Buddhist nationalists in recent years have accused the government of paying too much heed to the needs of minorities.

Police guard a shrine in Shringar, India while Kashmiri Muslims pray on the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth.

In this Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, photo, the sun breaks the horizon as guests begin lining up to attend Sunday school class being taught by former President Jimmy Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church, in Plains, Ga. Guests begin arriving before dawn, some even the day before, spending the night in the parking lot, with hopes of attending the class. (AP Photo/John Amis)

A priest blesses the faithful at Holyrood Episcopal Church, a multi-lingual congregation in New York City that serves both the hearing and deaf in English and Spanish services.

In this Nov. 24, 2019, photo, Hasidic leaders gather for an annual group photo outside of the Chabad-Yubavitch Worldwide headquarters as a part of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries in New York. The annual conference included seminars, a class photo of about 5,800 rabbis in attendance and an evening dinner. (AP Photo/Emily Leshner)

In this Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, photo, a Sri Lankan buddhist man lights an oil lamp as he prays during the festival of full moon inside a temple on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka. About 70% of the 22 million people in this island nation off India’s southern coast are Buddhists, mainly ethnic Sinhalese. Hindus, mainly ethnic Tamils, make up 12.6% of the population, while another 9.7% are Muslim and 7.6% are Christian. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

In this photo taken Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, members of the Notre Dame cathedral choir sing during a rehearsal at the Saint Sulpice church in Paris. Notre Dame Cathedral kept holding services during two world wars as a beacon of hope amid bloodshed and fear. It took a fire in peacetime to finally stop Notre Dame from celebrating Christmas Mass for the first time in more than two centuries. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

2019 Grant Guidelines and Approvals

Lilly Endowment’s grant guidelines and 2019 grant approvals for community development, education and religion.