Jan. 8, 2019
Contact: Judith Cebula

Grants to Strengthen Sustainability of Agencies

Serving Vulnerable Individuals and Families

INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved $48 million in grants to help 10 human services agencies strengthen their long-term financial sustainability plans.

The organizations – all based in Indianapolis – serve people across central Indiana through a variety of programs. They work to end homelessness; provide childcare and before- and after-school programs to foster success in school and beyond; support individuals and families affected by domestic violence; and promote social and economic self-reliance.

The grants are designed to help the organizations build stronger financial futures, so they can have lasting impact in the communities they serve. Each has developed an approach suited to its unique needs, goals and strategic plans. The variety of approaches include:

  • Establishing endowments to provide resources for the long-term
  • Bolstering employee recruitment and retention efforts
  • Updating technology and facilities to help improve the delivery of services
  • Investing in communications, marketing and fundraising efforts to better tell the story of their work and engage donors and volunteers

These efforts will be focused on strengthening the financial capacity of the organizations so they can be more effective and efficient in meeting over time the needs of the people they serve.

The grants complement the Endowment’s regular support of human services organizations through direct grants and grants to the United Way of Central Indiana. They reflect the Endowment’s long-standing commitment to assist charitable organizations that strive to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals and families and the welfare of children and youth.

Four of the agencies serve homeless people by providing an array of services for individuals, families and military veterans. Each offers housing options and case management support to help clients achieve self-sufficiency. They are Catholic Charities Indianapolis for its Holy Family Shelter; Dayspring Center; HVAF of Indiana; and Wheeler Mission.

Three agencies receiving funds provide childcare or programs before and after school to help children and youth thrive in school and in life. They are AYS, Early Learning Indiana and St. Mary’s Child Center. Two of the agencies receiving grants help victims of domestic violence by providing housing, counseling and case management. They are The Julian Center and Coburn Place.

One organization, the Indianapolis Urban League, provides workforce training, family support services and health education while promoting economic self-sufficiency, leadership development and civil rights advocacy.

The organizations, which provide critical services to vulnerable individuals and help children find a path to life-long learning and success,  are undercapitalized for the scope and volume of services they are called upon to provide. Although many of them receive substantial public sector support, they all rely on private dollars to make ends meet in providing vital services.

The amounts of the grants – which vary depending on the annual operating budget of each agency, the number of individuals each agency serves and other factors – range from $1 million to $10 million.

“The grants are designed to help these valuable organizations build long-term financial strength and resiliency,” said Rob Smith, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. The grants do not intended to fund ongoing operating support that is essential for these organizations to meet the day-to-day needs of the children, families and individuals they serve. In fact, we hope our grants help these agencies more effectively attract additional support for their critically important work.”

This is the fourth group of grants the Endowment has made since 2015 that support the long-term sustainability plans of charitable organizations based in central Indiana. Through this effort the Endowment has made grants totaling $328 million to 49 organizations.

The following agencies are receiving the latest financial sustainability grants:

AYS – $7.5 million

Catholic Charities Indianapolis (Holy Family Shelter) – $1 million

Coburn Place – $2.5 million

Dayspring Center – $1 million

Early Learning Indiana– $10 million

HVAF of Indiana – $5 million

Indianapolis Urban League – $5 million

The Julian Center – $1 million

St. Mary’s Child Center – $5 million

Wheeler Mission – $10 million


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.