Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis is a Lilly Endowment initiative designed to help individuals and families facing complex and varied challenges associated with poverty make progress toward lasting economic self-sufficiency.

As part of this initiative, the Endowment encouraged applicants to propose approaches to help create more good and promising jobs and help more residents attain those jobs. In addition, the Endowment expressed a special interest in proposals that would help increase economic opportunity for Black and Latino residents, who are disproportionately affected by poverty, and enhance the prosperity of individuals facing added challenges, including but not limited to individuals with disabilities, youth aging out of foster care, individuals experiencing homelessness, and immigrants facing language and other barriers.

Through this initiative, in 2021 the Endowment awarded 28 grants totaling $93.6 million. The Indianapolis-based grantees are working with a wide variety of community partners and local employers. They were invited to propose ideas for new projects or how to strengthen existing efforts that could:

  • Help individuals seek and acquire good jobs (paying at least $18 an hour with healthcare benefits) or promising jobs.
  • Address barriers to economic prosperity that disproportionately affect Black and Latino residents.
  • Help children and youth be prepared for in-demand jobs and success in higher education.
  • Focus on the needs of residents in high-poverty neighborhoods.
  • Help residents who face challenges in addition to poverty—youth aging out of foster care, individuals with disabilities, members of immigrant communities with language barriers and individuals who are reentering their communities after incarceration.

Although the Endowment acknowledges that the efforts funded through this initiative will not end poverty in Indianapolis, it does hope that they will help put thousands of Indianapolis residents on the path to self-sufficiency.


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