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T hroughout their lives, J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons – Eli and J.K. Jr. – demonstrated a belief in helping communities grow stronger by supporting charitable organizations. They created Lilly Endowment in 1937, and it reflects their commitment to the causes of community development, education and religion, which remain at the center of our grantmaking today. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. We maintain a special commitment to our founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Grant Guidelines and Types

We generally consider proposals in three areas of interest: community development, education and religion. We also pursue initiatives that benefit youth and that promote the causes of philanthropy and volunteerism.

Individual Renewal
Through renewal programs for teachers, pastors, artists and arts administrators, and people working in social service sectors, we seek to nurture professionals in nonprofit fields so they can continue to enrich the lives of their communities.
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Youth
As a lead participant in the Summer Youth Program Fund, we work with other Indianapolis funders to support day camps, enrichment programs, overnight camps and employment opportunities to help young people thrive during the summer months.
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Scholarships
We fund the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, which awards full-tuition scholarships to selected students from each county in Indiana to help them pursue a baccalaureate degree at any accredited public or private Indiana college or university.
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Special Initiatives
Through various special initiatives, we invite organizations to consider how their efforts may align with one or more of our grantmaking objectives.
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