Each year, in addition to our normal grantmaking for individual organizations, we provide on an invitational basis funding to organizations through various special initiatives. These initiatives are usually framed by a request for proposals that sets forth an initiative’s aims, guidelines, application procedures, award criteria, timing, grant amounts and so forth.

We often offer special initiatives when we believe that several organizations working toward a particular aim in their own way and with their own capacities will increase progress toward the aim’s accomplishment. Accordingly, for many of our special initiatives, we provide opportunities for our grantees to convene and share their perspectives and experiences in addition to technical assistance, relevant research and evaluation support, and other helpful resources.

Related Initiatives

Advancing Science of Reading in Indiana is an Endowment initiative to help interested Indiana colleges and universities expand and enhance the use of evidence-based instructional methods aligned with the Science of Reading (SoR) in their teacher preparation programs. The initiative’s aim is to improve significantly the reading abilities of Indiana students. Through ASRI, the Endowment has allocated up to $25 million for planning and implementation grants available to colleges and universities that wish to participate in this initiative. The initiative will complement a statewide effort recently undertaken by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to improve reading achievement in K-12 schools by helping current teachers implement SoR-aligned methods in their classrooms.Learn more

Comprehensive Counseling Initiative for Indiana K-12 Students aims to significantly increase the number of Indiana K-12 students who are emotionally healthy realize academic success, graduate from high school, obtain valuable postsecondary credentials necessary for meaningful employment, and who are prepared to compete and prosper in the global society in which they will live and work. All Indiana public school corporations and charter schools are eligible to participate in the Counseling Initiative.LEARN MORE

Enhancing Opportunity In Indianapolis is a $93.6 million grant initiative with the aim of helping a significant number of people in Marion County living in or near poverty make progress toward lasting economic self-sufficiency. The Endowment made 28 grants to fund highly collaborative projects in Indianapolis. The initiative was designed to encourage new ideas and collaborations, as well as approaches to expand the impact of existing promising efforts. 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 who are homeless and immigrants facing language and other barriers. LEARN MORE 

Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) is a series of statewide initiatives that help strengthen community foundations in Indiana and build their capacity to support the needs of their local communities. Since it began in 1990, GIFT has helped community foundations strengthen unrestricted endowments, fund special projects and inspire others to give through challenge grants. In October 2018, the Endowment launched the seventh phase of the initiative (GIFT VII) and is making available $125 million in grants to help community foundations raise financial resources and provide community foundations with funds to enhance their leadership competencies and address high-priority challenges and opportunities in the towns, cities and counties they serve.LEARN MORE

Indiana Youth Programs on Campus (IYPC) is a Lilly Endowment initiative designed to help Indiana colleges and universities in their efforts to create new or expand and enhance existing high-quality, on-campus programs for Hoosier youth, ages 5 – 18. Through this initiative, the Endowment is allocating a total of $28.8 million for planning grants and program implementation grants. Indiana public and private colleges and universities that have a physical campus in the state are eligible to participate. LEARN MORE

Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation strives to uplift the unique and important role that arts and cultural organizations and projects play in building strong communities. The Endowment is making available grants totaling up to $25 million to support compelling projects that strengthen Indianapolis’ cultural vitality. We encouraged eligible organizations to generate creative, new ideas of all sizes that enhance our community’s quality of life, make Indianapolis a vibrant city to visit, and benefit those who live, work and play here.LEARN MORE

Thriving in Ministry seeks to support charitable organizations (especially organizations committed to supporting pastoral leaders in congregations) located in the United States in developing new or strengthening existing programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as role models and guide them through key leadership challenges at critical moments in their ministerial careers. The primary aim is to help pastors thrive in congregational leadership and thus enhance the vitality of the congregations they serve. LEARN MORE 

Thriving Congregations Initiative seeks to support charitable organizations located in the United States in developing new or strengthening existing programs that will work directly with congregations to help them: 1) explore and understand their rapidly changing social and cultural contexts; 2) gain greater clarity about their values and mission; and 3) draw on Christian practices from their theological and ecclesial traditions to adapt their ministries to the demands of their changing contexts. The ultimate aim is to help congregations strengthen their ministries and thrive so they can better help people deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other and contribute to the flourishing of their communities and the world. LEARN MORE