December 6, 2019
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Initiative Seeks to Strengthen the Future of

Colleges and Universities in Indiana


INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. has launched Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities, a new initiative to help Indiana’s 38 higher education institutions further develop strategies to strengthen their effectiveness and sustainability.

Through the initiative, the Endowment is making available grants totaling $108.2 million to help Indiana colleges and universities address their key challenges and take advantage of promising opportunities to enhance their relevance and sustainability. Their challenges are varied and include a decline in higher education enrollment in Indiana; competition from more widely available job training programs (such as apprenticeships and certificate programs) and the enhancement and expansion of online learning opportunities; and changes in federal funding policies for higher education.

Through its request for proposals, the Endowment is encouraging higher education leaders to explore collaborative strategies. These efforts could include collaborations among colleges and universities in Indiana or around the country and with business, governmental or charitable organizations.

Charting the Future has three phases of grantmaking:

In the first phase, the Endowment recently has made planning grants totaling nearly $6.2 million to all of Indiana’s eligible two- and four-year colleges and universities. The grants of $100,000 to $500,000 were awarded based on student enrollment at each school. These planning grants are designed to encourage reflection, research and consultation so leaders can better prioritize the challenges and opportunities they wish to pursue and prepare their implementation grant proposals for funding under Phase 2 of this initiative.

Through the second phase, the Endowment will offer colleges and universities the opportunity to apply for implementation grants of $1 million, $2.5 million, or $5 million. The amounts per institution are based on student enrollment. The Endowment expects to award these grants in late 2020.

These implementation grant proposals should present sound and promising strategies and programs that are likely to:

  • prepare students for rewarding employment and to live engaged and meaningful lives, especially in Indiana;
  • result in economies of scale and other cost efficiencies or otherwise enhance the viability and financial condition of their institutions; or
  • enable institutions to further their educational missions more effectively in new or innovative ways.

For the third phase, the Endowment has allocated up to $40 million to be awarded on an invitational basis for large-scale proposals that seek to address extraordinarily compelling challenges or opportunities that would require funding in excess of the amounts institutions can receive through Phase 2 implementation grants. The colleges and universities are invited to submit, along with their Phase 2 implementation grant proposals, brief concept papers describing the challenge or opportunity they seek to address and their plan for addressing it. After reviewing these concept papers, the Endowment will invite institutions with the most compelling concept papers to submit full, large-scale proposals of up to $10 million. From these proposals, the Endowment will select in late 2020 those that will be awarded funding.

“We are encouraging Indiana’s higher education leaders to be bold and imaginative in developing creative and collaborative strategies to strengthen their institutions and further their educational missions more effectively,” said Dr. Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are impressed with the dedication of Indiana’s higher education leaders to face head on their challenges and embrace their opportunities to build brighter futures for their students and colleges and universities.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc.
is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his 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.