August 24, 2022
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Colleges and Universities Will Engage Youth With Support from Lilly Endowment


INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. is helping Indiana colleges and universities engage young people, ages 5 – 18, with high-quality campus programs that encourage them to explore their interests and envision a future for themselves in college.

Through its initiative, Indiana Youth Programs on Campus, the Endowment has approved grants totaling more than $22.6 million to higher education institutions that have physical campuses in the state to create new programs for youth or to expand and enhance existing programs. In September 2021, the Endowment invited schools to apply for planning grants to investigate compelling ideas for their campuses. In a second round of funding, schools were invited to apply for grants to help them implement their ideas. See grants list here.

“By supporting these efforts, we hope that more young people in Indiana will experience what it’s like to be on a college campus and take part in meaningful programs that can help prepare them for success in college,” said Ted Maple the Endowment’s vice president for education. “It is our belief that these programs will not only add to the academic enrichment of young people but also inspire them to see higher education institutions in Indiana as part of their plans for life after high school.”

Schools are using their grants to support programs that reflect their academic offerings and campus cultures. Some will offer programs that focus on entrepreneurship, leadership development and career exploration. Others will engage young people in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. And some schools, recognizing the ways in which the arts can complement STEM experiences, are developing interdisciplinary approaches rooted in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). Many schools are collaborating with youth-serving organizations in their communities to implement their programs and recruit participants.

Goals for the initiative include increasing the number of Indiana youth who obtain valuable postsecondary degrees and credentials from Indiana colleges and universities and strengthening how schools recruit and educate students who are traditionally underserved, including students of color, first-generation college students and students from families with limited resources.

The Endowment launched the initiative, in part, to respond to the significant decrease in the number of Hoosiers pursuing higher education degrees. In 2015, 65 percent of Indiana high school graduates were going straight to college.  The college going rate has dropped steadily since.  In 2020, only 53 percent of Hoosiers were attending college the year after high school.

Implementation grants, which have ranged from $188,537 to $1 million, will help schools develop and launch programs over multiple years. The Endowment anticipates making additional grants through this initiative in September 2022.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based 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. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it 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 developmenteducation and religion.  Although the Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.