June 25, 2018
Contact: Judith Cebula

Lilly Endowment Issues 2017 Annual Report

INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment’s 2017 annual report highlights its founders’ belief that philanthropy at its best helps individuals live lives of meaning, encourages self-reliance, and nurtures their capacity to care for others and serve their communities.

The report lifts up insights that Eli Lilly – who founded the Endowment in 1937 with his father, J.K., and his brother, J.K. Jr – shared during key moments of his leadership. “The future, for both business, and other parts of our society as well, seems less predictable than ever,” Eli Lilly wrote in 1976. “Nonetheless … today, in spite of the difficulties, I still have great faith in … the final good sense of my fellow man.”

Reflecting on the Endowment’s 80th year of grantmaking, the annual report includes stories about organizations that continue to inspire the Endowment to help build a meaningful future. The annual report includes a complete list of 2017 grants and stories featured in thereport describe how:

  • Colleges and universities across Indiana are making strides in helping their students engage with relevant curricula, academic and career advising, and internships so they can begin to build strong careers, especially in Indiana communities.
  • Several organizations working in Indianapolis and across Indiana are helping students in middle school, high school and college – as well as young adults in the workforce – prepare for and connect with employment opportunities.
  • Ten central Indiana human services organizations that serve persons with disabilities and the most vulnerable children are developing endowments and other programs to promote their organizations’ long-term viability.
  • The new Center for Black Literature and Culture at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library is highlighting African American culture and its value within the larger American experience.
  • Theological schools across the United States are working to strengthen the quality of preaching in American congregations by helping pastors come together for mutual support and learning.
  • The emerging International African American Museum in Charleston, S.C., is including the powerful influence of religion and spirituality in the historical and contemporary narrative of African American culture and identity.

Since the Endowment began in 1937, it has distributed nearly $9.9 billion in grants to 9,792 charitable organizations. Of the $9.9 billion, $3.9 billion supported education (39 percent), $3.4 billion supported community development (35 percent), and $2.6 billion supported religion (26 percent). At the end of 2017, the Endowment’s assets totaled approximately $11.7 billion.

During 2017, the Endowment paid grants totaling $445.7 million. Community development grants accounted for $204.8 million (46 percent), education grants accounted for $133.1 million (30 percent) and religion grants accounted for $107.8 million (24 percent).

As in previous years, most of the grants were paid to organizations in Indiana – a total of $311.2 million (70 percent). Of the payment total of $445.7 million, $156.8 million (35 percent) was paid to non-Marion County grantees in Indiana and $154.4 million (35 percent) to Marion county (Indianapolis) grantees. Organizations outside of Indiana received $134.5 million (30 percent), mostly from religion grants.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly 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.