Sept. 12, 2019
Contact: Judith Cebula

Grant to Help Lilly Endowment Community Scholars
Serve and Lead in Indiana Communities


INDIANAPOLIS – Since 1998, more than 4,600 Indiana students have received full-tuition scholarships to earn bachelor’s degrees from Indiana’s four-year colleges and universities through the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program (LECSP). Now, a $1.05 million Endowment grant to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) will help Lilly scholars alumni and those Lilly scholars currently in college enhance their ability and commitment to help improve the quality of life in Indiana communities through the Lilly Scholar Network (LSN).

LESCP was announced in 1997 as a new initiative to raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana and increase awareness of the ability of Indiana’s community foundations to improve their communities’ quality of life. Community foundations in each of Indiana’s 92 counties propose scholarship nomination criteria and procedures for their counties and select scholarship nominees. Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), through a committee comprising past recipients and representatives from higher education and community foundations, approves the community foundations’ nomination criteria and procedures and makes final scholarship selections.

ICI will lead this new effort by supporting the LSN, which was formed by Lilly scholar alumni who wanted to find new ways to serve and lead in the Indiana communities they call home, including their hometowns and the towns and cities where they attended college.

“We wanted to show the communities that invested in us how incredibly grateful we are for the opportunities provided to us as Lilly scholars,” said Bryana Schreiber, a 2008 Butler University graduate from Posey County who helped start LSN.  “We value connecting with each other and are collectively committed to paying it forward.”

On Saturday, Sept. 14 the LSN will hold a summit, bringing Lilly scholars from across the state to Indianapolis’ Garfield Park for presentations on innovation and issues facing Indiana in the areas of education, addiction and mental health, environmental action and poverty.

With the new Endowment grant, ICI will partner with Indiana Humanities to help LSN engage current and alumni scholars in service projects across the state, in learning about significant challenges facing Indiana and in strengthening their leadership skills so they can help improve the quality of life in Indiana communities. ICI and Indiana Humanities will use the three-year grant to:

  • Build greater awareness of the LSN among current Lilly scholars and alumni.
  • Educate Lilly scholars about issues important to Indiana through conferences and other gatherings.
  • Connect Lilly scholars to each other and to community foundations and Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders who are working to improve the quality of life in the state.

An essential part of this work will be the development and activation of a digital platform that will help current and alumni scholars communicate with one another and help ICI and Indiana Humanities communicate with LSN members about opportunities for community service, leadership development and continuing education about challenges facing Indiana and strategies to address them.

“When the Endowment launched the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, it hoped that many of the Lilly scholars would stay in Indiana after graduation and contribute in a variety of ways to building the prosperity of the state,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education.

“We are very impressed with the character and values of the Lilly scholars, who at their own initiative, have created the LSN as a means to further their commitment to improving the quality of life of Indiana residents,” added Maple.  “We hope that this grant will help them build on the momentum they already have started and enhance LSN’s effectiveness, impact and appeal.”

In 2012, LSN members formed an advisory board and in 2017 they began working with Indiana Humanities to learn more from Lilly scholars and community leaders about the LSN’s potential to grow.  Endowment grants in 2017 and 2018 to Indiana Humanities supported this foundational work, which included a survey and focus groups of current and alumni scholars. The research indicated that a significant percentage of them desired to find ways to lead in their communities and to learn more about Indiana’s strengths and challenges.

“Now we’re ready to focus with Indiana Humanities more intentionally on helping the Lilly scholars use their significant intellectual and creative talents for the betterment of our state,” said David W. Wantz, president and CEO of ICI. “The Lilly Scholars Network provides a platform to activate the leadership capacity of the Lilly scholars to benefit communities across Indiana.”

Indiana Humanities will bring to the project its statewide connections with organizations that share its mission: “to enrich lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk.”

“For nearly 50 years, our organization has used the humanities to help people explore and catalyze big ideas,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We’re excited to be a partner in this new effort that will propel our state forward.”

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.  Although it funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.