Sept 20, 2017
Contact: Judith Cebula

Grants to Aid Hurricane Harvey, Irma Recovery Efforts


INDIANAPOLIS – Continuing its long-standing practice of supporting disaster relief and recovery efforts, Lilly Endowment has approved $30 million in grants in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The grants will support the American Red Cross ($10 million), the Salvation Army ($10 million), United Way Worldwide ($5 million) and United Way of Greater Houston ($5 million) as they help residents across Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and U.S. territories in the Caribbean recover from these hurricanes. The 2017 hurricane season is likely to go on record as the second most destructive to affect the United States in recent memory. Only hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 caused more devastation.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have claimed more than 150 lives in the United States and the Caribbean and according to CNN have caused as much as $200 billion in damage. Regions affected by Hurricane Irma now are bracing themselves for the effects of Hurricane Maria.

Since Hurricane Harvey made U.S. landfall in late August, followed within days by Hurricane Irma, large swaths of Texas and Louisiana and the southeast region of the United States have been designated federal disaster areas. Officials with the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and the United Way continue to learn about the scale of damage and the ongoing needs of residents affected by the storms. These grants will help support each organization’s relief and recovery efforts and complement the disaster response of faith-based and other private sector organizations, individual volunteers and state, local and federal governmental agencies.

The $10 million grants to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army will be used at the discretion of each organization for the most compelling relief and recovery needs arising from either or both hurricanes.

A $5 million grant to the United Way of Greater Houston will help it meet the immediate needs of residents affected by Hurricane Harvey and develop and implement long-term recovery plans to help local communities in the months and years ahead.

A $5 million grant to the United Way Worldwide will support local United Ways as they develop and deliver localized responses to communities most affected by Hurricane Irma. An estimated 28 United Ways will be eligible for support from this fund.

With these grants, the Endowment has approved more than $220 million in grants since 2001 to support disaster relief and recovery efforts across the United States. Highlights from earlier grants are:

  • $30 million in total grants to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Community Funds of New York City in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
  • $30 million in total grants to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and United Way of America (now known as the United Way Worldwide) in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana
  • $60 million in total grants to the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross – Indianapolis, and Indiana Association of United Ways to help communities in Florida and Texas affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike and to help Indiana communities affected by floods and tornadoes

About Lilly Endowment Inc. Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although 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 support the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state, Indiana.