Nov. 6, 2020
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Grants help youth-serving organizations face COVID-19 challenges


Indianapolis – Lilly Endowment is making nearly $25 million in grants to 297 youth-serving organizations serving communities across Indiana to help them address some of the many challenges they face because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Endowment is making the grants through the Youth Program Resilience Fund (YPRF), which is designed to offer support to a wide variety of organizations so they can better serve the needs of school-age children and youth (ages five to 18). They vary in size and reflect the many ways in which youth-serving organizations work to support children and youth. Read the complete list here.

YPRF is part of more than $170 million the Endowment has dedicated since March 2020 to help organizations in Indiana and nationwide respond to the effects of the pandemic. Learn more here.

Youth-serving organizations supported through this effort serve children and youth in 57 counties across every region of Indiana. The grants range from $5,000 to $800,000 and are based on the number of youth served annually and the depth of engagement the organizations have with the young people they serve.  Many of these organizations provide afterschool programs and fall break, spring break and summer programs that foster positive youth development and offer critical support to working families. Others provide academic enrichment, sports programs, recreational camps and programs that provide social and emotional support, such as mental health and wellness services, and promote child welfare and safety and homelessness prevention.

The grants will help the organizations cover a range of expenses they are facing because of the pandemic that include, among other things:

  • purchasing sanitation supplies, personal protective equipment and materials needed to promote social-distancing.
  • modest site modifications so organizations can deliver safe programs and services during the pandemic.
  • improving technology to support remote learning, engagement and information sharing due to decreased in-person activities.
  • support to meet increased general operating expenses, including hiring more staff to lower staff-to-child ratios and more planning and training about new safety protocols.
  • engaging consultants to strengthen support for youth and their families most deeply affected by the pandemic, including referrals to wrap-around services and for mental health services.

For many years, the Endowment has supported youth-serving organizations focused on education success, social development, leadership and character development and child protection, among other aims. Recognizing the severe challenges these organizations face because of the pandemic, the Endowment launched YPRF to help organizations continue to preserve and enhance the welfare and safety of youth; provide safe and enriching environments; address social and emotional needs; stem learning loss; and support caregivers as they continue or return to work.

Although the Endowment is interested in the positive development of all youth, many grants being supported through YPRF reflect a special interest in helping fund COVID-19-related costs of youth-serving organizations that serve a significant number of youth who 1) are members of low-income families or communities of color or immigrant populations that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other health and social challenges or 2) face other compelling challenges that adversely affect healthy development.

“Youth-serving organizations are vital to the well-being of Indiana’s youth, their families and their communities,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are inspired by ways in which the leaders of these organizations have responded to the tremendous challenges brought on by the pandemic. Although these grants cannot fully address all of the challenges these organizations face, we hope that the funds will help them continue to fulfill their missions and enhance the lives of Indiana’s youth.”

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 its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.