Jan. 8, 2018
Contact: Judith Cebula

Grants to Strengthen Financial Sustainability of Agencies Serving Persons with Disabilities and Vulnerable Children


 INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved $80 million in grants for seven human services agencies that help individuals with disabilities and three agencies that help vulnerable children and youth. The grants are designed to support the agencies – all based in central Indiana – as they enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures.

Each agency will use most of its grant to establish an endowment or add to an existing endowment. Nine of the 10 agencies will use modest portions of their grants for additional efforts designed to strengthen their financial futures. These include upgrading technology, enhancing staff development, strengthening fundraising programs, and improving employee recruitment and retention efforts.

The grants complement the Endowment’s regular support of human services organizations through direct grants and grants to the United Way of Central Indiana. They reflect the Endowment’s long-standing commitment to assist charitable organizations that strive to improve the lives of persons with disabilities and their families and help vulnerable children and youth.

The seven disability services agencies collectively offer a diverse array of programs based on disability type (such as physical or developmental). They focus as well on the varying needs of individuals with disabilities at different times in their lives, from early developmental stages through school and into the workplace and beyond. Also, these agencies address the challenges facing the families of persons with disabilities, which have their own range of compelling needs.

The three agencies serving the needs of vulnerable children and youth – many of whom are abused, neglected or in the foster care system – provide services that help children and youth who are at the highest risk for long-term adverse outcomes.

The programs and services of the agencies – eight of which are United Way of Central Indiana partner agencies – help central Indiana be a more caring community. These agencies are undercapitalized for the level of assistance they provide. Many of them rely on public sector support, and all of them look to philanthropy to help fund their efforts. They have a history of stretching every dollar at their disposal.

The amounts of the grants, which vary depending on the annual operating budget of each agency, the number of individuals each agency serves and other factors, range from $2.5 million to $10 million.

“The staff and leadership of these agencies work every day to help children, adults and families who are among the most vulnerable residents in central Indiana,” said Ace Yakey, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “These grants don’t take the place of ongoing support for day-to-day operations. Instead, the funds will help the agencies build financial infrastructures that will position them better to weather financial challenges and serve more people more effectively.”

The grants comprise the third round of grants the Endowment has made since 2015 to support the long-term sustainability plans of charitable organizations based in central Indiana. In 2015, the Endowment made grants to 14 arts and cultural organizations totaling $100 million. In 2016, the Endowment made grants totaling $100 million to support the long-term sustainability plans of 15 human services organizations that are primarily focused on providing services in low-income neighborhoods in Indianapolis.

The following agencies (or their affiliated foundations) are receiving grants:

Bosma Enterprises – $5 million

Children’s Bureau – $10 million

Damar Services – $10 million

Easterseals Crossroads – $10 million

Hear Indiana – $2.5 million

Lutheran Child and Family Services – $7.5 million

Noble – $10 million

Sycamore Services – $7.5 million

Tangram – $7.5 million

Villages of Indiana – $10 million

About Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr., J. K. Jr., and Eli – 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.