Jan. 4, 2018
Contact: Judith Cebula

Initiative Seeks New Ideas to Strengthen Indianapolis

Through Arts, Cultural Innovation

INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. is launching a new, competitive initiative to encourage community building and celebrate creativity. Through this initiative, Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation, the Endowment is encouraging ideas that uplift the unique and important role that arts and cultural organizations and projects play in building strong communities.

The initiative, through which the Endowment will provide grants totaling up to $25 million, is designed to:

  • enhance the quality of life in Indianapolis
  • bolster Indianapolis’ image as a desirable place to live, work and visit
  • foster a creative, energized and forward-thinking community

The Endowment is seeking ideas of all sizes and is making available grants ranging from $7,500 to $10 million. Indiana-based public charities or governmental departments or agencies are eligible to apply. These include arts institutions, museums, zoos, schools, religious congregations, community centers, community foundations, and colleges and universities, among others. The majority of an applicant’s program or project must be implemented within Marion County.

Full eligibility requirements can be found at

Collaboration is encouraged and in some cases necessary. If an organization is based outside of Marion County, the Endowment asks that the grantseeker partner with an Indianapolis-based group. Additionally, if an organization’s focus lies outside of arts and cultural programs, the Endowment asks that the proposal include a partnership with an arts or cultural organization.

The Endowment is looking for creative ideas that can help bring people together and broaden their perspectives; make arts and culture a larger part of the lives of individuals and families; increase access to arts and culture offerings among diverse audiences; enhance Indianapolis’ national and international reputation; and foster dialogue, community spirit and tourism.

“Arts and culture bring joy and meaning to our individual and collective lives and help our city be a vibrant and attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Ace Yakey, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “Arts and culture matter because they help all of us build common ground, learn other perspectives and strengthen human connection.”

The Endowment has a nearly 80-year history of supporting arts and cultural organizations in Indianapolis. This support furthers the Endowment’s interest in supporting efforts to make Indianapolis a vibrant and engaging community for all of its residents.

Details about the initiative, including a Request for Proposals and eligibility requirements, are available at The Endowment is preparing to hold optional information sessions in Indianapolis on January 25, January 30, and February 7, 2018.

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. 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.