Sept. 24, 2020
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Lilly Endowment awards $10.65 million in grants to Indiana community foundations through GIFT initiative


INDIANAPOLIS – In the latest round of grantmaking for its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative, Lilly Endowment is awarding $10.65 million to community foundations across Indiana. The grants are designed to help community foundations address a wide variety of local priorities–from improving early childhood education and secondary and post-secondary educational attainment to strengthening economic and workforce development efforts, transportation plans and health outcomes.

Community foundations serving all 92 Indiana counties were eligible to apply for GIFT Community Leadership Grants to deepen the foundations’ capacity to help their communities identify and prioritize the most pressing local needs and develop the solutions to meet them. The Endowment is awarding 84 leadership grants representing 85 counties that range from $75,000 to $500,000. Grant amounts are based on the population of counties served. See the grants list here.

The Endowment expects to make more GIFT Community Leadership Grants for the benefit of additional counties in the coming weeks.

“We are impressed by the ways in which foundation leaders engaged with their neighbors to explore the most important challenges and opportunities facing their communities,” said Ronni Kloth, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “These proposals reflect strategic vision, collaboration and solid planning that can help residents work together for lasting change.”

GIFT Community Leadership Grants will support locally-determined priorities that include efforts to:

  • Expand early childhood education opportunities
  • Strengthen economic and workforce development
  • Improve secondary and post-secondary education attainment
  • Address high rates of substance use disorder and mental illness
  • Support quality of life enhancements, such as improvements to parks and trails and arts and cultural amenities
  • Develop comprehensive transportation plans

GIFT Community Leadership Grants make up one of five grant components in the seventh phase of the GIFT initiative, known as GIFT VII. The Endowment allocated $125 million for all five components when it launched GIFT VII in 2018.

Since then, the Endowment has made grants totaling $66.9 million in Matching Fund Grants to help community foundations encourage local donors to give to unrestricted funds at the foundations so they can respond with flexibility to changing needs in their communities. The Endowment has made $5.5 million in planning grants to help foundation leaders research and prepare proposals for this round of leadership grants.

In late 2020, the Endowment expects to make grants totaling up to $31.6 million for large-scale leadership endeavors. There are 17 community foundations that are finalists for this funding. See the list here. This competitive round of grants is designed to support the implementation of ideas that could have a broader and even more substantial impact in their communities. In this large-scale component of GIFT VII, community foundations were eligible to apply for grants of up to $5 million per county.

Further, the Endowment is preparing to make grants totaling up to $9.2 million to community foundations to encourage the  engagement and philanthropic giving of their board members during GIFT VII.

About GIFT
In 1990, the Endowment launched GIFT to help local communities in Indiana develop the philanthropic capacity to identify and address local needs and challenges. When GIFT began, there were about a dozen Indiana community foundations. Today, there are 94 community foundations and affiliate funds making grants to support charitable organizations in all of Indiana’s 92 counties. The total assets of community foundations that have regularly participated in GIFT have grown from $30 million in 1990 to nearly $3.2 billion at the end of 2019. Of this amount, approximately $350 million reflects matching grants made by the Endowment to build long-term endowment assets at community foundations. The remaining assets currently held by these organizations are attributed largely to the generosity of Indiana residents and others who have contributed over time to the community foundations and investment earnings and market appreciation.

About Lilly Endowment
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it 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. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.