October 09, 2023
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Lilly Endowment Continues its
Community Foundation Initiative

INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. is launching the eighth phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative, allocating up to $210 million to help Indiana community foundations strengthen the quality of life in the towns, cities and counties they serve. The GIFT initiative is based  upon the Endowment’s longstanding belief that community foundations are uniquely positioned to play central roles in building the prosperity of communities throughout Indiana.

Through this new GIFT phase (GIFT VIII) the Endowment is inviting eligible community foundations to participate in three funding opportunities designed to help them grow their financial resources to enhance their effectiveness and promote long-term viability; further strengthen their abilities to lead; encourage board engagement; and support and develop strategic efforts to enhance quality of life in their communities. The grant opportunities are:

  • Matching Fund Grants, which will enable community foundations to develop unrestricted assets, implement projects and programs that address community needs, and build their internal capacity. The Endowment has allocated up to $135.3 million for this opportunity.
  • Community Leadership Grants, which will enable community foundations to continue to seek input from a diverse range of community stakeholders and, if desired, request funding to develop and implement large-scale action plans that address high-priority challenges and opportunities in their communities. Additionally, community foundations can choose to work collaboratively to address shared priorities by submitting a joint/regional proposal. Community Leadership Grants will be available in a two-phase process: a non-competitive planning phase and a competitive implementation phase.  The Endowment has allocated up to $65.5 million for this opportunity.
  • Board Engagement Grants, which will encourage board members of community foundations to make financial contributions to their foundations. Each community foundation demonstrating 100 percent board member giving will receive a $100,000 unrestricted grant. The Endowment has allocated up to $9.2 million for this opportunity.

Learn more about GIFT VIII and the request for proposals here.

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 with assets totaling approximately $100 million. Today, there are 94 community foundations and affiliate funds serving Indiana’s 92 counties. The combined assets of community foundations that have regularly participated in GIFT have grown to nearly $3.7 billion as of the end of 2022.

“Looking back on more than three decades of the GIFT initiative, we at the Endowment are impressed by the positive impact Indiana’s community foundations have had on the quality of life in their communities,” said Ronni Kloth, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “They have played important leadership roles in helping their communities identify, prioritize and respond to local needs and opportunities.”

“But Indiana’s towns, cities and counties continue to face pressing challenges in educational attainment, employment readiness, public health indicators, housing  and child and youth wellbeing, among other concerns,” Kloth continued. “We hope GIFT VIII will help community foundations collaborate with local stakeholders to build on their previous efforts to improve quality of life for residents in the communities they serve.”

About Lilly Endowment
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a 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. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. Although the Endowment funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.