Sept.21 2020
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Lilly Endowment grants nearly $62 million to colleges

and universities across Indiana


INDIANAPOLIS – Colleges and universities in Indiana are planning new strategies to address the challenges affecting higher education, and Lilly Endowment is making grants to support their efforts through its initiative, Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities.

The grants to all 38 accredited colleges and universities in the state range from $1 million to $5 million and are based on the size of student enrollment at each school. Funds will support a wide array of efforts – from building new partnerships among colleges and universities and improving recruitment and retention of students, to strengthening local community engagement and better serving first-generation, African American and Latinx college students.

“These are challenging times for colleges and universities, made more so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher education leaders recognize that they have to adapt to the changing demographics of undergraduate students, the importance of technology in education and the ever-growing need for students to be career-ready upon graduation,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “Leaders here in Indiana are responding to these and other challenges with thoughtful, strategic and collaborative approaches that we believe can improve the financial sustainability of the institutions and the educational experiences of their students.”

The Endowment launched Charting the Future in late 2019, making available more than $108 million. With the initiative, the Endowment invited all of Indiana’s 38 accredited public and private colleges and universities to consider what it would take to improve their efforts to educate students and prepare them for successful futures while thoughtfully examining the long-term financial sustainability of their institutions.

The three-phase initiative began with planning grants to all of the schools, which provided funds to help them convene stakeholders, consult with experts, do research, prioritize challenges and  come up with proposed plans to address them. Many of their implementation proposals addressed a fundamental demographic reality affecting American higher education: there are fewer traditional college-age students following in the footsteps of the millennial generation, which has dominated undergraduate education for two decades.

In the second phase, the colleges and universities were invited to apply for implementation grants, which are represented by these 38 grants that total nearly $62 million. The grants will fund projects that intend to help the schools:

  • Improve degree offerings in health sciences, K-12 teacher education and technology fields.
  • Engage more deeply with local communities by recruiting and serving better commuter students and non-traditional students and improving service-learning opportunities.
  • Strengthen digital learning, which has become critically important because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Invest in efforts to improve mental health care for students.
  • Build capacity to attract and retain more African American and Latinx students.
  • Increase overall student retention through more supports on campus.
  • Improve career-ready skills through partnerships with employers.
  • Expand partnerships with K-12 schools across Indiana to help more students get to college and thrive there.

A complete list of grants can be found here.

The Endowment launched the Charting the Future initiative because of its commitment to strengthen higher education attainment in Indiana and to help colleges and universities better prepare students for successful, meaningful lives. The third phase of Charting the Future, which is competitive, will include grants totaling up to $40 million. The grants will fund transformative ideas to address extraordinarily compelling challenges or opportunities that require funding beyond the implementation grants. In this phase, colleges and universities were encouraged to develop proposals that describe how they can collaborate with one another and with other organizations to have large-scale impact at their institutions and in Indiana. The Endowment expects to make these grants in 2021.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
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.