August 19, 2020
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Lilly Endowment Issues 2019 Annual Report


INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment’s 2019 annual report reflects a belief in the power and potential of collaboration to address societal challenges and further important causes in its three areas of grantmaking as established by its founders: religion, education and community development. The report, which includes a complete list of 2019 grants, is available here.

Although the report focuses on the Endowment’s 2019 grantmaking, because of the unprecedented events of 2020, the report is accompanied by a letter from N. Clay Robbins, the Endowment’s Chairman, President and CEO, which highlights some of the Endowment’s support in 2020 of efforts to address challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant racial inequities that the pandemic has dramatically underscored.

Thus far, grants in 2020 totaling more than $170 million are supporting efforts in Indiana and around the country to help organizations meet a variety of compelling needs stemming from the pandemic. And a $100 million grant to the National Urban League will help launch the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Renewal Initiative. The Indianapolis Urban League and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis will provide local leadership for this collaborative initiative.

Stories in the 2019 Annual Report illustrate how:

  • Collaboration is at the center of Endowment-funded  regional advancement efforts in three regions of Indiana.  The University of Notre Dame, Purdue University and Indiana University are key partners in these efforts in their respective regions, and they are collaborating with community foundations, other educational institutions, area businesses, local governments and others to build regional prosperity and quality of life.
  • A 2019 Endowment grant to Independent Colleges of Indiana is helping to strengthen the Lilly Scholars Network, which was created by Lilly scholar alumni to encourage the some 4,700 current and alumni Lilly scholars to connect and work together to give back to their local communities and strengthen the state of Indiana.
  • The Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership works with financial institutions, community-based organizations and local government to help Indianapolis residents prepare for and become successful homeowners and to build stronger neighborhoods. A special $26.6 million Endowment grant supports two collaborative programs that realized meaningful progress in 2019: the Anchor Housing Program and the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Loan Fund.
  • The Global Religion Journalism Initiative is fostering collaboration among The Associated Press, Religion News Service and The Conversation US to expand and strengthen significantly fair and accurate religion reporting worldwide.
  • An Endowment funded initiative, Called to Lives of Purpose and Meaning, is encouraging cooperation among faith-based organizations that are helping congregations be places where parishioners discover God’s call in their own lives.  The initiative builds on the experiences of NetVUE, the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education, which began 10 years ago to support colleges in their efforts to  help students discern their vocations.

Since the Endowment began in 1937, it has distributed more than $10.9 billion in grants to 10,048 charitable organizations, most of them in Indiana. At the end of 2019, the Endowment’s assets totaled nearly $17 billion.

During 2019, the Endowment paid grants totaling $527.7 million. Community development grants accounted for $187.6 million (35 percent), education grants accounted for $161.8 million (31 percent) and religion grants accounted for $178.3 million (34 percent).

As in previous years, most of the grants were paid to organizations in Indiana – a total of $341.4 million (65 percent). Of the payment total of $527.7 million, $207.9 million (40 percent) was paid to non-Marion County grantees in Indiana and $133.5 million (25 percent) to Marion County (Indianapolis) grantees. Organizations outside of Indiana received $186.3 million (35 percent), mostly from religion grants.

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. 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. The Endowment funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.