July 28, 2021
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Lilly Endowment Issues 2020 Annual Report and Special Supplement

INDIANAPOLIS – During 2020, an extraordinarily challenging year for the nation and the world, Lilly Endowment sought to help meet as quickly as possible compelling needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to further important causes in its three areas of grantmaking: community development, education and religion. Its 2020 annual report, entitled Now and for the Future, is being released today. The report portrays a few of the significant efforts the Endowment supported throughout the year.

“In reflecting on 2020, it would have been easy to be overwhelmed by the challenges it presented for individuals, communities, our state and country and the world at large,” writes N. Clay Robbins, the Endowment’s chairman, president and CEO, in the report’s executive message. “My colleagues and I, however, are blessed by the privilege we have to learn about and help support the multitude of individuals and organizations of good will – like those featured in this annual report – that passionately and thoughtfully mobilize to help others in need and foster a more just and equitable future for all.”

The report, which includes a complete list of grants approved in 2020, is available here. In addition, the Endowment is issuing a supplemental report, COVID-19: Helping the Helpers, which highlights the nearly $208 million in grants awarded in 2020 to respond to the urgent needs brought on by the pandemic.

Stories in the 2020 annual report illustrate how:

  • A $100 million grant to the National Urban League is funding the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative, which is being led by the Indianapolis Urban League and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis.
  • Indy Chamber is discovering and sharing authentic stories about what it is like to live and work in Indianapolis through a new digital platform,
  • Community foundations across Indiana are addressing high-priority needs and opportunities with grants made through Phase VII of the Endowment’s initiative, Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow.
  • Early Learning Indiana is working to improve the quality and accessibility of early learning opportunities throughout Indiana.
  • Ascend Indiana, an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, is helping college students statewide prepare for and launch careers with Indiana companies.
  • More than 100 organizations around the nation are helping Christian congregations consider what they need to do to strengthen the vitality of their ministries. The efforts are being funded through the Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative.
  • The Forum for Theological Exploration and the Hispanic Theological Institute are supporting the next generation of theologians with programs and funding designed to encourage students of color to complete PhD programs.

Since the Endowment began in 1937, it has distributed nearly $11.7 billion in grants to 10,386 charitable organizations, most of them in Indiana. At the end of 2020, the Endowment’s assets totaled $21 billion.

During 2020, the Endowment paid grants that were approved in 2020 or in prior years totaling $773.2 million. Community development grants accounted for $332.3 million (43 percent), education grants accounted for $230.4 million (30 percent) and religion grants accounted for $210.5 million (27 percent).

As in previous years, most of the grants were paid to organizations in Indiana – a total of $543.1 million (70 percent). Of the payment total of $773.2 million, $299.6 million (39 percent) was paid to non-Marion County grantees in Indiana and $243.5 million (31 percent) to Marion County (Indianapolis) grantees. Organizations outside of Indiana received $230.1 million (30 percent), mostly through religion grantmaking.

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. In keeping with the wishes of its founders, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.