Jan. 13, 2017
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Grants to Strengthen Sustainability of Human Service Agencies

INDIANAPOLIS – As part of its support for efforts that improve the quality of life in Indianapolis and in Indiana, Lilly Endowment Inc. has announced $100 million in grants to 15 human service organizations to help them enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures.

The grants, which complement the Endowment’s regular support of human service organizations through direct grants and its grants to United Way of Central Indiana, reflect the Endowment’s long-standing commitment to help charitable organizations that strive to improve the lives of low-income individuals and families and build social capital in communities across the city and state.

The organizations – many of which are undercapitalized for the level of services they are called upon to provide – will use these grants to invest in sustainability plans they have developed. Their plans include the creation of endowments and strategies to strengthen organizational capacity.

While there are many exemplary organizations that support human services in central Indiana, the Endowment has selected organizations for this particular initiative that are critical to community efforts to serve at-risk residents in their neighborhoods. By serving the needs of individuals and families, these anchor institutions help build the social capital of their neighborhoods, which is critical for addressing a range of challenges they face.

Ten of the organizations receiving grants are neighborhood community centers across Indianapolis that provide comprehensive services to help children, families and seniors thrive. The other organizations, which frequently collaborate with community centers, include an organization that provides counseling and other mental health services for individuals and families; two hunger relief agencies that provide meals and groceries through social service agencies across central Indiana; and an organization that provides a range of services during the daytime to help homeless individuals and families.

These organizations have been working – in some cases since the 19th century – to help individuals and families overcome poverty and attain self-sufficiency. For example, many offer the Center for Working Families program of comprehensive case management to help low-income workers gain the employment and life skills needed to move their families up the economic ladder.

“The grants offer transformative opportunities for the organizations to secure strong financial futures,” said Ace Yakey, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “Unlike support for day-to-day operations, these funds will help each organization strengthen its financial infrastructure so it can serve more people over the long-term and weather unexpected financial challenges. These grants do not alleviate the need for the organizations to attract ongoing support for their efforts. Indeed, we hope the grants will help them more effectively attract support for their important work.”

Fourteen of these organizations will use portions of their grants either to establish an endowment or significantly fortify an existing endowment. With endowments, these agencies will be able to have more flexibility and greater capacity to work strategically.

The amounts of the grants, which vary depending on the annual operating budget of each organization and other factors, are $5 million, $7.5 million and $10 million. Besides supporting the establishment or strengthening of endowments, the grants will fund a variety of efforts to strengthen the organizations’ long-term sustainability and effectiveness, including technology and building improvements; investments in staff development and retention; strengthening fundraising and community engagement; and strategic planning.

One of the organizations, Goodwill Industries of Central and Southern Indiana, will not use any of its grant to add to an endowment. It will, however, use some of its grant funds to support a five-year capacity-building initiative in connection with the recent merger of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana and Goodwill of Southern Indiana.

Goodwill plans to expand and improve its retail store presence across both regions so it can increase the revenue that supports its work in education, employment and health services. In addition, the grant will fund expansion of Goodwill’s work with the Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based program that pairs registered nurses and first-time, low-income mothers so they can have healthy pregnancies and receive parenting support until their children turn two. By supporting family stability, the program furthers Goodwill’s mission to help low-income individuals and families facing barriers to employment, limited education attainment and inadequate access to health resources.

The following charitable organizations, 13 of which are United Way agencies, are receiving grants through this initiative:
Christamore House: $5 million
Concord Center: $5 million
Edna Martin Christian Center: $5 million
Flanner House: $5 million
Hawthorne Community Center: $5 million
Horizon House: $5 million
La Plaza: $5 million
Southeast Community Services: $5 million
Families First: $7.5 million
Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center: $7.5 million
Second Helpings: $7.5 million
Shepherd Community Center: $7.5 million
Gleaners: $10 million
Goodwill Industries of Central and Southern Indiana: $10 million
John H. Boner Community Center: $10 million

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a national, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.