In community development, we support efforts that seek to enhance the quality of life for everyone in Indianapolis and Indiana. This support is rooted in our founders’ commitment to their hometown. “All of us Lillys put together have never done as much for Indianapolis as Indianapolis has done for us,” Eli Lilly wrote in 1974. That commitment has extended across the state through grantmaking that supports Indiana’s community foundations and United Ways. We also provide funding for compelling causes throughout the country that are consistent with the values and interests of our founders.

Through a collaboration, the Madam Walker Legacy Center (MWLC) and IUPUI have restored and provided technology upgrades to the Madam Walker Theatre, a historical landmark in Indianapolis that anchors the city’s Indiana Avenue cultural district.
In 2017, Lilly Endowment made a nearly $15 million grant to the Indiana University Foundation to preserve the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker by working with MWLC to renovate the Madam Walker Theatre. This partnership seeks to strengthen community engagement through improved access, new and enriching programming and updated event spaces at the Theatre.
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