We make grants to a wide range of organizations that improve the overall quality of life in Indianapolis and expand and enhance the city’s economic, cultural and recreational opportunities. We support programs that promote civic engagement, contribute to safe, livable and caring neighborhoods and communities, and encourage the creation, improvement and expansion of amenities that attract and retain individuals, families and businesses. We have a special interest in helping organizations that serve residents affected by poverty and other challenges and that help advance the prosperity of residents from communities of color who are disproportionately affected by such challenges.

Areas of Grantmaking

Strong neighborhoods help ensure that Indianapolis is a safe, livable community for all of its residents. Some grantees in this area are Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Indianapolis (LISC), Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) and community centers such as Edna Martin Christian Center and Shepherd Community.

Intellectual capital and community economic development are essential to Indianapolis’ efforts to be a place where people want to live, work and contribute to their community. Some grantees that promote intellectual capital and economic development, in addition to those funded through our education division, are Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) Foundation,16 Tech, Indianapolis Urban League and Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Effective and sustainable human service organizations are critical to helping Indianapolis be a caring community, where all residents are supported in overcoming challenges caused by food insecurity, homelessness, unemployment and underemployment, domestic violence and various disabilities. Some grantees in this area are United Way of Central IndianaGleaners Food Bank of IndianaSecond HelpingsEasterseals CrossroadsIndianapolis Urban LeagueCoalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP)Wheeler Mission Ministries, Immigrant Welcome Center, and community centers such as John Boner Neighborhood Centers and La Plaza.

Arts and culture organizations strengthen Indianapolis by fostering a creative and energized community and a quality of life that is appealing to all individuals and families. Some of the many organizations we support in this area are the Indianapolis ZooEiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western ArtChildren’s Museum of IndianapolisThe International CenterMadam Walker Legacy CenterIndy Arts CouncilAsante Art Institute of IndianapolisSteward SpeakersUrban Musical Theatre, Iibada Dance Company, the GANGGANG initiative through CICF, Indiana White River Park Development Commission and Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

Related Grants

Enhancing Opportunity In Indianapolis is a $93.6 million grant initiative with the aim of helping a significant number of people in Marion County living in or near poverty make progress toward lasting economic self-sufficiency. Lilly Endowment made 28 grants to fund highly collaborative projects in Indianapolis that represent new ideas and collaborations, as well as those that expand the impact of existing efforts.LEARN MORE

The Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative was created in August 2020 with an Endowment grant of $100 million to National Urban League. The initiative is a collaborative effort between National Urban League, Indianapolis Urban League and African American Coalition of Indianapolis to focus on advancing the prosperity of all of Indianapolis’ African American community.LEARN MORE

Connected Communities, led by Central Indiana Community Foundation in close collaboration with the city of Indianapolis, is an initiative launched with the Endowment’s March 2022 grant to improve and expand pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, including safe routes and more physical and recreational activities.Learn More

City of Indianapolis, Department of Parks and Recreation oversees an expansive parks and recreation system that includes 214 parks and numerous greenspaces, playgrounds, sports fields, trails and other amenities. The Endowment’s 2022 support of Indy Parks and some of its friends groups totaled $80 million for improvements across 42 parks.Learn More

Immigrant Services grants were made through a 2023 pilot initiative supporting 18 immigrant service providers and Immigrant Welcome Center as an intermediary organization. The aims of this pilot initiative are to help immigrants from lower-income households access quality programs as they acclimate to life in central Indiana and make progress toward lasting self-sufficiency and build the capacity of organizations supporting underserved immigrant communities. LEARN MORE