T hrough helping to strengthen and supporting the efforts of community foundations and United Ways, and by encouraging and funding select strategic collaborations, we aim to enhance the quality of life and future prosperity of Indiana’s communities. Recognizing the diversity of our state’s people and their range of needs, we help local communities identify the issues that matter most to their residents and find solutions to the challenges they face.

Related Grants

Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) is a series of statewide initiatives and programs that began in 1990 to help establish and strengthen community foundations in Indiana and build their capacity to support the needs of their local communities. GIFT has helped community foundations build unrestricted endowments and fund special projects and has inspired others to give with challenge grants. When GIFT began there were fewer than 12 community foundations in Indiana and the total value of the assets of those foundations, excluding the assets of the longstanding Indianapolis Foundation, was $30 million. Today there are community foundations in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. The total value of the assets of the Indiana community foundations that have regularly participated in GIFT is approximately $2.4 billion. To help improve their effectiveness and impact, we regularly fund the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance Foundation to provide technical assistance, professional development and other educational opportunities to Indiana community foundation staffs and board members.LEARN MORE

Indiana Association of United Ways, with regular support from the Endowment, provides technical assistance, training and matching grants for the United Way system across Indiana. It supports the local initiatives and helps build the capacity of its 60 member organizations, which serve 95 percent of the state’s population. Indiana United Ways – excluding the United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) – raised $49 million in 2015 to support human services across the state. These programs grew out of a 1990 Lilly Endowment-funded study of the United Way movement in Indiana documenting how many counties were unserved and that most smaller United Ways lacked the means to serve their communities effectively. LEARN MORE

Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), formed in 1999, brings together chief executives of central Indiana’s prominent corporations, private foundations and universities in a strategic collaboration dedicated to advancing the region’s continued prosperity and growth. Through grants made to the CICP Foundation, we support the charitable, educational and scientific activities of several initiatives focused on life sciences, advanced manufacturing and logistics, information technology and agrosciences. Brookings Institution scholars in their 2018 book “The New Localism: How Cities Thrive In the Age of Populism” recently recognized CICP as a global model for its collaborative leadership across key sectors to support regional growth. A significant part of our grants to the CICP Foundation help CICP initiatives build capacity and develop and retain the next generation of talented workers in these diverse employment sectors. LEARN MORE

Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) is an independent, nonprofit discovery science and applied research institute focused on innovation targeting cardio-metabolic diseases, diabetes and poor nutrition. It is supported by the state of Indiana and its leading life sciences companies, research universities and substantial funding from the Endowment. The IBRI seeks to build a world-class organization of researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to catalyze and apply scientific discoveries, with the aims of improving health outcomes for patients worldwide and promoting economic development in Indiana. LEARN MORE

Strategic Community Advancement Initiatives

We support on an invitational basis regional strategic initiatives in Indiana that build on the work of community foundations, educational institutions and other local and regional community organizations and partnerships to plan for and build greater community and regional prosperity. Our community development and education divisions collaborate on these initiatives, which are helping communities align education and job training with employer needs and make their communities and regions more attractive places to live and invest. Examples of this grantmaking include:

EcO Network focuses on increasing educational attainment, especially linked to the economic sectors that are most well-paying in southeast Indiana. The effort currently focuses on advanced manufacturing (representing 30 percent of people employed in the region) and health care (representing 10 percent of people employed in the region). Launched in 2007, it is a partnership between the Community Education Coalition of Columbus, Ind., and community foundations in southeast Indiana, as well as community organizations, industry leaders and other employers. LEARN MORE

OrthoWorx is based in Warsaw, northern Indiana, which is home to several international orthopedic industry leaders. In 2009, industry partners, academic institutions and community leaders formed OrthoWorx to help capitalize on the area’s exceptional concentration of orthopedic industry resources and expertise to strengthen the area’s workforce and quality of life. LEARN MORE

Southwest Central Indiana regional initiative is focusing on research, workforce and education development, and projects that enhance the quality of life in an 11-county area: Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties. The Applied Research Institute, Regional Opportunity Initiative and the Rural Center at Indiana University are key components of this regional effort.

Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) is the regional initiative devoted to increasing global economic competitiveness and quality of life in a 10-county area: Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties. WHIN will promote synergistic collaborations among Purdue University, local businesses, and charitable and educational organizations to strengthen the development of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in agriculture and advanced manufacturing sectors. It also will work to build IoT technology skills among workers in the region. LEARN MORE

Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network is an initiative to enhance and link expertise, technologies, workforce development programs and innovation-based facilities throughout the broader South Bend-Elkhart region. Launched in 2019, The University of Notre Dame and the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP) along with other key regional stakeholders will accelerate the region’s shared vision, described in SBERP’s Ensuring Prosperity Plan, to create an environment that attracts, trains and retains top talent for tomorrow’s jobs. The LIFT Network also builds on the momentum created by an Indiana Regional Cities Initiative grant awarded to the region in 2015. LEARN MORE