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Through grants for summer and year-round youth development programs and support for youth agency leaders and staff, we seek to help all youth reach their full potential. Our youth development grantmaking supports programs and strategies that enhance and complement what youth experience in school and focus on child protection, education success, and social, leadership and character development. We have a special interest in youth negatively affected by poverty and other challenges and in promoting the success of youth from communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by such challenges. We also provide substantial funding for select youth intermediary organizations that provide education, training, best practices, research and other support to direct-service youth agencies and their staffs.

Related Organizations and Programs

Summer Youth Program Fund offers grants to support Indy Summer Youth Programs, which provide safe and positive experiences for children and teens, ages 4 to 19, in Marion County (Indianapolis) at little or no cost to families. In collaboration with 10 funders in Marion County, grants are given to programs in overnight and daily care, as well as enhancement and youth employment. Grant recipients represent organizations ranging from churches and area community centers to theaters and parks, offering a variety of activities such as sports, overnight camping, arts, community service and tutoring. The fund has a special focus on youth negatively affected by poverty and other challenges and in promoting the success of youth from communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by such challenges. LEARN MORE

Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) champions the positive development of youth, setting a high standard for improving and expanding the quality of youth opportunities in central Indiana. At the core of their approach are four strategic roles: advocate, resource, capacity builder and convener. LEARN MORE

Indiana Youth Institute seeks to promote the healthy development of children and youth in Indiana by providing an array of programs and services to enhance the effectiveness, impact and sustainability of the state’s youth-serving organizations. This support includes capacity-building programs, technical assistance, and the provision of relevant research and data. IYI also convenes youth-serving organizations and youth workers to discuss key issues and learn from and share experiences with each other. Learn More

Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN) is a statewide organization that seeks to enhance afterschool and summer programs serving Indiana youth. IAN offers training, technical assistance, assessment tools to youth workers and youth-serving organizations striving to provide high quality programming to young people. LEARN MORE

Girls Inc. promotes the healthy social, emotional, physical and intellectual development of girls through a variety of school- and center-based programs. The Endowment provides grants that support the national Girls Inc. organization, with its National Resource Center in Indianapolis, as well as local affiliates in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana. LEARN MORE

100 Black Men of Indianapolis one of 95 affiliates nationwide, supports African American youth from kindergarten through college through mentoring and other educational programs that increase in young people a sense of self-esteem, responsibility and motivation to succeed in school. LEARN MORE

Big Brothers Big Sisters supports positive youth development through one-on-one mentoring by matching youth to adult volunteer mentors. The Endowment supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana with grants to strengthen the organizations’ capacities to effectively recruit, train and otherwise support volunteer “Bigs” in their work with “Littles.” LEARN MORE

Child Advocates (CA) serves abused and neglected children in Marion County with a goal that every child will have a safe and permanent home. CA recruits and trains volunteers as guardians ad litem or court-appointed special advocates (CASA) to represent the best interests of children and youth in the child welfare system. Lilly Endowment grants in 2017 and 2020 supported CA’s use of mediation as an alternative to potentially contentious court trials to expedite the placement of children in safe, permanent homes.  LEARN MORE

FFA, headquartered in Indianapolis, is a national youth leadership organization focused on education and careers in agriculture. FFA has more than 600,000 members in more than 8,600 local chapters throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For 93 years, FFA has held an annual conference to celebrate the year’s accomplishments as well as for personal development and career exploration. The annual conference, supported by an Endowment grant to the National FFA Foundation, also enables nearly 70,0000 FFA members to interact with key leaders from business, education and government. Indianapolis has hosted the conference since 2016 and has commitments from FFA to serve as its host through 2033.  LEARN MORE

Junior Achievement of Central Indiana (JACI) offers programs to children and youth in career exploration, employability and life skills, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.  Lilly Endowment has supported JACI since its inception in 1957. In recent years, the Endowment has provided grants to JACI for JobSpark, an annual career exploration program for more than 10,000 Indianapolis eight-graders, and the continued development of career readiness programs in K-12 schools. JACI is one of 105 affiliates of the national Junior Achievement organization.LEARN MORE

Indiana Black Expo (IBE) has served to be a voice and vehicle for the advancement of the African American community in Indiana for more than 50 years. Through a diverse set of programming, initiatives and events conducted through its 12 chapters throughout the state, the organization strives to help African American youth and families achieve their highest potential and reflect pride in their communities. Lilly Endowment provides annual support IBE’s youth and family programs focused on leadership, personal development, academic success, college preparation and the performing arts. Many of IBE’s youth and family programs are offered in conjunction with its annual Summer Celebration and Circle City Classic events, which draws hundreds of thousands of participants each year. LEARN MORE

EmployIndy offers a Youth Employment Services (YES) program supporting neighborhood-based efforts to provide access to postsecondary education, job-skills training, and private-sector employment opportunities for youth and young adults affected by poverty and other challenges. In 2017 and 2019 the Endowment made grants totaling more than $8 million to EmployIndy to improve and expand its YES program and to make improvements to broader efforts to strengthen the youth employment system in Indianapolis, focused on helping youth facing myriad challenges get on a pathway to employment and promising careers. LEARN MORE