Lilly Endowment: Grants for Indiana

OVERVIEW: The Lilly Endowment supports education and youth, religion, and community development in Indiana and beyond.

FUNDING AREAS: Education and youth, religion, community development

IP TAKE: This is the top grantmaker in the state of Indiana and an important one to know for Indianapolis nonprofits, more specifically.

PROFILE: Established in 1937, the Lilly Endowment is a private family foundation based in Indianapolis, Indiana. J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., created this philanthropic organization with gifts of stock in Eli Lilly and Company, a pharmaceutical firm founded in 1876. The Lilly Endowment is a separate entity from Eli Lilly and Company and the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. It aims to “nurture the human spirit, intellect, and character.” This funder supports local efforts for education and youth, religion, and community development.

The Lilly Endowment supports these three causes through funding, consulting, technical assistance, research, evaluation support, and connections to other organizations. Education and youth grants largely focus on Hispanic students, college enrollment, and workforce gaps. Additional youth-focused grants go towards direct services organizations in Marion County, as well as for capacity building and professional development for Indiana youth nonprofits. Religion grants support students pursuing education at theological schools and the enrichment of the lives of American Christians. Community development grants often target Indianapolis’ arts sector to promote the overall economic prosperity of the region.

Grants range between about $5,000 and $500,000. Learn more about this funder’s local giving on the recent grants page of the funder’s website. Grantmaking focuses primarily on Indianapolis and elsewhere in the state of Indiana. However, the funder also supports occasional efforts of national significance, especially in the area of religion. Past local grantees include 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, Agape Therapeutic Riding Center, and the American Cabaret Theatre.

This foundation accepts unsolicited preliminary request letters from nonprofits. Grantsekeers must submit these letters of no more than two pages via mail, not by email or fax. The program director reviews grant proposals, and the board of directors considers grants in the months of March, June, September, November, and December. Direct general questions to the staff at 317-924-5471 or via online form.


Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only).