TITLE: Vice President, Community Development
FUNDING AREAS: Housing and economic development
CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)
IP TAKE: The jump from the Indianapolis Economic Development Corp. to Lilly Endowment Inc. must have been an exciting one for Wallace Yakey. It gave him the opportunity to switch hats from the guy responsible for garnering funds for development projects in the state of Indiana to the guy in charge of providing that same money for other people's projects.
PROFILE: After 15 years as Program Director of Community Development at Lilly Endowment Inc., Wallace R. ("Ace" to his friends) Yakey, Jr. was promoted to Vice President in December 2012. Lilly's community development program "finds appealing programs and initiatives that build or enhance the quality of life in Indiana so that vibrant businesses and their employees will want to remain or locate here." The endeavor takes a variety of forms, including investments in the United Way of Central Indiana (for which Yakey previously worked) and Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, in addition to a variety of arts and culture initiatives.
Yakey's responsibilities at Lilly differ from his previous work in real estate and economic development by only a hair's width. As president of the non-profit Indianapolis Economic Development Corp. (IEDC), a position he left in 1997 to join Lilly, Yakey oversaw studies that examined which "types of business are likely to be attracted to the region given its existing labor force and business climates." Another study he oversaw looked at "suppliers of major Indianapolis corporations who might be wooed to move here." IEDC works closely with the office of the mayor in Indianapolis. More recently, it led a trade commission through Europe, with dates in Germany, Italy, and the UK, to stimulate interest in investors from these areas to outsource jobs to Indiana.
Yakey is an educational product of Indiana as well, receiving his bachelor's degree from Hanover College and master's in social work from Indiana University. He spent much of his early career as a marketing director at Browning Investments Inc., as a real estate broker with Thomas & Associates, and as an assistant campaign director for United Way of Central Indiana. He is a Trustee for St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, and according to Lilly Endowment's press release at the time of his promotion, Yakey has served as a board member for many Indianapolis area community and civic organizations. According to Indiana Business Journal, he has a love for mountaineering, including success at scaling Alaska's Mount McKinley.