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Lilly Endowment dishes out $100M to local human service agencies

January 13, 2017

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded $100 million to 15 local human service organizations to help support their long-term financial goals.

The not-for-profits, which include community centers, hunger relief agencies and social services organizations, are expected to use the funding to invest in sustainability plans. Those include creating—or adding to—endowments and improving organizational capacity.

According to Lilly Endowment, the organizations were selected for their support for at-risk residents. The grants ranged in size from $5 million to $10 million, and were determined by each organization’s annual operating budget, among other factors.

“By serving the needs of individuals and families, these anchor institutions help build the social capital of their neighborhoods, which is critical for addressing a range of challenges they face,” said a statement from the endowment on Friday.

The recipients of $5 million grants were Christamore House, Concord Center, Edna Martin Christian Center, Flanner House, Hawthorne Community Center, Horizon House, La Plaza and Southeast Community Services.

Families First, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, Second Helpings and Shepherd Community Center each received $7.5 million.

And three organizations receive $10 million each—Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Goodwill Industries of Central and Southern Indiana and John H. Boner Community Center.

Most of the organizations plan to use portions of their grants to support an endowment, but the funding will also go toward investing in new technology, building improvements, staff development, fundraising efforts and community outreach.

“Unlike support for day-to-day operations, these funds will help each organization strengthen its financial infrastructure so it can serve more people over the long-term and weather unexpected financial challenges,” Ace Yakey, vice president for community development for the Endowment, said in a prepared statement. “These grants do not alleviate the need for the organizations to attract ongoing support for their efforts. Indeed, we hope the grants will help them more effectively attract support for their important work.”

The only not-for-profit that won’t use any of the grant for an endowment is Goodwill, which plans to use the funding to invest in its five-year capacity building initiative that’s part of the recent merger of the central and southern regions.

Goodwill plans to expand and improve its retail stores in both regions as a strategy to increase revenue. Proceeds from the retail outlets support Goodwill’s programs in education, employment and health services.

Lilly Endowment also recently awarded a $10 million grant to United Way of Central Indiana to support various capital projects for United Way partner agencies.

United Way’s Capital Projects Fund provides funding for construction and renovation needs of human service organizations in Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Marion and Morgan counties.

Recently approved projects include acquiring and renovating a new facility for Sycamore Rehabilitation Services in Hendricks County, assisting Marion County Commission on Youth relocate its offices, and helping the John H. Boner Community Center renovate its existing space and acquire additional space for an adult career center.

Lilly Endowment has supported this fund since December 2000, giving a total of $147.5 million toward 146 projects for 73 agencies.

“Many human services organizations are undercapitalized, and the condition of their facilities can limit their impact on those they serve,” Yakey said in a prepared statement. “United Way’s superb administration of the Capital Projects Fund since it began 16 years ago has significantly helped these agencies serve more people more effectively.”

Lilly Endowment is one of the largest grant-making foundations in the United States, according to the Foundation Center. Its assets—most in the form of Eli Lilly and Co. stock—closed 2015 at $11.8 billion. It paid $435.5 million in grants in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.

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