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Investment gains push Lilly Endowment's worth to $6.2B

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Lilly Endowment earned $884.6 million on its Eli Lilly and Co. stock in 2011, bringing the total worth of the grant-making powerhouse to $6.2 billion.

The total value is up about 17 percent, from $5.3 billion in 2010, according to the Indianapolis-based endowment's 2011 annual report, released Thursday. Lilly stock continues to account for more than 90 percent of the endowment’s investment holdings, according to the report.

Lilly Endowment is one of the 10 largest grant-making foundations in the nation, but its recovery has been slowed by the concentrated stock holding. Trading around $41 per share, Eli Lilly and Co. has the lowest market capitalization of its pharmaceutical competitors.

Even with its value diminished since 2005, when it was worth $8.3 billion, the endowment pumps large sums into Indiana charities. The endowment approved $208.7 million in future grants last year, and 69 percent were designated for Indiana organizations. Marion County charities will receive 22 percent of that money.

Based on current assets, Lilly Endowment will have to give away $238 million by Jan. 1 to stay in line with tax-exempt requirements, the report said.

Lilly Endowment's grant-making activity has been much lower in the past two years. Last year, the endowment distributed $206.4 million, the same amount as in 2010.

In 2009, the endowment distributed $276.1 million.

Grants approved in 2011 will go to 757 different charities, about one-third of which are first-time recipients.

The endowment divided its grants almost evenly among three focus areas: Education and youth-related organizations will receive 37 percent, while community development will receive 32 percent, and religion will get 31 percent.

Lilly Endowment has distributed $7.7 billion since it was founded in 1937.

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