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Lechleiters, Bralys contribute $1M each to United Way

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John Lechleiter, Angela Braly and two other local business leaders have pledged a combined $3 million to United Way of Central Indiana over the next four years.

The gifts were announced Wednesday night at a reception sponsored by the philanthropic organization that funds numerous charities in the Indianapolis area.

Lechleiter, CEO of Indianapolis-based drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., and his wife, Sarah, pledged $1 million as a challenge to other executives and community leaders. They made an identical challenge gift in 2009.

“We need philanthropic investments that alleviate suffering today while addressing the root causes of social problems in the future," John Lechleiter said in a written statement. "With more resources, United Way can accelerate their impact, and we need community leaders to join us in helping make it happen."

Accepting the challenge were Angela Braly, the former CEO of Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint Inc., and her husband, Doug, who also pledged $1 million over four years. The Bralys gave $300,000 to United Way in 2008 as a matching gift.

In addition, Andreas Sashegyi, a Lilly research scientist, and his wife, Mary, a Lilly communications associate, pledged $1 million.

United Way is trying to reach a fundraising goal of $42.5 million by the end of the year.

"The collective power of every size gift fuels United Way's community impact strategy,” Braly said in a prepared statement. “Who would not want to be a part of something that full of hope?"

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