Lilly Endowment’s value holds steady at $5.3 billion

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Lilly Endowment Inc.’s assets remained flat last year, at $5.3 billion, as the Indianapolis-based private charitable foundation took a smaller loss on Eli Lilly and Co. stock than it did the previous year.

The endowment, one of the nation’s 10 largest grant-making foundations, disclosed the information in its annual report issued Thursday.

Eli Lilly stock, which accounts for 91 percent of the endowment’s assets, was worth nearly $4.8 billion at the end of 2010, just a 2-percent drop over the end of 2009, the report said..

The decrease in stock value was much less steep than the 11-percent drop that occurred in 2009. Lilly shares staged a rebound late last year, trading as high as $38.06 each in October after falling to a low in 2010 of $32.75 in May. The stock opened at $37.52 Friday morning.

Dividend income received by the endowment, however, fell 19 percent from 2009 to 2010, to $272.7 million.

Income listed as “other” plunged to $2.5 million last year from $110.4 million in 2009, giving the endowment total income in 2010 of $275.5 million, down from $448 million the previous year.

The drop in income led to less grant activity in 2010. The endowment distributed $206.4 million in grants last year compared with $276.1 million in 2009. It also approved $202.7 million in future grants during 2010 to 628 grantees, compared with $282.3 million the previous year.

The endowment must distribute 5 percent of the value of its assets. To meet that requirement, it must donate $217 million this year, the report said.

Of the grants distributed last year, 46 percent of the funds went to education, 31 percent to religion and 23 percent to community development. Most of the money, 73 percent, went to Indiana organizations. Thirty percent, or $62.3 million, went to Marion County grantees.

Lilly Endowment remains among the largest grant-making foundations, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual ranking, despite shrinking dramatically in recent years. The foundation was worth more than $8.3 billion in 2005.

Founded in 1937, the foundation has distributed a total of $7.5 billion in grants since its inception.


    I worry about the day the Endowment is "muscled" into selling all their shares---and then its over. I thought this could never happen, but then the Indy Star was bought out and I never thought the Pulliams would sell--but even they got an offer they could not refuse.

    Indiana is unique in this respect. I hope they can stay in the saddle (e.g. Bill Cook and what he and his family have done for Southern Indiana is something little appreciated---any other family would have sold out to China, etc., and been long gone).

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