It’s great when a family enjoys the same interests. For Eugene and Marilyn Glick and their daughter Marianne, that shared interest is philanthropy.
The family saga began when Eugene returned from World War II. He landed a job at Peoples Bank in Indianapolis, where he oversaw its GI loan program. About the same time, he met Marilyn Koffman, and the couple pooled their savings to invest in real estate. After marrying in 1947, they founded the Gene B. Glick Co., which would become Indiana’s largest builder of single-family homes. The company branched into apartments in the 1960s, and today it is one of the largest privately held real estate firms in the nation.
It was very much a marriage (and a business) of equals. “They would go together and look at the sites before they decided on where they were going to build,” said Marianne Glick, the eldest of the couple’s four daughters and director of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Family Foundation. “I saw them many, many times discussing what they wanted to do and where they wanted to do it.”
In their later years, the couple started to focus on philanthropy.
“Both of my parents came from very humble beginnings, and realized how fortunate they were,” Marianne said. “They wanted to make sure that other people had an opportunity to achieve the American dream like they had.”
In 1982, the couple created their family foundation, which has awarded more than $200 million to central Indiana charitable projects, ranging from $30 million for the Glick Eye Institute at the Indiana University School of Medicine to $18 million for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, an eight-mile biking-walking trail connecting Indianapolis’ downtown cultural districts.
The Glicks were particularly attracted to the trail because it touched on two of their personal interests: exercise and art.
“They loved the idea of connecting Indianapolis’ cultural centers and art organizations together,” Marianne said. “And they walked miles and miles every day, into their 80s. So having an opportunity for people downtown to get out and walk and bike and exercise was important to them.”
Though Marilyn died in 2012 and Eugene died in 2013, the charitable work of Glick Philanthropies (formed in 2015 to bring all the couple’s efforts under one roof) continues, with Marianne as chairwoman. One of its biggest efforts is the recently created Far Eastside Success Initiative, a long-term investment strategy to help revitalize the city’s far-east side.
“We’re spending quite a bit of time on the far-east side, trying to support the neighborhood,” Marianne said.
One of the Glick family’s earliest philanthropic efforts is also its most long-lived. In 1981, Eugene Glick started Pro-100, a summer employment program for disadvantaged youth. Today, it’s called TeenWorks, and provides Indianapolis and Muncie teens with six-week paid summer internships.
“Almost everything we do is about equity,” Marianne said. “Almost all of our grants are focused on making sure that people who might not otherwise have opportunities can receive them.”