New Lilly Endowment program to provide $25M to Indy arts and cultural initiatives

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The Lilly Endowment Inc. on Thursday morning announced that it will provide up to $25 million in funding for a competitive grants program it's launching aimed at bolstering the arts and cultural amenities in Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis-based philanthropic giant said it is seeking proposals that enhance the quality of life in Indianapolis; bolster the city as a desirable place to live, work and visit; and "foster a creative, energized and forward-thinking community."

Individual grants will range from as little as $7,500 to as much as $10 million. The endowment said it is encouraging applications from arts institutions, museums, zoos, schools, religious congregations, community centers, community foundations and colleges, as well as other charitable organizations and units of government. Funded projects must be implemented within Marion County, the endowment said.

“Arts and culture bring joy and meaning to our individual and collective lives and help our city be a vibrant and attractive place to live, work and visit,” Ace Yakey, the endowment’s vice president for community development, said in a written statement. “Arts and culture matter because they help all of us build common ground, learn other perspectives and strengthen human connection.”

The endowment said it will consider grant applications from organizations outside Indianapolis, but only if they partner with an Indianapolis-based organization. Similarly, it will consider proposals from groups that aren't focused on arts or culture, but only if they partner with a group that is.

The 80-year-old Lilly Endowment, which has more than $10 billion in assets and doles out more than $400 million in grants annually, has long been a huge supporter of Indianapolis arts and cultural organizations.

The endowment is launching the new program—Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation—at a time that quality-of-life amenities are increasingly driving economic growth for major American cities. The endowment said it hopes the initiatives the grants fund will help grow Indianapolis' national and international reputation.

The endowment said it plans to hold information sessions about the new program on Jan. 25, Jan. 30 and Feb. 7.

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