Lilly Endowment sees third straight year of major asset growth

The Lilly Endowment saw its assets grow considerably in 2019 for the third year in a row.

The Indianapolis-based philanthropic giant saw its assets increase from $15.09 billion on Dec. 31, 2018, to $16.97 billion on Dec. 31, 2019—an increase of 12.5 percent, according to the foundation’s annual report, issued Friday.

That followed a 29% jump from 2017 to 2018 and a 13.6% rise from 2016 to 2017.

Lilly Endowment is one of the largest grant-making foundations in the United States and concentrates its giving to the causes of community development, education and religion. The endowment ranked as the second-largest private charitable foundation in the country at the end of 2018, trailing only the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

During 2019, the endowment paid grants totaling $527.7 million. Of that total, community development grants accounted for $187.6 million (35 percent), education grants for $161.8 million (31 percent) and religion grants for $178.3 million (34 percent).

Organizations in Indiana received $341.4 million, or 65% of that total in 2019, with Marion County grantees receiving $133.5 million.

The endowment approved 867 grants for $564.9 million to 652 grantees in 2019, with 124 of those grantees being new to the endowment.

Among the largest donations:

– Grants totaling nearly $45 million to the Purdue Research Foundation;

– Grants totaling $42.4 million to the University of Notre Dame du Lac;

– Grants totaling: $28.8 million to the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation;

– Three grants of more than $15 million to the Indianapolis Zoological Society;

– Five grants of more than $13.3 million to the United Way of Central Indiana;

– nearly $10.5 million to the Indiana Community Foundation Initiative;

– $9 million to the Indiana White River State Park Development Commission for an amphitheater;

– $8 million to the Ivy Tech Foundation;

– Three grants of almost $7.5 million to the Indianapolis Museum of Art;

– More than $7.4 million to the Indiana Association of United Ways;

– Three grants totaling nearly $3.8 million to the Indiana Historical Society.

So far, in 2020, the Endowment has approved grants in response to COVID-19 totaling more than $170 million, including $15 million to the United Way of Central Indiana to help launch the Central Indiana COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Also this year, the Endowment made a $100 million grant to the National Urban League to help launch the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Renewal Initiative.

Since its founding in 1937, the Lilly Endowment has distributed more than $10.9 billion in grants to 10,048 charitable organizations, most of them in Indiana.

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