Lilly Endowment’s two-fer

Today’s announcement that Lilly Endowment has donated $60 million to the Indiana University School of Medicine is another in a long line of massive injections into education, community development and religion.

The most recent gift will go toward attracting and training top-flight scientists and researchers—people who do a lot to improve human health.

But here’s where it gets especially interesting. Those researchers also hold potential to churn out discoveries that can be patented and spun out into start-up companies or into existing companies.

In other words, the endowment, which is forbidden by law from taking part in economic development, might be indirectly doing more for the cause than the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state arm charged with attracting jobs and investment.

Life sciences has been a big area for the endowment. So has technology—recall IU’s supercomputer. Both academic ventures, but both also are critical for creating knowledge jobs.

What are your thoughts about the endowment? Do Hoosiers take it for granted?

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