30 Days of Thanksgiving Community

The Lilly Endowment – 30 Days of Thanksgiving

At F.C. Tucker we talk a lot about “paying our civic rent,” so for the month of November, we would like to express our gratitude to the many organizations and individuals who serve their communities tirelessly and make Indiana a better place to live and work. We obviously can’t highlight everyone, but we would like to salute these 30 organizations that are making a difference.

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 10: The Lilly Endowment

If you are from Indiana, you most likely have grown up with the name Eli Lilly and Company.  A well-known pharmaceutical company in Indiana for over 140 years, Eli Lilly was the first company to mass produce drugs such as Penicillin-G and the Salk Polio Vaccine.  More recently, they have been widely recognized for drugs such as Cymbalta and Prozac.  However, the company does not stop there; they also linked through gifts of stock to the Lilly Endowment Incorporated.

Though separate entities, the Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of the original Lilly family.  In 1937, J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons gifted Eli Lilly and Company stocks to create the Lilly Endowment.  Their goal was to support three main causes within Indiana: community development, religion, and education.  Since its founding, the Endowment has given away, “$9.4 billion in grants to 9,492 charitable organizations, most of them in Indiana.”  In fact, approximately 70% of funding goes to Indiana charitable organizations each year.  In this year alone, the Endowment gave away $305.8 million in grants to Indiana organizations.

This past year, the largest portion of the Endowment’s money was allocated to community development.  In this area, the Endowment has focused on how their grants, “promote a virtuous circle of community development.” In other words, they want their grants that cause a chain reaction in the community, pulling the entire community upward. The Endowment fulfills this mission in two ways.  The first is the Endowment’s GIFT initiative or Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow, supporting community foundations in every county in Indiana.  The second is through its support of the Indiana Association of United Ways and the subsequent United Ways throughout the state.  If that was not enough, the Endowment also supports disaster relief and recovery efforts.  Just recently in response to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Lilly Endowment allocated $30 million worth of grants.

Last year, the Endowment granted $149.4 million in religious grants.  Many may think it is unusual for an endowment connected to a pharmaceutical company to give religious grants.  The reason behind this category stems from the fact that the founders of the Endowment, “believed that being a member of a religious congregation was an important part of a citizen’s life, and they gave generously to their churches.”  Though the Endowment primarily focuses on supporting pastors and churches, the Endowment also funds 82 private four-year universities through the Theology Institutes for High School Youth Initiative and 104 campus ministry organizations through the Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Initiative.  To support pastors in existing positions, the Endowment also runs the Indiana and National Clergy Renewal Program. This program offers grants of up to $50,000 to congregations looking to implement a renewal program for their pastor.

The last core area that the Endowment targets is Education.  Last year, education grants accounted for 21% of the Endowment’s budget.  Within this area, the Endowment is primarily concerned about, “Indiana’s ranking as one of the lowest states in the nation in the percentage of adults, age 25 and over, with a bachelor’s degree.”  Given this reality, the Lilly Endowment has created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, offering four-year full-tuition scholarships to Indiana students working toward bachelor’s degrees at Indiana universities.  Beyond universities, the Lilly Endowment is also seeking to effect change in K-12 counseling, summer youth programming, and teacher readiness.  These areas are addressed by the Endowment’s Comprehensive Counseling Initiative, Summer Youth Program Fund, and Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program respectively.

Clearly, the Lilly Endowment is making a significant impact in Indiana.  We at F.C. Tucker are excited to see all the good they do in the future!