Gov. Holcomb announces $250M Lilly Endowment grant to accelerate quality of place across Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS  – Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced at tonight’s State of the State address that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a $250 million grant to help bolster quality of place efforts throughout the state. The grant to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), which is the single largest award given in Lilly Endowment’s 86-year history, will be administered in conjunction with the nationally recognized Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI).

The funds will help accelerate the state’s support for rehabilitating deteriorated or abandoned properties and strengthening varied arts and culture initiatives. The goal is to foster more vibrant and livable communities across Indiana for generations to come.  

 “As a state, Indiana is investing in its neighborhoods, its people and its future like never before,” said Gov. Holcomb. “This unprecedented investment from Lilly Endowment is a testament to the incredible enthusiasm and momentum we are witnessing across the state as we collaborate to advance quality of life and increase opportunities for all Hoosiers to succeed and prosper now and in the future.”  

Lilly Endowment’s grant will add to and complement READI 2.0 support for capital projects, such as infrastructure and new construction with a focus on blight reduction and redevelopment, and arts and culture initiatives.  

READI was launched in 2021 by Gov. Holcomb, in partnership with the Indiana General Assembly, with an initial investment of $500 million to advance quality of life, quality of place and quality of opportunities. The $500 million appropriation is being matched by additional public, private and nonprofit dollars, resulting in a combined $12.6 billion investment in 361 unique projects and programs statewide.   

Following the success of READI 1.0, the governor and the Indiana General Assembly invested an additional $500 million to establish READI 2.0 in 2023.

Paired with Lilly Endowment’s $250 million grant, READI 2.0 will support quality of place projects across 15 regions and is expected to attract a minimum 4:1 match of local public and private funding, yielding at least another $3 billion investment in Indiana’s neighborhoods and future prosperity.   

“Lilly Endowment’s founders cared deeply about the state of Indiana and its residents, and throughout its history the Endowment has regularly focused a significant portion of its grantmaking on improving the quality of life in Indiana communities.  It has done this through grants and allocations of over $800 million since 1990 in its GIFT initiative for Indiana community foundations, its substantial support for United Ways through periodic grants to Indiana United Ways, its support of six regional initiatives around the state totaling over $200 million and its long-standing support of all of Indiana’s colleges and universities, including its recently announced grants to six Indiana colleges and universities under the first round of its College and Community Collaboration initiative,” said N. Clay Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Lilly Endowment.  “Given the success and momentum of READI and the state’s continued investment in READI 2.0., the Endowment considered this grant proposal as a compelling opportunity to build on its efforts to help promote the prosperity of Indiana communities.”

The IEDC will allocate $185 million of the Lilly Endowment grant to support the redevelopment or rehabilitation of deteriorated or abandoned properties in ways that address community needs throughout the state while bringing new life to Indiana communities.  Projects may include rehabbing historic structures, repurposing closed industrial plants to create inviting community spaces or mixed-use developments or demolishing vacant single-family homes to construct new affordable housing.    

Arts & Culture   Approximately $65 million of the Lilly Endowment grant will be allocated to support a first-of-its-kind statewide arts and culture initiative to advance regional creative transformation by investing in public art and cultural amenities, which contribute $7.6 billion annually to the state’s economy. Lilly Endowment funds will provide support to regions as they work with a broad cross-section of regional and community residents to envision and develop various arts and culture projects and activities that align with their strategic plans, such as:

  • Creation of public art, including murals, sculptures and installations
  • Development or improvement of museums, performing arts venues or other culturally significant attractions
  • Establishment of arts and culture competitions or festivals
  • Attraction of nationally and internationally recognized arts and culture performances
  • Development of visual architectural design elements that are unique to local communities

The IEDC and the state will evaluate proposed projects in partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission and a panel of third-party experts from creative industries. 

In addition to investing in specific capital projects, the IEDC will use funds from the Lilly Endowment grant to provide technical assistance and encourage professional development opportunities for local and regional leaders in each of the focus areas. This will support Indiana and its communities in creating and implementing long-term, strategic and sustainable approaches through cultivating a talent pipeline to lead future community development initiatives and strengthening the Hoosier creative community.   

Click HERE for more information about the state’s READI program.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.  Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. 

About Brian Scott

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