Central Indiana Funders Establish $3.2 Million Relief Fund

Five leading philanthropic organizations in central Indiana have announced a new partnership that will provide $3.2 million to agencies serving those hardest hit by the recession.

Created by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, and United Way of Central Indiana, with additional support from the Efroymson Family Fund, the Indianapolis Retirement Home Fund, and individuals, the Community Economic Relief Fund will award emergency grants to "first responders" such as community centers, foodbanks, and faith-based organizations.

CIFC president Brian Payne estimated that forty-five agencies in Marion and surrounding counties will apply for funding to provide emergency rent, mortgage, and utility assistance, address expected increases in homelessness, and provide food for organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Second Helpings, and Gleaners Food Bank.

According to regional human services locator Connect2Help, the number of calls for help has increased 27 percent in the past year. And there likely are many more who haven't reached out for help, either because they don't know whom to contact, are in denial that their problems warrant assistance, or expect that government assistance will be available. To address such concerns, the partners are launching an awareness campaign with the message, "If you're experiencing financial stress, call for help sooner rather than later."

"These are extraordinary times," said Lilly Endowment president N. Clay Robbins. "The human service organizations and programs that philanthropic funders support year in and year out are facing unprecedented demand...Lilly Endowment is pleased to...help the organizations on the front lines care for those most in need in our community."

"Central Indiana Philanthropic Community Unites To Create New $3.2 Million Local Relief Fund." Central Indiana Community Foundation Press Release 12/10/2008.