The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has announced a $191.1 million effort to encourage community foundations in Indiana to raise funds for their unrestricted endowments and organize their operations for sustainability.
The new initiative is the fifth phase of the Endowment's Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) program, which was started in 1990 to award funds to projects recommended by local community foundations as well as to support the foundations themselves. GIFT V is also the result of "Taking Stock," a voluntary self-assessment program for Indiana community foundations sponsored by the Endowment that revealed a desire on the part of most of the participating foundations to build their unrestricted endowments.
"We were most impressed with the diligence of the foundations in their individual self-assessments," said William Goodwin, vice president for community development at the Endowment. "The responses in many ways affirm one of the basic purposes of the GIFT initiative: to build the capacity of Indiana communities to be self-reliant, to be more able to shape their own destinies by having local control over the use of their community foundation's resources."
For each county served, community foundations in Indiana may apply for $2 million to be added to their unrestricted endowments and $100,000 to be used for general operation expenses. Since the GIFT project began, the number of Indiana community foundations has grown from fewer than a dozen to more than ninety, while their assets have increased from about $100 million to more than $1 billion. Indiana, where the Lilly Endowment distributes about three-fourths of its grants, now has at least one community foundation or affiliate fund serving every county in the state.