The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced three grants totaling $42 million to boost regional development efforts in southwest-central Indiana.
The grants will support initiatives in eleven counties, with a focus on research and development, workforce and education, and efforts to enhance quality of life. Grant recipients include Regional Opportunity Initiatives, a newly formed affiliate of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, which was awarded nearly $25.9 million to implement an education and workforce plan as well as a regional opportunity fund for quality-of-place investments, and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation, which will receive more than $16 million to establish an Applied Research Institute near the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division. In addition, the endowment awarded $122,600 to the Indiana University Foundation to explore the potential development of a Rural Center at the university that would address societal challenges faced by rural communities.
Developed with the support of planning grants from the Lilly Endowment in 2012 and 2013, the initiatives are part of the Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana, which was issued in November 2014.
"As the strategic plan for economic and community prosperity highlights, this region is fortunate to have a unique set of assets: strong life sciences, defense, and advanced manufacturing sectors; a world-class education and research institution in Indiana University; the third-largest Navy base in the world; and wonderful natural and entertainment amenities such as Brown County and French Lick," said Dan Peterson, vice president of industry and government affairs at Cook Group and chair of the steering committee that developed the plan. "These grants are a game changer for our region as we take strategies for success from concept to reality. The impact will be transformational for all those who live, work and invest in southwest-central Indiana."