The Lilly Endowment, Inc. has announced a $66 million initiative to help community foundations in Indiana raise funds for their unrestricted endowments and organize their operations for greater sustainability.
In the sixth phase of its nearly twenty-five-year-old Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow program, the endowment will provide grants of up to $2 million to community foundations, with awards in support of unrestricted endowments and for purposes selected by the foundation. At least half of each Phase VI grant must be dedicated to the community foundation's unrestricted endowment. In addition, the program will match unrestricted endowment grants from community foundation board members on a two-to-one basis to encourage greater board engagement and giving. The matching period will begin on August 1, 2014, and end on March 31, 2016.
Since its inception, GIFT has provided grants totaling $258 million and helped increase the number of community foundations and county affiliates in the state from roughly a dozen in 1990 to ninety-four today. Over the same period, the aggregate value of the assets at Indiana community foundations that participated in GIFT has increased to nearly $2 billion from about $30 million.
"The success of Indiana’s community foundations over the intervening years has far exceeded the endowment's expectations when GIFT began," said Ace Yakey, the Lilly Endowment's vice president for community development. "These impressive results would not have been achieved without the imagination, generosity, commitment, and leadership of thousands of donors, volunteers, and foundation staff members throughout the state. We are amazed at the Hoosier philanthropic spirit."