Lilly Endowment Awards $49M Arts and Cultural Grants

Lilly Endowment Awards $49M Arts and Cultural Grants

Inspired by the community’s tremendous creativity and its collaborative spirit, Lilly Endowment has approved nearly $49 million in grants to fund 17 projects through its Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation initiative.

The grants – ranging from $49,000 to $9.2 million – will support efforts to beautify public places, revitalize historic landmarks, increase access to the arts – including for people with disabilities – and infuse new arts experiences in neighborhoods throughout the city. There are 18 organizations receiving grants for 17 projects that will be implemented in collaboration with more than three dozen other organizations. Grant recipients include a museum, schools, parks and cultural institutions, neighborhood community centers, social service organizations and government agencies.

The Endowment launched this competitive arts initiative in January, inviting Indiana-based charitable organizations to propose ideas that would use the arts to foster community building in Indianapolis. The initiative encouraged organizations to collaborate across sectors, but at least one partnering organization needed to have the promotion of arts and culture as its primary mission. At least one partnering organization needed to be based in Marion County. Also, the Endowment stipulated that most of a proposed project’s activities be implemented within Marion County.

Organizations could seek grants ranging from $7,500 to $10 million, which could be for short-term efforts or projects that have lasting impact over many years.

When the initiative opened, the Endowment planned to award grants totaling $25 million. In total, 226 creative ideas were submitted. Many of the proposed projects reflected a commitment to collaboration and were deeply rooted in improving the quality of life for residents across Indianapolis. They demonstrated a strong understanding of how arts and cultural experiences can be powerful tools for community development.

The Endowment received so many creative and promising proposals that it decided to nearly double the amount of money dedicated to the initiative. A total of $48.9 million in grants will support the projects.

“We were impressed not just by the number of proposals we received but also by the applicants’ collaborative spirit, imagination and energetic desire to make Indianapolis a more vibrant and engaging community,” said Rob Smith, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “We believe that the projects funded through this initiative will significantly enhance the quality of life for residents and create compelling new experiences for visitors.”

The projects receiving funding will begin to take shape in 2019.

The Endowment has an 80-year history of supporting arts and cultural organizations based in Indianapolis. This grantmaking furthers the Endowment’s broader goals of making Indianapolis a more appealing place to live, work and visit.

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