The Lilly Endowment announced Thursday it will open a $50 million grant initiative to assist Indianapolis residents living in poverty.
Endowment leaders said they developed the initiative after U.S. Census data showed nearly 20% of Marion County residents — roughly 180,000 people in total — are facing poverty.
“With that kind of information it was pretty clear that the quality of life of many people in our city is not what it needs to be for Indianapolis to be a strong and vibrant city,” said Judith Cebula, communications director for the Lilly Endowment.
Community organizations can apply for grants ranging between $50,000 and $10 million. Those interested in partnering with the endowment will undergo two rounds of applications throughout 2020.
Leaders behind initiative are seeking plans that address at least one of four priorities. The first two priorities center on securing promising jobs and supporting children and youth through training, mentorship and education.
The third priority asks organizations to create plans to assist populations who face added barriers to economic stability, including individuals with disabilities, youth aging out of foster care and the formerly incarcerated. A fourth priority focuses on how Marion County neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty might be better supported through local resources like affordable housing and expanded access to food.
In addition to creating programs that advance these priorities, Cebula said the organizations that receive grants should strive to connect with the communities they serve.
“If we have great ideas to help people who are struggling in poverty or with economic insecurity, we really do need to make sure that the people who could be affected by it are listened to and understood,” Cebula said.
Initial applications are due in March 2020. Read more about the initiative here.