Lilly Endowment Awards Southeast Community Services $5 Million Grant

Southeast Community Services (SECS) is pleased to announce we have received a grant of $5 million as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s commitment to helping human service organizations that strive to improve the lives of low-income individuals and families and strengthen their communities in Indianapolis and throughout the state. This $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will strengthen Southeast Community Services and enable our organization to provide vital services to disadvantaged residents in southeast Indianapolis now and into the future.

Our service area stretches 30 miles beyond Fountain Square. Our residents need us. With 15 percent of our population living in poverty and a 9 percent unemployment rate—more than double that of the state’s unemployment rate—the grant will enable us continue working with residents to improve their financial security and wellbeing.

While this is by far the biggest gift SECS has received, the majority of the grant will not support day-to-day operations or create new programming.  We are grateful to have the “safety net” of an endowment and ongoing development program. This grant allows us to look forward confidently knowing that SECS will be here for those in need even in an unpredictable economy. Southeast Community Services has a comprehensive plan for the funds including:

  • Eighty percent of the $5 million grant will be used to establish an endowment for Southeast Community Services;
  • Approximately $500,000 will be used for facility and technology upgrades to the Community Center on Shelby St., and to acquire the adjacent Youth Center and nearby properties that we use for urban gardening/green space programs;
  • We will also hire a new development position who can work with individual and corporate donors through our growing annual fund program and establish a “rainy day” fund for operating expenses and ongoing programs;

Lilly Endowment is making a total of $100 million in grants to 15 organizations through this initiative to help them enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures. Many of the organizations will use their grants to establish endowments or fortify an existing endowment so they can have more flexibility and greater capacity to work strategically.

These grants complement the Endowment’s regular support for human service organizations, including grants to the United Way of Central Indiana.  We thank the Endowment for their generosity and support of our neighborhood and communities across Indianapolis.

Southeast Community Services has assisted residents in southeast Indianapolis for 45 years (since 1972). Our mission is “to work together to serve, strengthen, and support our neighbors.” We build community, assist residents, and encourage them to become leaders themselves. We are an organization that provides our neighbors resources in employment, education, and social services that lead to positive change in their lives and in the community.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment is primarily committed to the causes of community development, education and religion and has a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state, Indiana.

Author: Peggy Frame

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