Funding will benefit BBBSCI’s financial future, ignite the inherent potential of Central Indiana kids

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) has received a grant of $7.5 million under Lilly Endowment Inc.’s latest round of financial sustainability grants to central Indiana charitable organizations.

This grant is one of 13 grants totaling $54.7 million that are designed to help organizations that serve children and youth in central Indiana enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures.

Of the $7.5 million grant to BBBSCI, $7.1 million will be placed in an endowment fund to support strategic initiatives including technology upgrades, employee recruitment and retention efforts, and new fundraising initiatives that will enable the organization to sustain and strengthen its service. The remainder will be used to fund critical strategic projects to be completed between 2020 and 2022.  Traditional fundraising to ensure continuation and quality of core services of the agency will continue.

A nonprofit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana defends, empowers, and ignites the inherent potential of youth through one-to-one mentoring relationships. The largest youth mentoring program in Central Indiana, BBBSCI will serve 1,400 children ages eight-18 in Marion, Hamilton, and Johnson counties this year.

“This grant will help Big Brothers Big Sisters invest in priorities that sustain and enhance our services long into the future.  We will continue all fundraising efforts to support our annual operating budget and provide our core services, but this grant encourages us to advance innovation, improvement, and efficiency efforts that will strengthen not only our organization, but more importantly, our impact on young people in our community,” said Darcey Palmer-Shultz, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana.

“The grant is designed to help Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana build long-term financial strength and resiliency so that it can better weather unexpected and adverse funding changes,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “The grant is not intended to fund ongoing operating support that is essential to meet the day-to-day needs of the children and youth they serve. In fact, we hope our grant helps Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana attract additional support for this important work.”

This is the fifth group of grants Lilly Endowment has made since 2015 that support the long-term sustainability plans of charitable organizations based in central Indiana. Through this effort, Lilly Endowment has made grants totaling nearly $383 million to 62 organizations.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana has a long history of continuous improvement and innovation aimed at strengthening our program and impact for youth,” Palmer-Shultz said. “We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for this opportunity and inspired by what we believe it will help us accomplish for local kids and families.”

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private family foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr., and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana is based in Indianapolis and serves youth and families who reside in Marion, Hamilton, and Johnson counties through one-to-one mentoring relationships with adult volunteers.  The Big Brothers Big Sisters vision is that all youth achieve their full potential. To fulfill that vision, the mission of BBBSCI is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.  This year, BBBSCI will defend the potential of local youth through 1,400 mentoring relationships.  To volunteer, donate, or for more information, visit or call (317) 921-2201.

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