Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation is a Lilly Endowment-funded grant initiative that strives to uplift the unique and important role that arts and cultural organizations and projects play in building strong communities. The initiative is designed to:

  • Enhance the quality of life in Indianapolis
  • Bolster Indianapolis’ image as a desirable place to live, work, play and visit
  • Foster a creative, energized and forward-thinking community

Through this initiative, the Endowment is making available grants totaling up to $25 million to support compelling projects that strengthen Indianapolis’ cultural vitality. We encourage eligible organizations to generate creative, new ideas of all sizes (from $7,500 to $10 million) that enhance our community’s quality of life, make Indianapolis a vibrant city to visit, and benefit those who live, work and play in Indianapolis.


Through this initiative, the Endowment expects to award grants totaling up to $25 million. The application deadline was Friday, March 30, 2018 at noon. Applications are no longer being accepted.


The majority of an applicant’s idea must be implemented within Marion County. Any Indiana-based public charity, or governmental department or agency described in the Request for Proposals was eligible to submit an application by the March 30, 2018 deadline. These organizations would include arts institutions, museums, zoos, schools, religious congregations, community centers, community foundations, and colleges and universities, among others.


As part of the application process, initial concept papers were due to the Endowment by Friday, March 30, 2018. Applications will be reviewed by Lilly Endowment staff and other reviewers selected by the Endowment. During the review process, the Endowment may determine that it may be beneficial to combine and/or coordinate ideas proposed in separate applications, and in such a case, may suggest collaborations among applicants.

For ideas with budgets of more than $50,000: In the late spring, applicants will receive notification of whether or not they are invited to submit a full proposal. Invited applicants will meet with Endowment staff to discuss their proposal preparation and then submit full proposals to the Endowment by Wednesday, August 15, 2018, at noon eastern standard time. Grant announcements for this group are anticipated to take place on or before December 31, 2018.

For ideas with budgets of $50,000 or less: The Endowment may make a funding decision based on a
charitable organization’s initial application or may request additional information and/or a meeting. Grant announcements may be made more quickly for these projects.


We are no longer accepting applications for this initiative. Other questions can be emailed to the Endowment at