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 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.


This is a competitive grant initiative, and grants totaling up to $25 million will be awarded. We welcome ideas of all sizes (from $7,500 to $10 million) that meet the parameters outlined in the Request for Proposals.


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 is eligible to apply. These will include arts institutions, museums, zoos, schools, religious congregations, community centers, community foundations, and colleges and universities, among others. For more details about the eligibility requirements, please see the Request for Proposals.


The first stage of the application process is a request for a concept paper, due to the Endowment by Friday, March 30, 2018, at noon eastern standard time. The second stage of the application process will vary based on the size of the project. Announcement of grant awards greater than $50,000 is anticipated to take place on or before December 31, 2018. Announcements for grants with budgets $50,000 or less may be made earlier in the year.

Submitting Proposals

Proposals must be submitted through this website by Friday, March 30, 2018, at noon eastern standard time. Proposal documents, including optional video, must be submitted online below.

Further Information

Please see updated Frequently Asked Questions. Send additional questions about this grant program to

Arts Initiative Application

  • if applicable
  • Select question(s) that your application addresses.
  • A one-paragraph summary that should not exceed 150 words
  • Files to Upload (PDF preferred)

  • Drop files here or
    Concept Paper: A narrative document that helps us understand the idea and why it is compelling
  • Drop files here or
    Budget & Budget Narrative: The budget is a one-page document that details the costs associated with the idea. The budget narrative is an accompanying one-page document that describes each budget line item and explains how it was calculated.
  • Drop files here or
    Exempt Status Form and Federal Determination Letter: The exempt status form can be found in the resource section of this webpage. It should be signed by a responsible officer of your organization. The Endowment also needs a copy of your organization’s most recent IRS determination letter.
  • Drop files here or
    Letters of Support (optional): Applicants may submit up to five (5) brief letters of support from key partners.
  • Video Pitch (optional): A 90-second or less video that shares information about the idea. The video should be uploaded to Vimeo or other video sharing site.