The foremost spending priority of the Lilly Endowment is development of its home region around Indianapolis. It has, for instance, awarded $172 million to the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership since the creation of that nonprofit in 1988. Indeed, Lilly has recently covered $5.3 million of the organization’s annual budget of $9.5 million. INHP funds are mostly used to help moderate-income buyers purchase residences in the city—where vacant homes and blight have been a problem. The Indianapolis Star found in 2015 that there were 6,800 abandoned houses in the urban area, stressing some neighborhoods.
The Housing Partnership has long wanted to have a fund it could use to buy up these houses when they become available, keep them from falling into disrepair, and then recycle them to new residents as they become qualified to buy. What’s really needed, says the nonprofit’s president, is “flexible, patient capital” that can be used to gradually transform neighborhoods.
In 2015, that wish came true. The Lilly Endowment made a special $27 million grant to INHP, above and beyond its annual support, for the charity to use as a property-acquisition fund in an anti-blight campaign.
- Reporting in the Indianapolis Star, indystar.com/story/money/2015/12/08/266m-lilly-endowment-grant-targets-blight-indianapolis/76977566/