Lilly Endowment approves Johnson County Community Foundation for $500,000 Large-Scale Leadership Grant

Published: January 5, 2021 by Gail Richards, president & CEO

The Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF) has received a Large-Scale Community Leadership Grant of $500,000 through the seventh phase of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT VII) initiative. This grant will support efforts to expand the newly launched Johnson County Employer Resource Network (ERN), a nationally tested program that places success coaches in the workplace of participating companies. The success coach is a confidential resource that employees can access on a predictable, ongoing basis. Success coaches serve as a direct conduit to community resources that provide relief for many issues including reliable transportation, workplace conflict, childcare, housing challenges, family challenges, etc. While the focus is on entry-level and low-wage employees, the services are available to all who work for ERN member companies. The future expansion includes wrap-around services to employees of member companies that dovetail with internal recruitment and retention strategies.

JCCF is one of 11 community foundations in Indiana to receive a Large-Scale Leadership Grant as part of a competitive component of the GIFT VII initiative. Through GIFT VII, Lilly Endowment encouraged Indiana’s community foundations to deepen their understanding of the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing their local communities, prioritize them and develop plans to address the challenges and opportunities. The Large-Scale Leadership Grants are in addition to non-competitive GIFT VII Community Leadership Grants that Lilly Endowment made earlier this year to 87 of Indiana’s community foundations. JCCF received a $200,000 leadership grant in September.

“When I received the call from Lilly Endowment that we were one of 11 community foundations in the state to be chosen for the large-scale grant opportunity, I was thrilled,” said Gail Richards, President & CEO. During the process of our research for the $200,000 leadership grant to start the ERN, it became apparent that wrap-around services such as childcare, legal consultation, transportation, etc., were oftentimes either not available locally or inadequate to keep an employee working for an employer. In addition, there are employees who lose external assistance if they make too much money or benefits from their employer thus creating turnover in businesses. Recruitment and retention was an issue in Johnson County before the pandemic and is even more widespread now. Each recruitment challenge or turnover issue costs companies thousands of dollars per year. Our goal, with this program, is to assist employers to recruit and retain employees for the long-term.”

“The 11 grants Lilly Endowment is funding through the highly-competitive component of GIFT VII hold great promise of helping community foundations strengthen the leadership roles they play in improving the quality of life for their communities’ residents,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “We are truly impressed by the collaborative projects these community foundations have developed to address the compelling needs they have prioritized and look forward to seeing the impact of their efforts in the years to come.”

Established 30 years ago, JCCF is a local nonprofit organization providing donors a simple, powerful and highly personal approach to giving—so their gifts do good works within the community, forever. JCCF meets the nation’s highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, integrity and accountability. The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations Program requires community foundations to document policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. Since established, JCCF has made grants and scholarships of over $22 million and manages $32 million in assets.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it 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. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

A special thanks to our Platinum Community Partners!

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