Five years ago, Lilly Endowment Inc. announced the seventh phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiative (GIFT VII). The purpose was to help Indiana community foundations strengthen the communities that we serve. The grant included matching dollars to build endowment funds, as well as community leadership grants to help community foundations deepen their understanding of key challenges and opportunities.

This grant brought hundreds of thousands of dollars to Scott County, and with the final grant report submitted in September, the Scott County Community Foundation (“SCCF”) would like to take the opportunity to report to the community on the progress and celebrate the successes:

  • Through the matching grant incentive, over $216,000 was made in donations to endowment funds. With Lilly Endowment matching dollars, this resulted in over $431,000 in permanent funds to benefit the community through grants and scholarships every year, forever.
  • SCCF partnered with Leadership Southern Indiana to expand their services to Scott County, enabling numerous Scott County representatives to participate in their leadership programs.
  • Scott County School Districts 1 and 2 received funding for early childhood education programs.
  • Lilly Endowment, along with the Jayce Ray Stallings Memorial Fund, provided funding for the first-ever StoryWalk installation in Scott County. This was followed by two other StoryWalk projects funded by the Beverly Crowell Memorial Scholarship Fund and Duke Energy Foundation.
  • For the first time in over 20 years, a Community Needs Assessment was conducted. This tool has been used countless times since to seek grants and help with community planning.
  • The Scott County Vision Plan was created as a tool to help the community with strategic planning around education, health and wellness, housing, economy, and more.
  • Through a board member engagement grant from Lilly Endowment, SCCF Board of Directors gave a Bicentennial gift to the community of a permanent Farmers’ Market pavilion.

“This has been an incredible opportunity for our residents,” said SCCF Executive Director Jaime Toppe. “This grant enabled Scott County to do so many impactful projects that we would not have had funding for otherwise. We are very grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for their generosity and commitment to Indiana community foundations.”

With this last phase ending, Lilly Endowment has launched the eighth phase of its GIFT initiative, allocating up to $210 million to help Indiana community foundations strengthen the quality of life in the towns, cities and counties they serve. The GIFT initiative is based upon Lilly Endowment’s longstanding belief that community foundations are uniquely positioned to play central roles in building the prosperity of communities throughout Indiana.

Through this new GIFT phase, Lilly Endowment has invited Scott County Community Foundation and other eligible Indiana community foundations to participate in three funding opportunities designed to help them grow their financial resources to enhance their effectiveness and promote long-term viability; further strengthen their abilities to lead on important community priorities; encourage board engagement; and support and develop strategic efforts to enhance quality of life in their communities. The grant opportunities include:

  • Matching Fund Grants, which will enable community foundations to develop unrestricted assets, implement projects and programs that address community needs, and build their internal capacity. Lilly Endowment has allocated up to $135.3 million for this opportunity.
  • Community Leadership Grants, which will enable community foundations to continue to seek input from a diverse range of community stakeholders and, if desired, request funding to develop and implement large-scale action plans that address high-priority challenges and opportunities in their communities. Additionally, community foundations can choose to work collaboratively to address shared priorities by submitting joint/regional proposal. Community Leadership Grants will be available in a two-phase process: a non-competitive planning phase and a competitive implementation phase. Lilly Endowment has allocated up to $65.5 million for this opportunity.
  • Board Engagement Grants, which will encourage board members of community foundations to make financial contributions to their foundations. Each community foundation demonstrating 100 percent board member giving will receive a $100,000 unrestricted grant. Lilly Endowment has allocated up to $9.2 million for this opportunity.

“We are so excited for this next round of GIFT funding opportunities,” said Toppe. “We look forward to announcing our plans for this phase upon receiving approval of our proposal from Lilly Endowment. Once again, these grants will have a long-lasting impact, allowing us to do critical work and award much-needed dollars to our community.”

GIFT is a series of statewide initiatives and programs that began in 1990 as part of Lilly Endowment’s efforts to help establish and strengthen community foundations in Indiana and build their capacity to address the needs of their local communities. The primary aim of GIFT is to help Indiana community foundations in all 92 of Indiana’s counties develop the philanthropic capacity to identify, prioritize and address local opportunities and challenges. To learn more about GIFT VIII, please visit

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K Jr. and Eli 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. Although the Endowment funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Scott County Community Foundation has been in existence since December 1996. Since awarding its first community grants totaling $50,000 in 1997, SCCF has been Scott County’s partner for positive change. Scholarships and grants totaling more than $6 million have made it possible for local students to attend college and for the diverse needs of our residents to be served. In addition, more than $13 million has been funneled to Scott County through the Community Foundation due to the generosity of Lilly Endowment. Projects that have been possible due to this funding include the CAPE educational initiatives, Lifelong Learning Center, Scott County Family YMCA, Scott County Clearinghouse, Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, recreational areas in Austin, Lexington, Scottsburg, and more. For more information, please call 812-752-2057, email or stop in the office at 60 N. Main St., Scottsburg. You may also visit