'Y' Receives Lilly Foundation Donation

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A $5 million gift will boost a YMCA of Greater Indianapolis project. The Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation Inc. donation will help fund construction of a new full-service facility in the city's downtown. The project is a key element of the CityWay mixed-use development. February 26, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Six months after opening the new Avondale Meadows YMCA, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has moved a step closer to its vision of providing full-service YMCAs to three Indianapolis neighborhoods that have not had access to the life- and community-changing resources the Y offers.

A $5 million gift from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation to the YMCA's Strengthening the Heart of the City Campaign specifically targets the second of the three facilities, the YMCA at CityWay, which would serve downtown and nearby underserved neighborhoods. Fundraising continues for the planned third location in Pike Township.

The Strengthening the Heart of the City Campaign is part of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis' effort to improve the overall health of the Indianapolis metropolitan area, which recently was ranked 45th out of 50 major U.S. cities for fitness. With a focus on bringing greater strength of spirit, mind and body to the city's residents, the Y has pledged itself to helping Indianapolis become one of the nation’s Top 10 healthiest cities by 2025.

A key part of the YMCA’s strategy is to bring full-service centers to underserved areas. It marked its first milestone in this effort with last fall's opening of the Avondale Meadows facility. Located in one of the city's most economically challenged neighborhoods, the facility quickly attracted area residents to its programs and services.

"The Avondale Meadows YMCA is a great example of how we're working to improve the city's overall health and wellness," said Eric J. Ellsworth, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. "Certainly, it offers a full-service health and fitness center, but that is complemented by the youth, family and community-service programs that make the YMCA more than just another workout facility."

In addition to sports and fitness programs, the Avondale Meadows YMCA offers family activities, homework assistance, childcare, parenting skills, an early learning center, nutrition consultations and more. Ellsworth pointed out that, while the YMCA is a membership organization, member fees only cover a portion of the costs of service programs the Y provides.

"We are thrilled about starting soon on the construction of the new YMCA at CityWay," added Ellsworth. "The community is anxious for these services and we believe this will be one of the most successful downtown YMCAs in the country."

Mayor Gregory Ballard applauded the broad support for the YMCA. “No organization other than the YMCA has the reach, expertise and facilities to make a difference in so many lives in this city,” said the mayor. “We’re delighted to see the Y reaching into new neighborhoods, because good things follow wherever the Y goes.”

Partnerships have played a key role in the progress of the Heart of the City Campaign effort so far. IU Health and HealthNet collaborated with the YMCA in the Avondale Meadows neighborhood, while Buckingham Properties, Franciscan St. Francis Health, Lilly and the City of Indianapolis have been instrumental in making the CityWay YMCA happen. The YMCA is seeking similar partnerships for its Pike Township project, as well as lead donors.

For more information about how to support the Y’s Strengthening the Heart of the City Campaign, visit www.OurCauseIsYou.org or contact Jim Wood, Chief Development Office, at 317-266-9622.

About the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis serves more than 200,000 people in diverse communities throughout greater Indianapolis. The YMCA brings together young and old, men and women, people of all faiths, backgrounds and incomes. Last year, the YMCA provided nearly $6 million in scholarships, subsidies and underwritten programs and community services in low-income neighborhoods. Through 13 locations and in collaboration with more than 200 churches, schools and other community groups and organizations, the YMCA is also able to extend its program opportunities throughout central Indiana and into the heart of urban neighborhoods. To donate or for more information about YMCA programs and services, visit www.OurCauseIsYou.org

Source: The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

Editor's Note - A previous post included a headline identifying Lilly Endowment as the funding agency. That has been corrected to Lilly Foundation.