Lilly Endowment Pumping $42M Into Southwest Central Indiana

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The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County is among the key players involved in the region-wide efforts. The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County is among the key players involved in the region-wide efforts.

Three grants totaling $42 million from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. will boost regional development efforts in the southwest central part of the state. The funding will support initiatives in 11 counties, including the establishment of Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. in Monroe County and an Applied Research Institute near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center. The region will also study potential development of a Rural Center at Indiana University.

The largest share of the funding will go toward Regional Opportunities Inc., which will be guided by a region-wide board of directors and affiliated with the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. The new nonprofit will receive nearly $26 million to carry out an education and work force plan and a fund targeted at quality of place investments.

A new Applied Research Institute is also in the works for the region because of nearly $16.3 million from the endowment. It will be funded through a grant from the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation and bring together leaders from Crane, research universities throughout the state and partners from the corporate and institutional communities. The CICP's other economic development initiatives are: AgriNovus Indiana, BioCrossroads, Central Indiana Workforce Development Initiative, Conexus Indiana, Energy Systems Network and TechPoint.

A $122,600 planning grant for the Indiana University Foundation will explore the possibility of a Rural Center at IU focusing on challenges found in rural communities.

Cook Group Vice President of Industry and Government Affairs Dan Peterson chairs the initiative's steering committee associated and says "these grants are a game changer for our region as we take strategies for success from concept to reality.?The impact will be transformational for all those who live, work and invest in Southwest Central Indiana."

The 11-county region includes Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties. It is home to signature assets such as Cook Group and its hundreds of highly-technical employees, Indiana University, the more than 2,000 workers at NSWC Crane, Brown County State Park and the French Lick Resort and Casino.

An event to detail the full scale of the grants is slated for early next year. You can connect to more information about the strategic planning committee in the region by clicking here.

The grant recipients plan to share more details with stakeholders and community leaders at an event to be organized in early 2016.

Cook Group Vice President of Industry and Government Affairs Dan Peterson chairs the steering committee associated with the initiative and says regional cooperation is "absolutely essential."
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