United Way of Central Indiana has landed a $7 million grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to help efforts to battle family instability. The funding will boost the Great Families 2020 initiative, targeting "hot spots" in the city with low education levels and high rates of crime, poverty and unemployment. The grant comes a week after outgoing Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter and his wife Sarah committed $5 million to UWCI, which was matched by the Lilly Foundation.
The initiative will focus on neighborhoods identified as areas of need by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The funding will support postsecondary education, work force development, early childhood education, financial support and health and well-being services for families living in poverty.
The organization says the funding will go directly to communities "overwhelmingly populated by high-need households." UWCI says, in the targeted neighborhoods, roughly 40 percent of families are below the federal poverty level, and about 25 percent of adult residents do not have a high school diploma. With the new funding for the Great Families 2020 initiative, the organization projects that 80 percent of young children will participate in early childhood education services and 60 percent of participating adults will achieve financial stability for their families.
In a release, UWCI CEO Ann Murtlow said, "We’re thrilled to be able to put this significant grant into the neighborhoods with the most need, in order to drive transformational change in our community. Funds from SIF will help more children enter kindergarten ready to learn, help more parents acquire the skills needed to be successful in the workforce, and make more support available to families who are trying to achieve self-sufficiency."
UWCI will take the funding to hold an open competition in the next several months to select other organizations to receive sub-grants of at least $100,000.
Last week’s donation from the Lechleiters is the largest individual donation in UWCI’s 98-year history. At the time, Murtlow said she hoped the gift would inspire others to become engaged in the organization’s efforts.