INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has launched the seventh phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiative. The organization plans to award a total of $125 million to community foundations throughout the state to help them better serve the towns, cities and counties they support.

The GIFT Initiative was established in 1990. It has two components: Matching Fund Grants, which total $76.1 million in funding in this phase, and Community Leadership Grants, which total $48.9 million.

Eligible community foundations can apply for Matching Fund Grants between $500,000 and $4 million. The size of the grants will vary based on the population of the counties the community foundations serve. The endowment says these grants are designed to encourage residents and others to "give generously to grow community foundation endowments and to fund local community needs." 

Community foundations can also apply for planning grants between $50,000 and $200,000 through the Community Leadership Grants component. These grants are designed to help foundations "deepen their understanding of key challenges and opportunities in their communities and then prioritize the ones they are best positioned to address." The endowment says grants of $100,000 to $500,000 will then be awarded to help implement those plans. 

"In the 28 years since GIFT began, community foundations have demonstrated their ability to inspire imagination, generosity and commitment among local residents, donors and volunteers," said Rob Smith, vice president for community development at Lilly Endowment. "Changing economic and cultural dynamics are presenting both significant challenges and important opportunities for Indiana communities. With GIFT VII, we seek to help community foundations raise resources and further enhance their ability to lead collaborative efforts to improve the quality of life for their residents."

You can learn more about the initiative and the eligibility requirements for applying for the grants by clicking here.