INDIANAPOLIS - Lilly Endowment Inc. is launching a new initiative it says will provide a total of up to $50 million in grants in 2020.  Enhancing Opportunity aims to help people in Indianapolis living in or near poverty make progress toward lasting economic self-sufficiency.

The Endowment is inviting human services agencies, congregations and other faith-based organizations, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, neighborhood organizations, arts and culture organizations and other public charities to apply for funding under the initiative.

 “In recent years, an average of 180,000 Indianapolis residents annually have experienced the challenges of poverty, with many struggling to meet even their basic needs,” said Rob Smith, the Endowment’s senior vice president for collaborative strategies. “A sustained, community-wide response is needed to help them overcome these challenges. Fortunately, our city has a history of coming together to address challenges and pursue opportunities, and we hope that this initiative can tap into that community spirit.”

The project will launch in two stages. In the first stage, interested applicants will submit paperwork detailing their ideas, programs or strategies that address the goal of the initiative by March 27. Organizations can request from $50,000 to $10 million in funding to be used for a grant period of up to five years.

The second stage will review the concepts and invite organizations that have submitted the most feasible ideas to submit full proposals by August 31.

The Endowment says it expects to make grant announcements by December 31, 2020.