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One Million Dollar Lilly Endowment Inc. Grant to Fund Wellness Initiative

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A $1 million grant from Indianapolis-Indiana based Lilly Endowment Inc. will fund Taylor University’s Invitation Health & Wellness Program: A Preventive Medicine Approach to Pre-Medicine and Pre-Allied Health Education. The grant was part of an overall $ 108 million statewide initiative, Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities.

According to Dr. Paige Comstock Cunningham, Interim President at Taylor University, the Invitation program is focused on preparing students for graduate work in health care fields with a focus on chronic disease prevention practiced in unique community clinics.

“Now, perhaps more than ever, as the country seeks to recover from the effects of COVID-19 and communities seek to prepare for future events where pharmacological treatments have not yet developed, we believe a focus on preventive medicine and reducing chronic illness is the best line of defense,” Cunningham said.

This implementation grant was awarded under the second phase of Lilly Endowment’s three-phase Charting the Future initiative. In this phase, Lilly Endowment invited proposals that present promising strategies that will result in economies of scale and other cost efficiencies to enhance the viability and financial condition of the institutions and prepare graduates for rewarding employment and to live engaged and meaningful lives, especially in Indiana. Grants under a third phase, which is competitive, will be awarded in 2021. Those grants will support collaborative efforts that seek to have large-scale impact on the ability of higher education institutions in Indiana to fulfill their educational missions.

In a press release announcing the initiative, the Endowment said grants went to each of the 38 accredited public and private colleges and universities in Indiana and range from $1 million to $5 million based on the size of student enrollment at each school, and will fund a wide array of programs.

Cunningham said Taylor’s Invitation program aligns with the Endowment’s Charting the Future goals in that it helps:

  • Prepare graduates who are better prepared for rewarding employment and to live engaged and meaningful lives, especially in Indiana;
    1. The Invitation program at Taylor University will attract and prepare graduates to enter healthcare, meeting a significant employment need in the state.
  • Result in economies of scale and other cost efficiencies or otherwise enhance the viability and financial condition of the institution;
    1. Taylor’s proposal has an implementation timeline, which allows the program to be not only financially sustainable, but also revenue-generating in three years.
  • And enable the institution to furthermore effectively its educational mission in innovative or different ways;
    1. The Invitation Program and accompanying wellness initiatives are mission fits at Taylor, enabling Taylor to express its mission innovatively, both on campus and in our surrounding communities.

“These are challenging times for colleges and universities, made more so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher education leaders recognize that they have to adapt to the changing demographics of undergraduate students, the importance of technology in education and the ever-growing need for students to be career-ready upon graduation,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s Vice President for Education. “Leaders here in Indiana are responding to these and other challenges with thoughtful, strategic and collaborative approaches that we believe can improve the financial sustainability of the institutions and the educational experiences of their students.”

“We are grateful to our friends and colleagues at the Lilly Endowment, Inc., for their long-standing and transformative commitment to preserve and advance higher education in the State of Indiana,” said Cunningham. “This consequential grant will give our students unparalleled learning opportunities, and live out our mission for the benefit of our local community.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.