Hear Indiana Receives $2.5 Million for Financial Sustainability

Contact: Naomi Horton, Executive Director                                                    


Hear Indiana has received a grant of $2.5 million under Lilly Endowment Inc.’s latest round of financial sustainability grants to central Indiana human services agencies.

This grant is one of 10 grants totaling $80 million that are designed to help agencies that serve persons with disabilities and vulnerable children and youth enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures. Lilly Endowment believes that the programs and services these agencies provide help central Indiana be a more caring community.

Hear Indiana will use the grant to establish an endowment, upgrade technology, and build capacity for the organization.

Hear Indiana empowers and supports individuals with hearing loss who listen and speak, and currently operates the Speech & Hearing Resource Center in partnership with Easterseals Crossroads. Through a network of integrated support at Hear Indiana, a child with hearing loss can begin his or her path to success. Hear Indiana provides intervention at the earliest possible moment, therapy to improve listening and speaking skills, up-to-date technology, advocacy for appropriate special education services, emotional support for children and parents, ongoing professional development, and educational workshops. The grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will help Hear Indiana improve outreach to more children with hearing loss across the state.

Executive director Naomi Horton says, “Hear Indiana is extremely humbled to be one of the ten organizations chosen. In our almost 50 years of existence, Hear Indiana has sought to meet the needs of Hoosier children with hearing loss and their families. We would like to thank Lilly Endowment Inc. for this wonderful opportunity to strengthen the long-term sustainability of our organization. It will allow Hear Indiana to serve deaf and hard of hearing children for years and years to come!”

This financial sustainability grant and the grants to the nine other agencies complement Lilly Endowment’s regular support of human services organizations through direct grants and grants to the United Way of Central Indiana. According to Lilly Endowment, these agencies are undercapitalized for the level of assistance they provide. Many of them rely on public sector support, and all of them look to philanthropy to help fund their efforts. They have a history of stretching every dollar at their disposal.

“The staff and leadership of these agencies work every day to help children, adults and families who are among the most vulnerable residents in central Indiana,” said Ace Yakey, the Endowment’s vice president for community development. “These grants don’t take the place of ongoing support for day-to-day operations. Instead, the funds will help the agencies build financial infrastructures that will position them better to weather financial challenges and serve more people more effectively.”

This grant was approved under the third round of grants Lilly Endowment has made since 2015 to support the long-term sustainability plans of charitable organizations based in central Indiana. In 2015, the Endowment made grants to 14 arts and cultural organizations totaling $100 million. In 2016, the Endowment made grants totaling $100 million to support the long-term sustainability plans of 15 human services organizations that are primarily focused on providing services in low-income neighborhoods in Indianapolis.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private family foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr., and his sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While these gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.