No. 15: Lilly Endowment

Areas in which grants are given are community development, education and religion.

UNITED STATES - £211m

The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company was founded in 1876 by Colonel Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly and Company was the first to mass-produce penicillin, the Salk polio vaccine, and insulin. Lilly is also the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of psychiatric medications such as Prozac.

When Eli Lilly died in 1898, three subsequent members of the family – J.K. Lilly Senior and his sons Eli and J.K. Junior – founded Lilly Endowment in 1937 with gifts of stock in the pharmaceutical company, operating as a private family foundation.

The founders of the Endowment believed strongly that they wanted to “give back” to the city and state that had been so good to them in their business operations, Indianapolis and Indiana.

Generally, 70 per cent of the grants paid each year go to charitable organisations in the state. Areas in which grants are given are community development, education and religion.

In November, the Lilly Endowment announced £660m in grants to 14 Indiana and Indianapolis-based arts and cultural groups to support initiatives that strengthen each organisation’s long-term financial well-being.

Recipients include the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Indianapolis Zoo.

There is also an Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, established in 1968. This foundation awards grants for philanthropic initiatives dedicated to improving the lives of people who lack the resources to obtain quality healthcare, and to strengthening public education in the United States.