Foster Success Receives Lilly Endowment Funding

Five-Year Grant Will Enable Nonprofit to Launch New Workforce Engagement Program

Foster Success (formerly Indiana Connected By 25) is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.768 million, five-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis. The funding will be used to launch an innovative workforce engagement program to support former and current foster care teens and young adults and help them find and maintain employment. 

The need for employment programs designed specifically for teens and young adults who have experienced foster care is significant. Only 51 percent of foster youth report being employed at age 21, compared to 61 percent of their non-foster care peers.

Foster Success intends to launch the program later this year. The goal is to assist more than 200 young people over the five-year grant period find and succeed in stable, good-paying jobs.            

“The Fostering Careers Initiative (FCI) will ensure young people aging out of foster care have a clear path to reliable and promising jobs,” said Foster Success President and CEO Dr. Maggie Stevens. “We are grateful for Lilly Endowment’s support to help us meet the needs of our community’s older foster youth. The Fostering Careers Initiative will help these teens and young adults overcome hurdles to employment and put them on a path to stability and success.”

Foster Success is one of 28 organizations being supported through Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis, an initiative designed to improve the livelihoods of individuals and families facing complex and varied challenges associated with poverty and financial insecurity.

“We are grateful for the tremendous response we received from the Indianapolis community during a time when organizations were called upon to significantly ramp up their existing programs and services in response to the acute needs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rob Smith, Lilly Endowment’s senior vice president for collaborative strategies.

“We believe that the projects being funded through this initiative have the potential to improve the lives of a significant number of Indianapolis residents facing the challenges of poverty and financial insecurity.”

Lilly Endowment launched Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis in 2019 because poverty and financial insecurity have been persistent challenges in Marion County. Research has indicated that around 20 percent of residents in the city have been living in poverty and an additional 20 percent have been living close to poverty and struggling to make ends meet.

Through Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis, Lilly Endowment invited eligible organizations to consider how they would work comprehensively with other community partners and employers to help residents make progress toward achieving lasting economic self-sufficiency. Due to the number of high-quality proposals Lilly Endowment received and the compounding challenges COVID-19 brought to bear on already vulnerable individuals and families, Lilly Endowment nearly doubled its initial funding commitment to more than $93 million.

In addition to the funding from Lilly Endowment, Inc., Foster Success partnered with nonprofit organizations, corporate partners and national foster youth employment leaders to bring this program to fruition. Partners include Project Azul, Foster Forward, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, IU Health’s Mosaic Center, Relevant Technologies and Chamberlin/Dunn, LLC.

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 developmenteducation 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.

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