Indiana Legal Services Receives $7.5 Million Sustainability Grant from Lilly Endowment

Indiana Legal Services, Inc. (ILS) received a $7.5 million dollar grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to improve the organization’s long-term sustainability. The grant includes funds for a multi-million-dollar endowment and for sustainability projects connected with ILS’s law practice, governance, fundraising, IT and other administration, and equity and racial justice efforts.

ILS is Indiana’s only statewide provider of free civil legal assistance to low-income Hoosiers. In 2023, ILS provided assistance in 15,591 cases in households containing more than 36,000 people. Last year, ILS’s statewide outcomes included preventing 835 evictions, expunging or sealing 454 criminal records, and obtaining citizenship for 25 people.

The grant will allow ILS to establish an endowment, bolster its cash reserves, and fund projects relating to organizational sustainability. Indiana Legal Services is one of three Indiana legal aid organizations receiving grants to help them strengthen long-term financial sustainability. 

“These grants are designed to help the organizations build long-term financial strength so they can better weather unexpected funding challenges as they continue to provide vital legal assistance to Indiana residents,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “The grants are not intended to fund ongoing operating support, which organizations must have to meet the day-to-day needs of the people they serve. In fact, we hope these grants can inspire others to invest in the important work of these legal aid organizations.”

“This sustainability grant allows ILS to create its first endowment. The gift delivers resources which help to ensure our organization’s ability to serve Hoosiers with civil legal needs for generations to come,” said LaDonna Sims, ILS Board President.

“We’re delighted to receive Lilly Endowment’s vote of confidence in our work. This grant recognizes the vital role our legal assistance can play in changing the lives of our clients across the state,”said Jon Laramore, ILS’s Executive Director. 

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About Indiana Legal Services, Inc:
Indiana Legal Services, Inc. (ILS) is a not-for-profit law firm and the largest provider of free civil legal assistance to eligible low-income people in Indiana. ILS helps clients in all 92 counties who are faced with legal problems that harm their ability to obtain basic needs such as food, shelter, income, medical care, or personal safety. ILS handles cases involving family law where there is domestic violence, housing, consumer law, expungement of criminal convictions, access to health care, and access to government benefits. ILS does not handle any criminal matters. Our mission is “to use the law to fight poverty and racism, empower clients, and improve access to justice.” Learn more at www.indianalegalservices.org. For legal help, go to https://www.indianalegalservices.org/applyonline/

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private 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. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. Although the Endowment maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana, it also funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion.