Lilly Foundation Partners With United Way To Expand Pre-K, Disease Prevention

Feb 19, 2016

Credit Eli Lilly and Company / Facebook

The philanthropic arm of drug maker Eli Lilly is increasing its public backing of the United Way. The Lilly Foundation announced a new partnership with the United Way that will extend to the charity’s international work on disease eradication.

Within Indiana, Lilly Foundation president Rob Smith says they’ll work to expand pre-kindergarten opportunities and the United Way’s 211 phone hotline service.

“Given the needs in our community, the demand on 211 is quite high,” Smith says. “And it will go beyond just the ability of just private philanthropy to support.”

Smith says they hope to be able to increase the donations going to United Way both through Lilly employees and the foundation, but also outside sources. Lilly is already one of the United Way of Central Indiana’s largest backers.

Smith says the United Way is uniquely positioned to tackle the complex problems of early childhood education.

“For example, what we did locally with United Way last year to pass a pre-K program in Indianapolis I think is the ideal illustration of how we want to collaborate with United Way and others to drive measurable impact,” Smith says.

Lilly and the United Way will lobby for a $20 million preschool scholarship program. And they’ll advocate funding a statewide pre-K program.