Lilly Endowment awards $3 million grant to USO

The USO was founded in Feb. 1941 and served as GI's 'home away from home' during WWII.

The United Service Organizations, which helps to keep deployed U.S. military service members connected to their families, has received a $3 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.

The USO says the money will be used to help expand programs that have resulted from the healthcare crisis.

“The pandemic has amplified the hardships many of our service members and their families face every day,” said J.D. Crouch, USO chief executive officer and president.

The USO says the Lilly Endowment grant will allow it to develop or expand programs that deliver food and other basic resources to military families.

The organization says it will use some of the money to expand its transition services to help military personnel and their spouses to find work. It says pandemic-related business closures and hiring freezes have made it more challenging to find work, especially for families who relocate to a new community.

“Leveraging years of experience supporting service members and their families, the USO is working diligently during the pandemic to address a range of compelling needs,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “We are pleased to support their efforts to help members of the military and their families who give so much of themselves in service to our nation during these difficult times.”

The grant will also enable the USO to continue expanding its global offering of virtual entertainment and online programming for military kids and spouses.