National Urban League announces new initiative supported by $100 million Lilly Endowment grant to help Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On Wednesday, the National Urban League announced a new Indianapolis African American Equality of Life Renewal Initiative.

According to the organization, the new initiative was formed in order to address the challenges faced by African Americans in Indianapolis. Additionally, the organization will encourage collaboration between the National and Indianapolis Urban League as well as local organizations working to address those challenging conditions.

“We are excited to work alongside the African American Coalition in administering this generous place-based grant, provided by Lilly Endowment to the National Urban League. This grant will ignite, strengthen, and build upon numerous established collaborations while affording newly discovered opportunities within our community – all grounded in a common goal of improving the quality of life of African American residents in our community; from strengthening education (early childhood to life-long learning), individual growth and family stability, public health, access to affordable housing, workforce development and employment to Black business development and entrepreneurship, and renewed civic engagement – as big as we can collectively dream,” said the Indianapolis Urban League President and CEO Tony Mason.

“This initiative represents an historic opportunity to build a model for other communities to emulate,” said National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial. “The economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought unprecedented destruction on Black urban communities, many of which never recovered from the Great Recession, and it will take an unprecedented approach to rebuild and revitalize them. This initiative will seek to combine the resources, infrastructure, expertise and passion of the Indianapolis public, private and civic institutions in a way that could have a profound effect not only on Indianapolis’ economic future, but the national recovery.”

Funds may be used for programs, services as well as community projects meant to address the challenges of the Indianapolis African American community.

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“The African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI), a collaboration of more than 20 African American civic, religious, social, professional and human service organizations, appreciates this unique opportunity to deepen our partnership with the Indianapolis Urban League and the National Urban League to mobilize against persistent conditions that destroy hope and promise for individuals of all ages and their families within the African American community,” said African American Coalition of Indianapolis Chairman Willis K. Bright Jr.

The initiative is made possible due to a $100 million grant from Lilly Endowment.

For more information on the Indianapolis Urban League, click here.