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Lilly Endowment’s Strengthening Youth Programs Invites Applications from Across the State

With its announcement last month that it would make available up to $45 million to bolster eligible youth-serving organizations in the state, Lilly Endowment Inc. has started an exciting chapter in its history of supporting youth-serving programs and helping youth and families, especially those that face compelling challenges. Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana (SYPI) focuses on advancing the academic, physical, and social development of Indiana children and youth, ages five through eighteen. With a statewide call for requests for proposals, this competitive initiative is a unique opportunity for countless programs that serve Hoosier kids.

The Endowment’s website and the Request for Proposals (RFP) outline the eligibility criteria, the funding considerations, and details on how to apply. This initiative is grounded in an awareness that the COVID-19 pandemic, in many ways, made the work of youth-serving organizations more difficult. SYPI will fund youth-serving organizations through broad categories of program grants, capacity-building grants, and capital grants.

It is important to note that SYPI RFP has a section outlining its Priorities & Special Focus. The following list of priorities is taken directly from the RFP:

  • Enhancing the welfare and safety of youth.
  • Identifying and addressing the social and emotional needs of youth.
  • Delivering educational experiences for youth that supplement classroom learning.
  • Developing character traits and leadership skills in youth.
  • Providing safe and enriching out-of-school time learning environments for youth.

And the SYPI initiative is stated to have a special focus on youth who:


  • Youth who are in low-income households,
  • Are members of communities of color, or
  • Are from immigrant families and
  • Youth who lack adult supervision and protection, or
  • Are or have been exposed to trauma or other adverse childhood experiences.

Indiana Youth Institute is honored and excited to be part of SYPI, offering information, support, and assistance for organizations applying for this grant. Our efforts will include two upcoming virtual information sessions, during which we will walk through the application and share answers to many of the questions that are quickly rolling in. The two live sessions are scheduled for:

Tuesday, February 14 | SYPI Information Webinar | 11 am EST

Tuesday, February 21 | SYPI Webinar | 2 pm EST

Both events are free and open to all. Given the interest in SYPI, we encourage organizations to register as soon as possible by going to www.iyi.org/strengtheningyouth/ .

In mid-March we will hold three regional grant summits, one each in northern, central, and southern Indiana. These summits will combine expert training and hands-on time for organizational teams to work on their proposals. The specific dates and times will be posted on the IYI website in the near future.

Finally, IYI will be hosting local clinics around the state. These convenings will take place in multiple locations between March 27 and April 14. The local clinics are intended to help applicants put the finishing touches on their applications, walking through the RFP requirements and offering best practices and support for building a strong proposal.

All of these supports are being offered free of charge. Our goal is to widely share information about SYPI. We want all eligible youth-serving organizations to feel invited to apply, comfortable with the application and its components and supported in building their application.

Youth-serving organizations across our state provide our kids with incredible and vital services each and every day. The challenges they face – including being asked to address increasingly complex needs with too little time and resources – are widely known and deeply felt. We hope that SYPI will enable eligible organizations to visualize their ideal service model, reach, and impact. Our kids need and deserve us all leaning into this exceptional grant opportunity.



About the Indiana YouthInstitute :

For over three decades, Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) has supported the youth services field through innovative trainings’, critical data, and capacity-building resources, aiming every effort at increasing the well-being of all children. To learn more about IYI, visit www.iyi.org, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.