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IHS Announces Indiana Heritage Support Program

Dec. 15, 2014

Indianapolis—The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is pleased to announce the creation of its new Indiana Heritage Support Program, an initiative funded by a $3.43 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

During the next five years, IHS will provide $2.5 million in grants to Indiana’s local historical organizations. These will fund a wide variety of projects to help local organizations meet high-priority needs in areas of capacity building, collections stewardship, innovation and collaboration. The first round of grant applications will be accepted in late 2015 and the first grants will be awarded in the bicentennial year of 2016.

IHS will also hire a full-time fundraising educator, who will develop an educational fundraising program that will enhance the capability of organizations to raise money on their own, as well as offer support to local organizations through fundraising education workshops and ongoing grants coaching.

“This is one of the IHS’s proudest moments, because we know what these grants will mean to heritage organizations and their communities around the state,” said John A. Herbst, IHS president and CEO. “So many of these caretakers of our history are starved for resources, and they often labor for the cause with very limited support. At this holiday time, and as Indiana’s bicentennial approaches, it is our pleasure to present this gift to the state of Indiana.”

Although IHS and other statewide historical organizations have collected millions of items relating to Indiana’s past, several years of research (funded by multiple Institute of Museum and Library Services grants) reveal that the majority of the state’s heritage is actually in the care of local, county and regional historical societies, museums and historic sites.

More than 900 Indiana organizations hold collections that total more than 20 million historical objects and 424,000 linear feet of historical documents. Most of these organizations are private nonprofits that rely on volunteer leadership. Many face challenges that include governance issues, financial instability and lack of long-range planning.

“The Indiana Historical Society is poised to provide invaluable support to our state’s local heritage organizations,” said Ace Yakey, vice president for community development at Lilly Endowment. “As these organizations strengthen their operations they will become even better curators of a precious Indiana resource – our history.”

IHS has more than 35 years of experience supporting local historical organizations across Indiana through its Local History Services Department. Building on their commitment to training, workshops and consultations, staff in that division will administer the Indiana Heritage Support Program and coordinate its fundraising education initiative.

“Indiana's local history organizations work hard to preserve our heritage,” said Tamara Hemmerlein of IHS Local History Services, who has implemented several IMLS-funded collections stewardship and capacity-building projects at IHS. “The Indiana Heritage Grant Program will enable LHS to respond to major needs that have been identified. We are very excited about this opportunity to help these groups further their missions.”

For information on IHS, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org. 


About the Indiana Historical Society

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor exhibitions called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programming. The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of the IHS and the Indiana Experience, is located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. For more information, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family -- J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli -- through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company.  Although those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location.  In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.


For more information, images or to schedule an interview, contact Amy Lamb, Media Relations Manager, at

(317) 232-1878 or alamb@indianahistory.org.