FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Indianapolis – HVAF – Helping Veterans And Families – has received a grant of $4.7 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis. The grant will support HVAF’s Employment Program and will partner with Downtown Indy.
HVAF is one of 28 organizations being supported through Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis, an initiative designed to improve the livelihoods of individuals and families facing complex and varied challenges associated with poverty and financial insecurity.
The grant will be used to launch a workforce development program dubbed VetWorks: Veterans Workforce Renewing Knowledge and Skills. It will serve as a multi-phase, collaborative workforce development program to equip and train veterans experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness to obtain and maintain good and promising jobs in Central Indiana.
“We are grateful for, and humbled by, the vision and generosity of Lilly Endowment in supporting our VetWorks workforce development initiative,” HVAF President & CEO Brian Copes said. “The money will make a lasting positive difference in the lives of many veterans and, for the agency, earning the coveted ‘Lilly Endowment stamp of approval’ adds extraordinary value to our brand identity and reputation.”
HVAF’s VP for Operations, Bryan Dysert – along with Employment Coordinator Kiara Walker and the Employment Team – are excited to add more specialists to the team, create a new Employment Program, and set up Indiana’s veterans with long-term careers and the skills to be self-sufficient.
“We are truly honored and humbled at this award and are so excited at the impact this will make on the lives of so many of our veterans,” Dysert said, “We are extremely grateful to Lilly Endowment for giving us this opportunity and are excited to partner with so many agencies in our community to help our veterans. This is absolutely a team effort and our team remains as dedicated as ever to be great stewards of these resources in order to help our veterans achieve long-term stability in the workforce.”
Lilly Endowment launched Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis in 2019 because poverty and financial insecurity have been persistent challenges in Marion County. Research has indicated that around 20 percent of residents in the city have been living in poverty and an additional 20 percent have been living close to poverty and struggling to make ends meet.
“We are grateful for the tremendous response we received from the Indianapolis community during a time when organizations were called upon to significantly ramp up their existing programs and services in response to the acute needs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rob Smith, Lilly Endowment’s senior vice president for collaborative strategies. “We believe that the projects being funded through this initiative have the potential to improve the lives of a significant number of Indianapolis residents facing the challenges of poverty and financial insecurity.”
Through Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis, Lilly Endowment invited eligible organizations to consider how they would work comprehensively with other community partners and employers to help residents make progress toward achieving lasting economic self-sufficiency. Due to the number of high-quality proposals Lilly Endowment received and the compounding challenges COVID-19 brought to bear on already vulnerable individuals and families, Lilly Endowment nearly doubled its initial funding commitment to more than $93 million.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it 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. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.
Helping Veterans And Families (HVAF) helps homeless veterans return to self-sufficiency and engages at-risk veterans and their families to prevent them from becoming homeless by providing supportive housing, case management, employment support, and basic needs including food, hygiene and clothing. In 2020, HVAF served 1,453 veterans and provided over 33,000 life-changing services.