Lilly Scholars Network Lead Forward Community Grants

Friday, November 20th, 2020 11:14am

By Lilly Scholars Network, news release

The Lilly Scholars Network is pleased to announce that grants totaling $22,812 were awarded to fund the initial projects.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - In collaboration with Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI), the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN) has selected 10 organizations around the state to receive the inaugural round of Lead Forward Community Grants (LFCG), which pair charitable organizations with a Lilly Endowment Community Scholar (or multiple scholars) in their Indiana communities. Organizations could apply for up to $2,500 in funding and scholars were encouraged to be part of the application process and to lead subsequent work on the projects.

The Lilly Scholars Network is pleased to announce that grants totaling $22,812 were awarded to fund the initial projects. The grant recipients selected in this inaugural round are:

  • Blue River Community Foundation, Shelby County
  • Early Learning Shelby County, Shelby County
  • enFocus, Inc., St. Joseph County
  • Fueled for School, Hamilton County
  • Headwaters Church, Allen County
  • Huntington County Community Foundation, Huntington County
  • Ripley County Community Foundation, Ripley County
  • Rush County Community Foundation, Rush County
  • Wabash College, Montgomery County
  • Warren County Community Foundation, Warren County

The Lilly Scholars Network, with funding to ICI from Lilly Endowment Inc. and oversight and support from ICI, works to engage Lilly Endowment Community Scholars in topics and with people focused on advancing Indiana’s future, inspire and equip the scholars to be active changemakers in their communities and cultivate meaningful connections.

“The Lead Forward Community Grants Program is rooted in one of the fundamental reasons for the Lilly Scholars Network - to help improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state,” said Isaac Janson, chair of the LSN Advisory Council and a 2002 scholar from St. Joseph County. “Scholars are known for their talent and community involvement. As a network, we believe scholars can identify potential for community improvements, have the energy and drive to test ideas, and can provide impetus and enthusiasm for trying new approaches to create positive change.

Project descriptions of the Fall 2020 LFCG recipients:

  • Wabash College, Montgomery County ($2,500)
    • Brief Description: Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse (WDPD) is a program at Wabash College founded on the belief that the core of democracy is the right of free expression. In partnership with the City of Crawfordsville and the Mayor’s Special Commission on Racial Equality will host a Community Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion.
    • Scholar Partner: Jeremy Wentzel, 2010 scholar from Brown County
  • Fueled for School, Hamilton County ($2,500)
    • Brief Description: Fueled for School is a meal program that provides Hamilton County youth with nutritious meals packs. Grant funds will help meet the nutritional needs of 300 food-insecure students during winter break school closures by purchasing and delivering nutritious food.
    • Scholar Partner: Pete Freeman II, 2014 scholar from Hamilton County
  • Early Learning Shelby County, Shelby County ($2,488)
    • Brief Description: On behalf of the Learning Diversity Through Reading program, books focused on diversity and inclusion will be purchased for six public preschools in the county.
    • Scholar Partner: Hope Fenton, 2006 scholar from Shelby County
  • Headwaters Church, Allen County ($2,500)
    • Brief Description: This project will comprise the first steps in a larger, ongoing project to serve up to 60 families annually by 2022 through a new nonprofit women’s and children’s homeless shelter in Ft. Wayne’s historic Wells Street Corridor. According to the Fort Wayne Area Planning Council on Homelessness, women who are likely to have children are underserved by current resources. In the short term, the impact will be indirect but will build momentum among collaborating individuals and organizations, including the church’s 1,000 members.
    • Scholar Partner: Gwendolyn Leininger, 2004 scholar from Rush County
  • Blue River Community Foundation, Shelby County ($2,487)
    • Brief Description: The foundation will host Friends of the Blue River inaugural volunteer cleanup day to help tackle the trash and invasive species along the Blue River Trail.
    • Scholar Partner: Lauren Ruble, 2008 scholar from Shelby County
  • Warren County Community Foundation, Warren County ($1,497)
    • Brief Description: The community foundation will help establish an ESL library at Seeger High School in Warren County.
    • Scholar Partner: Holli Beckett, 1999 scholar from Warren County
  • enFocus, Inc., St. Joseph County ($1,350)
    • Brief Description: enFocus, Inc. partners with local organizations to provide value on sponsor projects and give enFocus Fellows the tools to launch businesses or social ventures of their own. enFocus will work with the City of South Bend to host convenings for community stakeholders regarding the design of the South Bend Mid-Career Fellowship program.
    • Scholar Partners: Evelyn Bauman, 2012 scholar from Monroe County, and Andrew Wiand, 2007 scholar from St. Joseph County.
  • Huntington County Community Foundation, Huntington County ($2,490)
    • Brief Description: A speaker event featuring Elizabeth Friedman, who worked in cybersecurity, will be held at the Huntington County Public Library to inspire young women attendees to pursue an education and career in cybersecurity.
    • Scholar Partner: William Murray, 2015 scholar from Huntington County
  • Ripley County Community Foundation, Ripley County ($2,500)
    • Brief Description: To prepare teachers for the unique mental health challenges faced by students, this grant will expand on an existing training program for teachers launched by “Genesis: Pathways to Success,” an initiative of the Ripley County Community Foundation. The new modules will focus on Social Emotional Learning, Trauma, and Stress & Anxiety.
  • Rush County Community Foundation, Rush County ($2,500)
    • Brief Description: First5 Early Learning Coalition, a program of the Rush County Community Foundation, will spearhead a community-wide Diaper Pantry at area pantries and churches.
    • Scholar Partners from Rush County: Katie Pickering Gardner, 2004 scholar; Jessica Cole Vogel, 2009 scholar; and Beth Liggett Buzzard, 2002 scholar.

“Covid-19 has placed unique stressors on our academic system, teachers, and students. This grant will allow us to develop and enhance mental health resources that will give school personnel the tools and knowledge needed to recognize and manage vulnerabilities within their students and classrooms,” said Amy Streator, Executive Director of the Ripley County Community Foundation. “Our Mental Health and Trauma Informed Practices program will ensure that every student has a safe environment conducive to learning. We are grateful to the Lilly Scholars Network for supporting quality education for all.”

LSN plans to offer this grant opportunity again in Spring 2021.

“With the number of quality applications submitted in this inaugural round, we are grateful for a strong response to this opportunity,” said Bryana Schreiber, Lilly Scholars Network Lead Forward Community Grants Coordinator and a 2004 scholar from Posey County. “As a network, we are committed to empowering our community of scholars to work alongside these organizations to address the needs of Hoosiers in their communities. We look forward to seeing these projects come to life and continuing to build this program to empower more scholars and organizations to positively impact their Indiana communities.”

For more information and updates on the LSN Lead Forward Community Grants program, visit or follow LSN on Twitter at @LillyScholars. If you have additional questions or wish to cover an event in your community, please contact Bryana Schreiber, LSN Lead Forward Community Grants Coordinator at 317-965-6747 or

More from Local News


  • Free Covid 19 testing

    FREE COVID-19 TESTING SITE The City of Madison is offering COVID-19 testing at the Senior Center beginning July 21st. This site will provide testing for up to 132 individuals per day free of charge without an appointment, symptoms, insurance, or a doctor’s note. Details The testing will be held at the Senior Center located at 208 N. Main St. The site will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday until at least mid-August. However, the site will close each day from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to provide staff with meal breaks. The testing site is managed by OptumServe and follows all CDC and State of Indiana COVID-19 guidelines. Therefore, only two individuals will be permitted in the building for testing at a time. While walk-ins are accepted, residents are encouraged to register for testing online. LHI.Care/covidtesting is the preferred method for registering and requesting appointments. It is available 24/7. The Call Center is only available during the test site hours of operation for select residents that do not have internet access. The phone number is 888-634-1116. Appointments are encouraged; patients arriving at the event site without a scheduled appointment will be registered by event staff upon arrival at the facility.

    at Madison Senior Center
  • Wonderland Drive

    Enjoy this driving experience down Madison's beautiful riverfront and Bicentennial Park all decked out with festive lights and displays. Lights will be on through the New Year. . Lights on: November 27 - December 31 . Wonderland Drive is presented by Wonderland in the Park

    at Bicentennial Park
  • Santa Claus is coming to Madison

    Santa Claus is coming to Madison! Like in years past, Santa’s cottage will be placed at the Comfort Station for families to go and visit him, but unlike in years past, children will not be able to enter the cottage. Instead, Santa will remain indoors working in his shop while children and families visit from a distance. The city is asking that you be respectful of other families who may also be stopping by to say hello to Santa, watch your distance, and wear a mask if social distancing is not possible. Santa will be in his cottage on the following schedule: Saturday, November 28th 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, December 5th 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday, December 11th, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, December 12th, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday, December 18th, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, December 19th, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you do not feel comfortable taking your children to see Santa, you can schedule a call with him by emailing The city will also be setting up Santa’s mailbox for him beginning on Tuesday, December 1. All letters to Santa can be placed in his mailbox outside of City Hall, kids can drop off their letters to Santa until December 16 at 3:30 p.m. Santa will read letters live on the city’s Facebook page at 4:00 p.m. on December 12th and December 19th. Please note that not all letters will be read due to Santa’s busy schedule. All letters with a return address will receive a note back from Santa.

    at Historic Downtown Madison

Local News

Southwestern Makes Changes To Virtual Setting

Middle and high school students will continue with virtual instruction through Friday, December 4. 

City of Madison Announces Second Round of Small Business Rescue Grants

Applications will be accepted up to the end of the business day on December 4th. 

New Public Access Site Now Open Near Madison

All fish and wildlife public access sites are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to visitors.

Local Sports

Area Sports Results From Friday, November 20th Through Sunday, November 22nd

Email missing scores to or