The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced four grants totaling nearly $20 million for new programs to help Indiana veterans of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After researching the challenges that veterans face when returning to their families and jobs — or trying to find new jobs — the endowment identified three broad categories of need: financial and employment issues; medical, rehabilitation, and permanent disability issues; and a wide range of family issues. The grants include $9.9 million to the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center for its Indiana Veterans Enhanced Services Initiative; $8.9 million to Purdue University, Military Family Research Institute (PUMFRI) for general operating support; $570,000 to the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund to augment the endowment's three previous grants to assist families who suffer significant financial hardship as a result of active duty service; and $400,000 to Crane Technology, Inc. for a pilot project called the Crane Learning & Employment Center for Veterans, a program to help veterans with disabilities enter or reenter the workforce.
The four organizations' programs address a range of issues relating to combat veterans and their families in Indiana. To varying degrees, however, the programs will have national impact and may serve as models for similar efforts around the country. "We found that these four organizations already had programs that are addressing one or more of these challenges and learned that additional funding would enable them to raise their level of impact significantly," said Craig Dykstra, the endowment's senior vice president for religion. "We hope these grants will do just that."