Lilly Endowment Inc. Awards Indiana Sports Corp and Indianapolis Rowing Center $150,000 Grant

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INDIANAPOLIS - Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded Indiana Sports Corp and the Indianapolis Rowing Center (IRC) a $150,00 grant to fund capital improvements to the Eagle Creek Rowing Course. The final $30,000 of the grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. was contingent on Indiana Sports Corp and the Indianapolis Rowing Center demonstrating a dollar for dollar fundraising match up to an additional $30,000 for a total investment of $180,000. 

"We are extremely grateful for the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s support of the Indianapolis Rowing Center," said Ryan Vaughn, Indiana Sports Corp President. "As part of our mission, we strive to bring national and international events to Indianapolis and this grant will allow the Indianapolis Rowing Center to remain a world class venue." 

After a 12-year, volunteer-led effort to renovate and rebuild all the IRC's facilities and equipment, one last major infrastructure improvement needed to be made for the facility to compete on a national level for rowing events. The grant provided funding to replace the 300-foot long Championship Starting Platform, from which up to eight boats are first held, then launched at the start of local, regional and national regattas. The platform was set and installed prior to the NCAA Divisions I, II and III Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park May 31-June 2. 

The IRC was founded in 1982 when the City of Indianapolis and several community partners, including Lilly Endowment, first began actively promoting amateur sports as an economic development strategy for the city and state. Since its founding, IRC has matured into a highly regarded and competitive rowing program and venue for youth from more than 20 Indianapolis-area high schools, adults of any age, Hoosiers with disabilities and high school aged at risk youth.

"We are thrilled that Lilly Endowment Inc. saw fit to generously help the Indianapolis Rowing Center with these much needed infrastructure upgrades," said Andrew Purdie, IRC Executive Director. "This will allow us to put our best foot forward when bidding for large-scale national events. We look forward to hosting prominent rowing regattas in the Indianapolis community at beautiful Eagle Creek Park for many years to come."

IRC attracts thousands of rowers, coaches, spectators and volunteers to Indianapolis annually while hosting national, regional and local racing regattas, many of which last multiple days. In addition to bringing in visitors, more than 250 residents utilize the IRC programs on a weekly basis.

The 2019 NCAA Divisions I, II and III Rowing Championships take over Eagle Creek Park for the fifth time in the facility's history. Eagle Creek was the venue in 2002 and 2003 when Divisions I, II and III conducted their first separate championships. Indianapolis also hosted the 2013 and 2014 championships. The rowing championship had been a National Collegiate event (all divisions eligible for a single championship) from its inception in 1997 to 2001.

Indiana University serves as the NCAA host institution for the championships in conjunction with Indiana Sports Corp and the Indianapolis Rowing Center. will live video stream all sessions Friday through Sunday of the championships. Live results for the championships will also be available on and

For more information on the championships, tickets and volunteer opportunities, visit


About Indiana Sports Corp: Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit 

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