Lilly Endowment Inc. Provides Grant to Indiana Sports Corp to Enhance, Promote Downtown Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Sports Corp has received a $905,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund initiatives to enhance and promote downtown Indianapolis ahead of and during March Madness.

The grant has two strategic focuses: enhancing the look and feel of downtown Indy to ensure a vibrant, welcoming, and safe and healthy environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, along with engaging national media and showcasing action in Indy inside and outside of the competition venues.

Indiana Sports Corp, along with the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Downtown Indy, Indiana Humanities, Indianapolis Urban League, Indy Chamber, IndyHub, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Visit Indy, and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail are working closely on the execution and fulfillment of the grant.

“We are grateful for the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s support of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Indy,” said Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp. ”March Madness brings a unique opportunity to put Indy on an international and national stage for an entire month. The efforts supported by this grant will without a doubt put Indy in a positive light during this time and push our city forward into furthering its recovery.”

Beautification and placemaking efforts downtown will showcase the city as a vibrant, welcoming, and safe environment for all visitors and residents. The downtown corridors will also be activated with live performances by Indy-based artists of all genres hosted in pop-up outdoor locations in key activation areas downtown. These initiatives will not only enhance Indy during March but pay dividends for months to come as downtown continues to open up and push forward in its recovery.

"Hosting the entire March Madness tournament provides Indianapolis with an extraordinary opportunity to bolster its image as a desirable place to live and visit," said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment's vice president for community development. "We are pleased that this grant will help beautify and add vibrancy to downtown Indianapolis, including through the engagement of hundreds of local artists."

These efforts will highlight Indy’s creative culture, as painters, poets, musicians, dancers, and other artists create experiences for visitors and residents to enjoy throughout downtown’s public spaces. The Arts Council of Indianapolis is working with local art and culture partners to engage more than 300 central Indiana-based artists in paid opportunities. The program will also feature new, temporary artworks that will turn downtown into an outdoor gallery, pop-up performances, and a self-guided tour of murals and other public art. The Arts Council will announce more event details this month. Artists can learn about opportunities here.

“The Arts Council is honored to partner with the Final Four Welcome Committee and art and civic organizations to showcase Indy’s creativity,” said Julie Goodman, president and CEO of the Arts Council. “Indy was made for this moment, and who better to help express our values and welcome residents and visitors than the city’s makers, creators, and artists. We’re grateful for Lilly Endowment’s generous support that makes it possible to pay artists to be part of this incredible moment.”

Indiana Sports Corp also plans to use a portion of the grant to fund media hubs throughout the city to engage with journalists during their time downtown covering the event. These hubs will be staffed with Indy Advocates and community leaders with the goal of providing a safe environment to conduct interviews, answer questions, and inform media of events and attractions that Indy is offering from Selection Sunday to the conclusion of the Final Four.


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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