Second Helpings receives $7.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Earlier today, the Lilly Endowment announced an extraordinary grant to Second Helpings totaling $7.5 million. In making this grant the Endowment recognizes the critical role that Second Helpings plays in addressing hunger and poverty in our community. The grant is specifically tied to the sustainability of Second Helpings to ensure that it can continue to be a resource for our community for many years to come.

Second Helpings’ selection as a recipient of this grant from Lilly Endowment is a testament to the work of hundreds of volunteers and donors who have committed to tackling the challenge of hunger in Central Indiana since three chefs launched this mission in 1998. You brought us to this point, and your ongoing support remains integral to this organization’s ability to transform Hoosier lives in the years ahead.

The majority of the grant ($6.8 million) will form a restricted endowment for Second Helpings while the remaining funds will be applied to key infrastructure investments including fleet, technology, and equipment upgrades and replacements. The grant does not underwrite regular operating costs.

As I’m sure you know, Second Helpings and several other hunger relief agencies had a challenging holiday fundraising season. None of the grant dollars will offset any of our current budget expenses.

Part of the Lilly Endowment’s purpose in making this grant was to build Second Helpings’ ability to attract more supporters and resources to our mission and so the grant will fund website upgrades and other initiatives to strengthen fundraising.

These grant dollars cannot substitute for the broad base of community support that fuels Second Helpings. Our Food Rescue, Hunger Relief and Job Training programs continue to rely upon the generosity of the food donors, financial donors and volunteers who prepare and deliver more than 4,000 meals a day to 85 other not-for-profit agency partners while helping unemployed and underemployed adults build better futures.

Indeed, this gift will not change who we are, what we do, or the important role that you play in Second Helpings’ mission and its future. Rather, it will help to ensure that all of the gifts that you bring to our mission will continue to provide a more effective and impactful service to our community.






Jennifer Vigran, CEO



P.S. For additional info on the grant and how it will be implemented, please read and download our Fact Sheet.


  1. Jean Paison

    There are no words to describe the excitement I feel after learning of the extraordinary gift made by the Lilly Foundation. From a dream to a mainstay for the City of Indianapolis, Second Helpings embodies the collective desires of the community for change in food waste, unemployment and hunger relief. What a privilege to see a commitment from an organization that does not take its responsibilities lightly. Thank you Lilly Endowment!

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