In the News

For Immediate Release:  October 12, 2022 

Martin Luther King Community Center in Indianapolis receives $5 million Lilly Endowment grant to strengthen and sustain its future.


Indianapolis – Martin Luther King Community Center (MLK Center) serving the families and neighborhoods of Butler Tarkington, Crown Hill, Mapleton Fall Creek and Meridian Kessler neighborhoods in Indianapolis has received a $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help strengthen their long-term financial sustainability plans.  “This timely grant comes as we are celebrating our 50th year of service. I came to summer camp at MLK Center when I was a child, and I want the center to be available to students for another 50 years,” said Devin Thomas, Board President. 

The mission of MLK Center is to educate youth, empower families, and build community through quality multi-generational programs that advocate for our neighbors, promote racial justice, and provide a peaceful space to connect. By embracing the teachings and philosophies of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the MLK Center provides vital individual skills and family resources that allow residents in the Mid-North neighborhoods of Indianapolis to grow and enhance their lives.  “Our approach helps people of all ages find - and remain on - their own paths to success and stability. This grant will help ensure that we stay grounded in whatever our neighbors want and need,” said Allison Luthe, Executive Director.   

The past seven years have seen MLK Center grow and thrive. The grant is designed to help MLK Center build an even stronger financial future and have a lasting impact on the lives of those served.  The grant will be used to implement a variety of approaches to enhance long-term sustainability, including: 

  • Establishing an endowment for long-term financial stability  
  • Updating technology to improve operational efficiency  
  • Strengthening staff and volunteer recruitment, training and retention. 
  • Improving communications, marketing and fundraising efforts to better engage donors and collaborators. 

“We hope this support for the MLK Center will help build long-term financial strength and resiliency so that it can better weather unexpected and adverse funding changes,” said Ronni Kloth, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “The grant is not intended to fund ongoing operating support that is essential to meet the day-to-day needs of the people the center serves. In fact, we hope the grant helps the MLK Center attract additional support for this important work.”

The grant to MLK Center is one of two grants totaling $10 million that Lilly Endowment made recently to human services organizations that serve residents in central Indiana enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures.  Since 2015, Lilly Endowment has made 72 grants to support the long-term sustainability plans of charitable organizations based in central Indiana.


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