Lilly Endowment awards Indiana $22.5 million for early education
Indiana received a $22.5 million Lilly Endowment grant for early education that will help build a stronger system and hopefully bring more donations and government investment in preschool learning.
Ted Maple, President and CEO of Early Learning Indiana said, “This is about building a system in different critical areas capable of using and making the most of public investment. This is not about paying a child’s tuition.”
Early Learning Indiana received a $20 million award from the endowment. The money will be used to improve education centers the organization runs and help improve affiliated organizations’ programs over the next five years, Maple said.
This year, Indiana has funded a $10 million pilot program for low-income 4-year-olds in Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard proposed a $50 million plan to expand access to preschool for low-income 4-year-olds in Marion County using $25 million in city funds and donations.
Lilly Endowment also gave $2.5 million to the United Way of Central Indiana that will be put towards new facilities and used to help improve child-learning opportunities at day cares.
The United Way is in the midst of a decade-long plan to achieve top quality standards at 80 percent of the state’s day cares. When it began, 14 percent were at that level and now, 26 percent of day cares are there, we learn from Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana.
I am glad to see Indiana’s dedication and plans to better early education and preschool learning. The Lilly Endowment grant should be a great start to the improvements the state is working to reach. Also, I’d like to give props to Mayor Ballard for his efforts towards expanding preschool access to low-income children around the state.