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Press Release

Eli Lilly and Company and United Way Announced Global Partnership Agreement

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Yesterday top executives from Eli Lilly and Company, United Way Worldwide and United Way of Central Indiana signed a strategic partnership agreement designed to drive positive, measurable social change in the areas of education, income, health and basic needs in communities. The agreement underscores Lilly’s commitment to be an increasingly strategic partner with United Way that focuses not just on dollars raised, but on measurable community impact in central Indiana, as well as across the nation and around the globe.

Lilly has ties with United Way dating back nearly 100 years, when J.K. Lilly served as a member of the War Chest, a forerunner of today’s United Way. Over the decades, Lilly has partnered with United Way through workplace campaigns, advocacy and volunteerism to improve the lives of millions and build stronger communities. This includes raising more that $250 million for United Way agencies, including a record $13.2 million in 2015.

This new agreement formalizes and elevates the partnership by clearly identifying areas of collaboration and accountability. Lilly is one of the first organizations to sign a global partnership agreement of this kind.

“Over the last several years, United Way has changed how it operates to focus on measurable community impact,” said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide. “In response, Lilly has deepened its work with United Way—becoming a true strategic partner. This will mean an even stronger relationship that aligns with Lilly’s community investment goals and empowers employees to directly engage in meaningful impact strategies.”

Lilly's United Way Partnership Impact 2015

The global agreement includes the following commitments:

Employee and Community Engagement

  • Lilly will continue to partner with United Way to finding meaningful opportunities for employee engagement. In 2015, Lilly launched Connecting Hearts at Home, a novel program that paired 50 teams of Lilly employees with United Way partner agencies in central Indiana to help advance their missions. The successful program will be expanded in Indiana, the U.S. and to several global Lilly sites.
  • Lilly will actively encourage employees to volunteer through United Way, which includes community board service.


  • United Way and Lilly will advocate for full funding of $20 million for the Indy Preschool Scholarship Program, which provides children from low-income families access to high-quality preschool.
  • They will also advocate for full state funding for early childhood education, starting in the 2017 Indiana legislative session.
  • Plans also include coordinating literacy programs for at-risk students to ensure they achieve a third-grade reading level.

Income, Health and Basic Needs

  • United Way and Lilly will collaborate on public investment for 2-1-1, a nationwide referral helpline connecting people with essential health and human services resources.
  • They will also participate and support Jump IN, a community-wide initiative designed to increase the number of children in central Indiana at a healthy weight.
  • Internationally, the partnership will work to improve health of vulnerable populations, including those suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and diabetes.

“This is an exciting time for United Way, Lilly, and the communities where we live and work,” said Ann Murtlow, President and CEO, United Way of Central Indiana. “The development of this strategic partnership – and more like this, will help us better meet increasingly challenging and complex issues confronting our communities.”

“No other organization is positioned like United Way to bring together government, the private sector and social service organizations to make meaningful and lasting impact, said John Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly’s CEO who also serves as Chairman for United Way Worldwide. “We hope other businesses will follow our lead and prioritize United Way in their community-based work.

Lilly, United Way Worldwide and United Way of Central Indiana are encouraging other companies to look at their own philanthropic partnerships and consider a strategic collaboration through United Way. Companies interested in learning more can contact Jay Geshay, Senior Vice President Community Impact and Fundraising, United Way of Central Indiana, at 317.923.1466.

About United Way Worldwide
With 2.9 million volunteers and 10.3 million donors worldwide, and more than $5 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create community solutions that improve education, financial stability & health. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

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