(INDIANAPOLIS) - Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, co-chairs of the Bicentennial Commission, accepted a $10 million grant from Lilly Endowment to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for the Bicentennial Nature Trust, a statewide conservation initiative.
Earlier this year Gov. Mitch Daniels identified $20 million of state funding support for the Bicentennial Nature Trust. This initiative urges citizens, businesses and foundations to join the effort with "donations of land or dollars in a continuing statewide surge of conservation." Lilly Endowment's additional support brings the fund to $30 million.
"For decades, the generosity of Lilly Endowment has benefited Hoosiers throughout the state," said Lt. Governor Skillman. "Now because of this financial gift the state can help create more parks, trails and wetlands for generations of Hoosiers to enjoy."
"Lilly Endowment is an exceptional philanthropic partner to the state of Indiana," said Congressman Hamilton. "My hope is that this generous grant will encourage more Hoosiers to participate in the Nature Trust initiative through their donation of land or treasure."
Both state and private dollars will be used for each of the Bicentennial Nature Trust projects. Money from the fund will be matched no less than $1:1 with the local community or group and will have a $300,000 cap per project.
Since the Bicentennial Nature Trust was launched, several dozen projects from across the state have been approved. The first 24 projects will receive a collective total of more than $4.7 million and preserve more than 3,000 acres. Projects will continue to be announced until the state fund is exhausted.
The Bicentennial Nature Trust initiative is the direct result of a request from Gov. Daniels' State of the State Address in which he called on the Bicentennial Commission to oversee a Bicentennial Nature Trust aimed at protecting natural spaces. This conservation effort is a way to celebrate Indiana's 200th anniversary of statehood in 2016. His proposal was based on the establishment of Indiana's first state park in 1916 as a gift to commemorate the centennial celebration of statehood.
"Indiana is blessed with generous residents who care deeply about the quality of life in communities throughout the state and a myriad of significant natural resources that should be conserved for future generations," said N. Clay Robbins, Lilly Endowment's president and CEO. "The Endowment believes the establishment of the Bicentennial Nature Trust to encourage conservation philanthropy is an excellent way to celebrate our state's bicentennial and is pleased to add to the Trust's matching fund."
The Lilly Endowment's grant is the largest financial donation received by the Bicentennial Nature Trust to date. Former Governor Ed Whitcomb and businessman Steve Ferguson have provided individual gifts of land.
To read more about the Bicentennial Nature Trust projects visit, www.lg.in.gov
To suggest a project or obtain more information, see in.gov/dnr/heritage/7309.htm.
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