Fall 2012News

Civic leadership institute gaining broad support

Lilly Endowment, Fairbanks Foundation contribute to city archive project

Major philanthropic organizations are getting behind UIndy’s plan to establish an Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives and make Indianapolis a global case study in urban revitalization. A $2-million grant this summer from Lilly Endowment Inc. is the largest single contribution to date in the University’s $7.5-million capital campaign for the institute. In April, UIndy announced a $500,000 grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. The institute is being built upon the four-decade collection of city government archives entrusted to the University by former Indianapolis mayors Richard Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson, all of whom have served on UIndy’s Board of Trustees.

The vast collection includes documents, images, recordings, and other materials from an era of innovative leadership that included such developments as the formation of Unigov, the birth of White River State Park and Circle Centre Mall, the hosting of the 1987 Pan American Games, the construction of major sports venues, and the creation of BioCrossroads. Once cataloged and digitized for easier access and review, the archives will be the centerpiece of the institute, envisioned as a hub for research, teaching, and special events, with resources for students, visiting scholars, planners, and community leaders to explore the issues facing today’s cities. The Lilly Endowment grant provides the resources to begin that in-depth assessment of the archives, currently stored in hundreds of boxes at Krannert Memorial Library.

“We greatly appreciate this support from the Endowment, an organization that itself has played such a key role in the development of Indianapolis,” said UIndy President Robert Manuel, who took office in July. “I’m also very grateful for the work of my predecessor, Beverley Pitts, who established the vision for this institute and remains committed to its success.”

In the coming years, UIndy hopes to acquire additional mayoral papers as well as materials from other entities that have been instrumental in the city’s ongoing progress.

“Lilly Endowment, which shares the University’s interest in the development of Indianapolis, is pleased to support this project,” said Sara B. Cobb, the Endowment’s vice president for education. The Endowment believes that the institute’s programming and research will enhance the University’s reputation and garner regional and national recognition for Indianapolis. We are also pleased that the institute will offer opportunities for shared programming and collaboration with other Indiana colleges and universities.”

The Fairbanks Foundation’s grant is specifically intended to endow an annual Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership, to be hosted by the institute. Fairbanks Foundation chair and president Leonard Betley said the institute’s mission matches the foundation’s focus on challenges and opportunities facing the Indianapolis community.

“Our founder, Richard M. Fairbanks, was the third generation in a family that had long-standing ties to the development of Indianapolis, and he personally was involved in what happened in the city during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s,” Betley said. “The Foundation Board felt it would be appropriate to try to perpetuate the legacy of what he and his family and the great mayors accomplished. The Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives is an excellent way to do that.”

More information on UIndy’s plans for the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives is available at http://www.uindy.edu/giving/civic-leadership.

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