Lilly's Connecting Hearts Abroad Program Sends Employees on Global Service Assignments

First of 200 Lilly Ambassadors depart for two-week assignments in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America

INDIANAPOLIS, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company's (NYSE: LLY) new global service program, Connecting Hearts Abroad, is set to launch. Through the program, the company is sending 200 Lilly Ambassadors to assist people and communities that often lack basic resources. While serving others, the Ambassadors will also gain a deeper, more intimate understanding of different cultures and see firsthand the complex problems and opportunities associated with improving human health in developing areas. The goal: to help others and spark employees' innovative ideas that will make Lilly a better company.

The first of 200 Lilly Ambassadors start their two-week assignments in New Delhi, India, on April 2.

"Lilly has a long tradition of being both innovative and caring," said John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Our unique Connecting Hearts Abroad program combines these two passions. We're taking a novel approach to helping others. At the same time, we're giving our employees life-changing, eye-opening experiences that will make them more passionate and knowledgeable citizens of the world. This is an investment in developing communities, in our employees and in Lilly's future."

Two hundred Lilly employees from 38 countries were selected to participate in the Connecting Hearts Abroad program in 2011. The Ambassadors will provide assistance in developing communities in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. No specialized skills or expertise (for example, a medical background) were required – just a passion for making a difference. Lilly Ambassadors with various levels of expertise and experience will work together to create personal connections with people and communities that face difficult challenges in health care and beyond.

Lilly Ambassadors will provide hands-on support in the following four categories:

  • Health Care: Observing and assisting local health professionals, working with people affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Caregiving: Caring for the elderly, infants and children, and people with disabilities
  • Teaching: Assisting teachers of special education, teaching children and teaching conversational English
  • Community Development: Sharing professional skills and experience, working toward women's empowerment.

The Ambassadors will share their experiences with Lilly's 38,000 employees while on assignment and when they return through internal blogs and other communication channels. The goal is to start conversations and involve the entire organization in the experiences of the Ambassadors to spark new ideas about how Lilly can better meet people's needs – now and in the future.

More than 1,800 Lilly employees from 52 countries applied to Connecting Hearts Abroad; 200 were selected in February for the inaugural year of the program. Each service assignment will have 8 to 9 Lilly employees from a variety of global business functions – including lab technicians, marketing associates and manufacturing specialists. Ambassadors include management, hourly and salaried non-management employees.

"Connecting Hearts Abroad is another step toward Lilly's vision of improving global health in the 21st century," said Lechleiter.

Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS)

Lilly is partnering with Cross-Cultural Solutions, an international not-for-profit organization that operates short-term volunteer programs in 12 countries. CCS is a recognized leader in the field of international volunteering with a strong track record of supporting volunteers in developing countries and creating professional, safe, life-changing experiences.

"CCS and Lilly have strikingly similar missions – to serve and to improve lives," said Steven C. Rosenthal, founder and executive director of Cross-Cultural Solutions. "Lilly's commitment to send 200 employees on service assignments is bold and unprecedented. It represents the largest corporate partnership to-date for CCS, and the largest launch of an employee volunteer program at an international scale like this. Through the CCS volunteer programs, Lilly employees will touch lives and, in return, have one of the most memorable experiences of their lives."

Lilly Corporate Responsibility

Lilly is shifting its corporate responsibility focus and will increasingly concentrate its resources in areas where society's needs intersect with the company's areas of expertise and focus – a concept known as "shared value."

Lilly's main area of focus will be on improving health for people in need around the globe – specifically, people in low- and middle-income countries who lack the resources to obtain quality healthcare.

Connecting Hearts Abroad has the potential to play an important role in these efforts. "We know that our best solutions to difficult health challenges will likely come from the innovative ideas generated by our employees," said Robert L. Smith, senior director of corporate responsibility and president of the Lilly Foundation. "To foster this kind of innovation, we want to expose employees to different cultures and environments. By changing our frame of reference, we increase the probability of generating breakthrough ideas."

Added Smith: "Like many companies, Lilly historically viewed corporate responsibility largely as a financial commitment. That's changing – and for the better. While traditional CR activities – like philanthropy – have a role to play, they alone won't generate the long-term solutions required to address society's most challenging problems. We know we can have a greater impact if we focus our efforts and expertise to create shared value – for society and Lilly."

Beyond Lilly's primary focus in health care, the company is also investing in efforts to improve public education in the United States, specifically K-12 in Lilly's home state of Indiana. Lilly also supports people and local communities through the United Way and other similar efforts, and is committed to being a good steward of the environment.

Connecting Hearts Abroad – 2011 Destinations and Start Dates

April 2

New Delhi, India

April 16

Bangkok, Thailand

April 16

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

May 1

Yaroslavl, Russia

May 7

Salvador, Brazil

May 7

Volta Region, Ghana

May 28

Xian, China

June 25

Guatemala City, Guatemala

August 6

Bangkok, Thailand

August 20

Salvador, Brazil

August 27

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

September 4

Lima, Peru

September 24

Volta Region, Ghana

September 25

Cartago, Costa Rica

October 8

Salvador, Brazil

October 15

San Carlos, Costa Rica

October 30

Lima, Peru

November 5

Salvador, Brazil

November 19

Bangkok, Thailand

November 26

Volta Region, Ghana

December 3

New Delhi, India

December 4

San Carlos, Costa Rica

December 11

Lima, Peru

More Information

To learn more about Lilly's Connecting Hearts Abroad, please refer to the following resources:

About Cross-Cultural Solutions

Cross-Cultural Solutions was founded in 1995, and has supported over 25,000 people to volunteer abroad in 12 countries around the world. As a not-for-profit organization with no political or religious affiliations, CCS brings people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding.

To learn more about the participating countries and volunteer work please visit:

About Eli Lilly and Company:

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers - through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at CR-LLY

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SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company

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