Lilly's Fifth Global Day Of Service Focuses On Local Waterways

Nearly 8,000 volunteers working together to improve neighborhoods along waterways

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of employees from Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), in a sea of red T-shirts – and other volunteers from numerous neighborhoods, nonprofits and businesses – will work from dawn to dusk on Thursday, October 11, as part of Lilly's fifth Global Day of Service. Work primarily will be focused along six waterways as part of a larger city-wide collaborative known as Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW). 

With more than 100 partners across the city, jointly led by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Lilly and the City of Indianapolis through SustainIndy, ROW is helping neighbors strengthen the waterways that flow through their neighborhoods and, in turn, helping the waterways strengthen the neighborhoods. 

Nearly 8,000 Lilly employees and other volunteers will pick up litter, remove invasive plants, mark storm drains, and paint or install public art projects. The work done through this year's Global Day of Service will lay the foundation for future improvement efforts along the waterways of the following six neighborhoods:

  • West Indianapolis and Near Westside, White River/Eagle Creek
  • Mid-North, Fall Creek
  • Lafayette Square, Eagle Creek
  • Midtown, Central Canal
  • Near Eastside, Pogue's Run
  • Southeast, Pleasant Run

Lilly employees will also work on projects for organizations directly related to Lilly's business, such as the Little Red Door Cancer Agency and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Indiana. Globally, about 20,000 Lilly employees in 40 countries will serve the communities where they live and work.

"We're excited to get busy and help our community during our fifth Global Day of Service," said John Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman, president and CEO of Lilly.  "This year is about partnering with diverse groups to do more than any of us could have done alone.  Together, we're focusing on projects that support the health of Indianapolis residents while also strengthening our local waterways, which is good for the long-term health of our city."

Why ROW?

Unlike other large land-locked metropolitan cities, Indianapolis has not capitalized on its waterways. Reconnecting to Our Waterways began earlier this year with the goal of leveraging leadership and financial resources to help strengthen neighborhoods along Indianapolis' main creeks, canal and river – making them more attractive for residents, inspiring economic development and creating a sustainable environment. In partnership with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the City of Indianapolis' Office of Sustainability, Lilly has provided early leadership, financial resources and now thousands of volunteers to identify, prioritize, and complete projects that have been dreams or discussions for months or even years. 

"Our waterways are one of our greatest, most underutilized assets," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.  "By working together to create more livable, sustainable neighborhoods along these waterways, we will drive investment to our community while also reaping the benefits of a cleaner, safer environment and water supply. The City of Indianapolis is proud to partner with these great organizations to achieve these goals."

The majority of this year's Global Day of Service projects will be laying the groundwork for new plant material to be installed in 2013.

"This year, we have ambitious plans to remove litter and invasive honeysuckle by the acre," said David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. "Lilly's work along Fall Creek will begin to open views to once underappreciated places; enabling future restoration with native and beneficial plants. These shores and greenways will be transformed from forgotten and detrimental, to places where people and nature can thrive."

By partnering with ROW for its Global Day of service, Lilly aims to inspire other companies to consider investing volunteers and financial resources in ongoing ROW efforts.  

Global Day of Service Partners

As in years past, Lilly's Global Day of Service represents significant community collaboration. This year, numerous community partners are lending nearly 500 additional volunteers for these and other community projects.  These partners include:

American Diabetes Association, Big Car, Butler University, Children's Museum of Indianapolis, City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works, City of Indianapolis Mayor's Office, City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability, Destination Fall Creek, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, Indiana State Fair Commission, Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indy Parks, IPS Key Learning Community, Ivy Tech Community College, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Lafayette Square Area Coalition, Little Red Door Cancer Agency, Mapleton Fall Creek CDC, Midtown, Oaks Academy Brookside, Paramount School of Excellence, Waste Management, West Indianapolis Development Corporation.

Global Day of Service by the Numbers

Since its first year in 2008, Lilly volunteers around the world have given nearly 500,000 volunteer hours. This total time is valued at about $10 million

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

About Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

KIB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit engaging neighborhoods in environmental and community improvement projects throughout the city. KIB has a proven track record of 30 years of partnership with neighborhoods, the public sector, local philanthropists, and Indianapolis corporations. Last year, KIB engaged more than 40,000 volunteers on more than 500 projects around the city. The mission of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. is to unite people to build community and transform public spaces through aesthetic and environmental improvement. Additional information about KIB is available at

About ROW

Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW) is a grassroots movement that is helping neighbors strengthen waterways, and in turn, helping waterways strengthen neighborhoods. ROW is focused on neighborhoods within a 10-minute walk (half-mile) or 20-minute bike ride (three miles) surrounding six major waterways: White River, Fall Creek, Eagle Creek, Central Canal, Pogue's Run and Pleasant Run. With more than 100 partners, ROW actively seeks participation from stakeholders who live and work closest to the waterways and supports projects that have a lasting, meaningful impact. Creating access to art, nature and beauty; boosting economic development; improving our environment; educating the public about clean water; and creating a higher quality of life for all are among ROW's long-term goals. Additional information about ROW is available at

2012 Lilly Global Day of Service key projects and locations

A majority of Lilly's Indianapolis employees will work on the following projects:

Ivy Tech & Fall Creek – Fall Creek Parkway from N. Senate Ave. to 39th & Fall Creek
Nearly 2,500 employees will be picking up litter, removing invasive plants, and installing outdoor-education classrooms near Ivy Tech Community College and creating and installing public art made from invasive plant materials.  Nearly 250 Ivy Tech students and faculty will work side-by-side with Lilly employees to implement plans by Schmidt Associates for a science learning center that includes seating, birdhouses, and a 300-square-foot woven "tapestry" made from invasive plant materials removed that day. A new labyrinth, outdoor laboratory, orchard, and Culinary Arts Garden will be installed where invasive plants were removed. New plant material will be installed in 2013.

Storm-drain marking – throughout Marion County
Per the Clean Water Act, the city and state are required to educate the public on the dangers of dumping waste down storm drains and the importance keeping them clean of debris. Working with SustainIndy and Clear Choices, Clean Water, and the Upper White River Watershed Alliance, 1,000 volunteers will help enact a multi-faceted education campaign that will not only raise awareness of storm drain concerns, but also help the city save thousands of dollars.  The work involves applying "no dumping" disks to 8,000 storm drains, inspecting drains, and placing 20,000 biodegradable seed-stake markers that will educate the public on water pollutants, the benefits of native plants and how to track a raindrop to learn where water flows in each neighborhood.

IPS Key Learning Community and Indianapolis Fire Department – 777 S. White River Parkway West Dr.
The IPS Key Learning Community and its neighbor, Indianapolis Fire Department 19, worked with the DaVinci Pursuit to commission a public art sculpture inspired by IFD 19 fireman Clyde Pennington. More than 100 Lilly volunteers will help install the artwork, clean the school grounds, and create a walking trail that will eventually connect to the White River Trail. 

Litter pick up and enforcement – various locations around the city
Thousands of employees from Lilly and the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce will take advantage of the recent severe drought to pick up litter and debris along the receded waterways. Waste Management will haul away the litter.  On Oct. 8, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) will launch the "Every Litter Bit Helps" anti-litter video challenge to Marion County high schools to create awareness around new laws and fines for littering. Top prize winners receive free tickets to the Dec. 9 home Indianapolis Colts football game to watch their video shown throughout the game. More information is available at

Indiana State Fairgrounds – 1202 E. 38th Street
Freeing up time for Indiana State Fairgrounds maintenance staff will be the goal of about 850 employees working in and around the fairgrounds. From painting to plant removal, Lilly volunteers will help complete a series of small, annual projects, allowing fairgrounds staff to focus on larger projects related to aesthetic enhancements to one of Indiana's busiest destinations.

Oncology on Canvas – Four locations in Fountain Square area
This is one of many projects strongly connected to Lilly's work in cancer. More than 100 Lilly volunteers who work for the company's oncology team and others will paint four murals selected from Lilly's Oncology on Canvas program, which encourages cancer survivors to use art in their healing process.

Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation – 964 N. Pennsylvania St. and 240 N. Warman Ave.
According to the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), the number of homeless in Indianapolis grew five percent from 2011 to 2012 with an increase of 34 percent among veterans. Why? Many sources point to post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, as well as mental illness, a key area of focus for Lilly and its employees.  Three hundred Lilly employees will volunteer at HVAF to paint murals, clean, and provide maintenance and repair at its Warman and Manchester locations.  CR-LLY   


SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company