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National World War I Memorial Receives $5 Million Grant From Lilly Endowment

National World War I Memorial Receives $5 Million Grant From Lilly Endowment

National World War I Memorial Receives $5 Million Grant From Lilly Endowment

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Josiah Kirby "Joe" Lilly, Jr., who served as president and chairman of the board of Eli Lilly and Company, and was a founder of Lilly Endowment Inc., served in the U.S. Army in France during World War I, rising to the rank of Captain in the medical supply service of the American Expeditionary Forces.

To honor Joe, and the 4.7 million other Americans who served in uniform in World War I, Lilly Endowment, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world, has given a $5 million grant to the United States World War I Centennial Commission in support of the campaign to build the first-ever National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Memorial, located near the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue at 15th Street NW, will include a 58-foot-long freestanding high-relief bronze sculpture telling the story of America's involvement in the war through the experience of a single soldier.  Based on the average visitation of nearby D.C. memorials and landmarks, it is anticipated that the Memorial will receive a minimum of 1,500,000 visitors per year.

Including the new Lilly Endowment grant, the Commission has raised more than $44 million toward its $50 million campaign goal, and has begun renovation of the Memorial site, the initial phase of construction.

"This is a transformative moment in our campaign," said Dan Dayton, Executive Director of the Commission.  "Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Lilly Endowment and many others, we are now within striking distance of finally honoring the veterans of the First World War in the heart of our nation's capital."

J.K., Jr. enlisted in the medical department of the United States Army in 1917, went overseas with the American Expeditionary Forces on September 12, and by the end of the war was a captain in the Medical Supply Service. Stationed at Is-sur-Tille, France, he was in charge of seven million dollars' worth of medical supplies and three hundred officers and men. After the fighting ended, he returned from France on March 20, 1919. After eighteen months of service, he returned from France in March 1919 and received an honorable discharge and a commission as major at the age of twenty-five.

"This grant to support the creation of the National World War I Memorial, honors the 4.7 million Americans who served our country a century ago in this war, including J.K. Lilly Jr., one of Lilly Endowment's founders.  His experiences in the war had a profound effect on his personal and professional life," said N. Clay Robbins, chairman, president and CEO of Lilly Endowment. "We are pleased to support the Commission's efforts to educate visitors to our nation's capital about the extraordinary sacrifices of those who served in this war and encourage greater public awareness about how its impacts continue to shape our nation and world today."

With this grant, Lilly Endowment joins the Commission's lead sponsors at $5 million and above – the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and the Starr Foundation. Other leading foundation and corporate supporters to the Memorial include Walmart, FedEx, General Motors, the Marriott Foundation, the NFL, the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, and Carnegie Corporation of New York among many others. http://ww1cc.org/donor

The completion of the National World War I Memorial is the capstone project of the Commission, which was created by Congress in 2013 to lead commemorative programs across the country in recognition of the 100-year anniversary of America's involvement in the First World War.  The Commission is supported by its Senior Advisors – including Admiral Mike Mullen, Secretary Leon Panetta, General Barry McCaffrey, and 30 former U.S. Ambassadors – who are actively working to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the Memorial in the coming months.

The Memorial is being built under the Commission's authority by the Doughboy Foundation.

For more information about the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC, please visit http://ww1cc.org/memorial.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation based in Indianapolis. The Endowment was created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location.  In keeping with the founders' wishes, it supports the causes of community development, education and religion. It funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, though it maintains a special commitment to the founders' hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Media Contact: Chris Christopher.  Email: chris.christopher@worldwar1centennial.org. Phone: 202-796-2805.

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SOURCE Lilly Endowment Inc.

Josiah Kirby "Joe" Lilly, Jr. in his U.S. Army uniform while serving with the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I.
  • More information about the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is available here: http://ww1cc.org.
  • Founding sponsor for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago. www.pritzkermilitary.org
  • Key sponsor for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is Lilly Endowment Inc. https://lillyendowment.org
  • Key sponsor for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is the Starr Foundation www.StarrFoundation.org
  • The Doughboy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of "Keeping Faith with the Doughboys." The Foundation is working with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission to build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. More information about the Foundation is available here: http://doughboy.org.
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