The Blog
Lilly’s Fifth Global Day of Service Focuses on Local Waterways

Gail Payne, The Goods, 317.985.5523,
Andy Pollen, Borshoff, 317.631.6400,
Ashlee Fujawa, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, 317.612.7797,
INDIANAPOLIS – 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, co-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 help 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.
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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

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