Sherrie Bossung Receives Keep America Beautiful's Lady Bird Johnson Award


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Mike Rosen, Keep America Beautiful

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Ashley HaynesKeep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc.

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Indianapolis’ Sherrie Bossung Receives Keep America Beautiful’s Lady Bird Johnson Award

Former Eli Lilly and Company Leader Honored for Leadership in Volunteerism by Iconic National Nonprofit

DALLAS, Texas (Jan. 18, 2018) – Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, today presented Indianapolis’ Sherrie Bossung with its 2017 Lady Bird Johnson Award. The award recognizes her career devoted to promoting corporate volunteerism in Indianapolis in her role as director of employee engagement and volunteer strategy at Eli Lilly and Company.

Bossung, who was nominated for the award by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, received Keep America Beautiful’s top volunteer honor at its annual National Awards Ceremony, which took place during Keep America Beautiful’s National Conference in Dallas, Texas, from Jan. 17-19. The Lady Bird Johnson Award was named after the former first lady for engaging our nation in recognizing that aesthetic beauty is directly related to healthier communities, a cleaner environment, and a better quality of life.

“Sherrie Bossung’s vision and enthusiasm made her ability to turn ideas into community impact hard to rival,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman during the awards presentation. “Her devotion to volunteerism has touched the entire city of Indianapolis in profound ways, which will be felt for years to come. Her ability to connect individuals and organizations, and local leadership has created visible change in Indianapolis that inspires others to join in on a grand scale.”

The recently retired Bossung has partnered with Keep America Beautiful affiliate Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) for more than a decade, including on the launch of the recent “It’s My City” campaign, which is a three-year effort to encourage businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and individuals to make Indianapolis cleaner, greener and more beautiful.

“Her vision has inspired projects that are truly transformative for our city and its people,” said Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett.

Bossung’s leadership legacy was cemented with the development of the Eli Lilly and Company Global Day of Service. The initiative began in 2007 when Bossung imagined a corporate service event for the company that could provide an opportunity for worldwide employees – more than 20,000 at a time – to volunteer together, build teamwork, and give back to their community. Lilly had worked with KIB before, but never on such a grand scale; the projects needed to engage thousands of people. Along with KIB President, David Forsell, Bossung asked, “What are the problems that an army of volunteers from the entire community, not just Lilly, can help address?”

For the first service day in May 2008, more than 8,400 volunteers participated. In nine hours and over 60 projects, they painted more than a half-mile of outdoor murals, planted 2,000 trees and 6,000 other plants, beautified 16 medians and the grounds of 18 schools, and removed 24 acres of invasive plants from public areas. During Bossung’s tenure, Lilly mobilized volunteers to help KIB plant nearly 16,000 trees and more than 240,000 other plants; paint more than 220,000 square feet of murals; and remove more than 100 acres of invasive species along waterways in Indianapolis. The Lilly service day enters its 11th year in 2018.

“Each year, the remarkable sustained partnership Sherrie leads between Lilly and KIB mobilizes tens of thousands of people to clean streets, plant trees, create meeting spaces, paint murals, remove invasive species, open the view to Indianapolis waterways, and take steps to transform the city’s landscape,” said KIB’s Forsell.

Business and community leaders, inspired by the impact of the Lilly Global Day of Service, helped usher in “Indy Do Day,” a three-day citywide event that engages over 20,000 volunteers, many in community beautification projects. Bossung was also one of the founding members of Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW). Since 2012, ROW has created 13.5 miles of new trails and bike lanes, planted 14 acres of native plants, and led nearly 90 educational programs and installations. Bossung also helped KIB organize a project in which KIB, Eli Lilly and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) pooled more than $1 million of corporate and federal grant dollars to beautify six miles along the I- 70 corridor between the Indianapolis International Airport and downtown.

“Our goal, along with many of our partners, is to help Indianapolis become one of the most civically engaged cities in the U.S.,” Bossung wrote in a blog post. “It’s the people and the grassroots effort in this city that is changing Indianapolis.”

Bossung also serves on the Leadership Indianapolis board, is a sustainer of the Junior League of Indianapolis and volunteers in classrooms supporting ReadUP. She serves on numerous boards, including the America Nurses Association, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis Arts Center, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

Bossung was one of more than 80 individuals and organizations from communities across America to receive national recognition. Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards recognize the passion, dedication and impact of Keep America Beautiful’s affiliates from across the nation as well as partner organizations and individuals who share Keep America Beautiful’s vision of a country in which every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.

For a complete list of National Awards recipients, click here.

The Keep America Beautiful National Conference, its premier educational and networking event, brings together nearly 400 leaders from Keep America Beautiful’s national network of affiliates, business leaders, policymakers and other experts who share innovative ideas and proven strategies to help End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities.

The 2018 Keep America Beautiful National Conference is made possible through the support of some of America’s leading companies, including: Leadership Sponsors – Altria, Lowe’s, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, SC Johnson, A Family Company and Wrigley Company Foundation; Stewardship Sponsors – Anheuser-Busch, Carton Council, Pratt Industries – Recycling Division and Steel Recycling Institute; Strategic Sponsors – Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Owens-Illinois, Inc.; Supporting Sponsors – Dipjar, insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. – Donation Division and Irio. Scholarships are provided by Altria, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Southwest Airlines and Wrigley Company Foundation.

About Keep America Beautiful

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2018, Keep America Beautiful strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision.

Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. We empower generations of community and environmental stewards with volunteer programs, hands-on experiences, educational curricula, practical advice and other resources. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Donate and take action at

About Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB)

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. is a private nonprofit organization with a mission to engage diverse communities to create vibrant public places, helping people and nature thrive. Annually, KIB works with nearly 20,000 volunteers on nearly 900 community projects. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @kibiorg.