Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic gets $1M grant from Lilly Endowment

Indianapolis-based Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic has been awarded a grant of just over $1 million from Lilly Endowment’s Enhancing Opportunity Initiative, allowing the legal aid provider to bolster its assistance to individuals who are reentering society after being incarcerated.

With the $1,005,246 grant, the clinic is planning to expand and enhance the legal services it offers through Project GRACE (Guided Re-entry Assistance and Community Education). This program helps those who have had involvement with the justice system get such things as expungements and driver’s license reinstatements.

“We are enormously thankful to partner with Lilly Endowment’s Enhancing Opportunity Initiative,” said Russell Brown, board chair of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. “By expanding Project GRACE, we can help more of our neighbors successfully reintegrate into society and find stability which will, in turn, strengthen our community.”

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic is one of 28 organizations being supported through the Lilly initiative in Indianapolis. The initiative was launched in 2019 when the Lilly Endowment invited organizations to partner and find ways to help Marion County residents overcome poverty and financial hardship.

Through Project Grace, the clinic is working closely with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and other community groups, including the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center and Community Alliance of the Far Eastside to remove the barriers to re-entry and help reduce recidivism.

“We are grateful for the tremendous response we received from the Indianapolis community during a time when organizations were called upon to significantly ramp up their existing programs and services in response to the acute needs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rob Smith, Lilly Endowment’s senior vice president of collaborative strategies. “We believe that the projects being funded through this initiative have the potential to improve the lives of a significant number of Indianapolis residents facing the challenges of poverty and financial insecurity.”

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