HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – The University of Southern Indiana has been awarded a near $250,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, College and Community Collaboration.

Officials state the purpose is to challenge universities to “envision and undertake collaborative projects with community stakeholders that enhance the quality of life and place in their surrounding communities.”

Officials say the grant was a collaboration between USI’s College of Liberal Arts, Romain College of Business and Outreach and Engagement.

“We’re grateful that Lilly Endowment has presented us with another occasion to improve the quality of place in the community we serve – an ambition that has always been a part of our mission at USI,” said Dr. Del Doughty, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and one of the grant’s three co-principal investigators.

Officials also state in the next phase, USI will work with the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (E-REP) to conduct a needs assessment and develop a proposal for an implementation grant that would fund up to $25 million over five years for the project. The deadline is March 1, 2024.

E-REP is the region’s leading economic development engine, coordinating the efforts of over 70 businesses, over 20 nonprofit organizations and 20 government entities and schools.

“The College and Community Collaboration initiative enabled through the Lilly Endowment presents another opportunity for E-REP and USI to deepen our partnership and our ability to serve and positively impact the Evansville region,” said Tara Barney, E-REP CEO. “The partnership between USI and E-REP represents how the Evansville region is intentionally aligning assets, connecting key initiatives and facilitating public/private partnerships to advance the quality of place for future and current residents.