Our History

In very important ways, the history of Central Indiana Community Foundation is a reflection of the history of Indianapolis and central Indiana. Formed in 1916, the Indianapolis Foundation was created to serve the community needs of Marion County, changing as community needs dictated. In 1991 Legacy Fund was created to serve similar needs in Hamilton County. CICF was formed in 1997 through a partnership between the two foundations.

Leaders of both community foundations formed the collaborative effort to provide a broader level of philanthropic service and support to the communities served. While each county’s foundation continues to serve the needs of their local communities, they also enjoy the synergies, strategic partnerships and resources of a regional foundation. 


1914First community foundation established in Cleveland, Ohio by Frederick Goff.

Led by Evans Woollen (pictured) and Henry Hornbrook, The Indianapolis Foundation was established by Resolution of Trust.

1920Alphonso Pettis makes first gift to The Indianapolis Foundation.



2nd and 3rd gifts to The Indianapolis Foundation were received from James Roberts ($800,000) and Delavan Smith ($900,000).


Eugene Foster served as 1st staff director of The Indianapolis Foundation.


First grants by The Indianapolis Foundation established a full-time visiting nurse service as a memorial to benefactor James E. Roberts. This nurse, equipped with a car and necessary supplies, devoted her entire time to the care of handicapped children in their homes.

1932The William E. English Foundation incorporated. In his will, Mr. English made a provision that allowed for the construction of a building for Indianapolis organized charities. The English Foundation would, in William E. English’s words “…become and remain forever the headquarters of Indianapolis organized charity…” The English Foundation Building at 615 North Alabama Street was built in 1953 to fulfill his dream.

1948-1957Paul Ross served as the 2nd staff director of The Indianapolis Foundation.

1953English Foundation Building opened and The Indianapolis Foundation moved from Hume Mansur Building on East Ohio Street to the new English Foundation Building at 615 N. Alabama Street.

1958-1978Jack Killen served as the 3rd staff director of The Indianapolis Foundation.

1989Library Fund established by an anonymous donor to the Foundation to benefit designated public, academic, and high school libraries in Marion County.

1978-1993Ken Chapman served as the 4th staff director of The Indianapolis Foundation.


The Indianapolis Foundation celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Legacy Fund Community Foundation established through the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (G.I.F.T.) initiative.

1991-1998Teri Hansen served as the 1st staff director of Legacy Fund.

1993The Indianapolis Foundation awarded a major grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts for the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative

1993-2000 Ken Gladish served as the 5th staff director of The Indianapolis Foundation and 1st staff executive of Central Indiana Community Foundation.

1994Investment Committee formed to oversee the investments of the Foundation.
1995The Indianapolis Foundation and Lilly Endowment, Inc. establish the Summer Youth Program Fund, a collaborative effort among local and national funders who support agencies that provide summer programming for Marion County youth.

1996Women's Fund of Central Indiana established to award grants to programs that improve options and opportunities for women and girls in central Indiana. Jennifer Pope Baker serves as the 1st director of Women's Fund.

1997The Indianapolis Foundation and Legacy Fund Community Foundation partner to form Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF).

1998Megan Wiles serves as the 2nd Legacy Fund President.

1998Dan and Lori Efroymson established the Efroymson Fund with a $90 million gift to CICF.

2000Legacy Fund Community Life & Learning Center opened.

2000Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Association and Indianapolis Parks Foundation become CICF supporting organizations.

2000Brian Payne serves as the 6th President of The Indianapolis Foundation and 2nd CICF President.


Legacy Fund celebrates 10th anniversary.

NPower Indiana and TechPoint Foundation (formerly Indiana Information Technology Association (INITA) Foundation) become CICF supporting organizations.

2002CICF adopts 1st five-year strategic plan.

2003English Foundation Building celebrated its 50th anniversary.

2005CICF announces Family Success and Inspiring Places community initiatives at "Giving Back, Going Forward" event. Each guest walked away with a $20 bill to give to a charitable organization in central Indiana they care about.

2006Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick was unveiled.


CICF adopts 2nd five-year strategic plan.

Women's Fund celebrates 10-year anniversary in by announcing an endowment campaign, a contribution of up to $2 million from Lilly Endowment Inc., awarding its three largest grants ever, and releasing the latest study on the status of women and girls in central Indiana.

2007R. Bradley Little serves as 3rd Legacy Fund president


More than $46 million was distributed to support charitable efforts in 2007, representing the most money ever granted in CICF’s 10-year history.


2008CICF becomes the local partner for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections initiative. Annie E. Casey is national foundation which works to serve vulnerable children and families and to build supportive communities. Making Connections focuses on tough neighborhoods and works with resident leaders to see that: Families have increased earnings and assets and children are healthy and prepared to succeed in school.

2008Efroymson Family Fund celebrates 10 years of giving more than $53 million to local, regional, national and international organizations

2008CICF partners with Lumina Foundation for Education and the 21st Century Scholars Program to create the College Readiness Fund.

2008CICF and four leading central Indiana philanthropic organizations create a new $3.2 million fund to respond to a rising demand for help to local people hardest hit by the economic meltdown.

2009 The Emmy-winning TV program "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" selected an Indianapolis single father of three sons to receive a new house and adjacent library/mentoring center. The effort expanded far beyond one home and sparked increased momentum and plans for neighborhood revitalization. CICF and Making Connections Indianapolis partnered with Paul Estridge, Jr., who led the construction, to engage neighborhood leaders, identify community needs, and strategize future initiatives.

2009Legacy Fund holds inaugural Celebration of Philanthropy November 12 and recognizes Crosser Family with a Living Legacy Award, given to salute the selflessness and tireless dedication of those who profoundly impact the quality of life and fabric of Hamilton County.

2009 The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick has been awarded $20.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal grant is part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Click here to view video submitted with TIGER grant proposal. This grant brings total construction costs within $1M of the total needed.

2010Legacy Fund holds its second annual Celebration of Philanthropy, an event meant to profile the work of Hamilton County not-for-profits and bring the philanthropic community together to celebrate that work. Francis “Sonny” Beck and his family receive the second Living Legacy Award for their lifetime commitment to philanthropy in central Indiana – and beyond.