Franklin College Awarded $500,000 Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Franklin College announced it has received a $500,000 implementation grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of its two-phase initiative, Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana (ASRI).

“We greatly appreciate the continued investment of Lilly Endowment Inc. in Indiana higher education and in Franklin College,” said President Kerry N. Prather. “The most critical key to lifelong learning is a strong foundation in reading skills. We are excited to leverage this grant opportunity to enhance our preparation of elementary teachers and ultimately help improve the literacy skills of Indiana students.”

ASRI is an initiative to help interested Indiana colleges and universities expand and enhance the use of evidence-based instructional methods aligned with the Science of Reading (SoR) in their teacher preparation programs. The goal is to significantly improve the reading abilities of Indiana students. The initiative will complement a statewide effort recently undertaken by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to improve reading achievement in K-12 schools by helping teachers implement SoR-aligned methods in their classroom.

Cindy Prather, director of teacher education and teacher licensing advisor at Franklin College, said, “Franklin embraced scientific reading research and instruction several decades ago, and it has remained a fundamental component of our elementary education program. This grant will further support those efforts and strengthen the SoR expertise of our faculty and the preparation of our elementary education majors.”

The college was awarded a $75,000 planning grant through Lilly Endowment’s initiative in December 2022. Those funds allowed the college to explore opportunities for leveraging its knowledge and resources to benefit Indiana teachers and their K-3 students. The process included an examination of the most current SoR research and practices while collaborating with alumni educators to determine how best to prepare future teachers.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community developmenteducation and religion. Although the Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

To learn more about the Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana opportunity, visit

For more information about Franklin College, please contact the Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, esports, Greek life, musical and theatre productions and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit Find Franklin College on Facebook, follow @FranklinCollege on X, formerly known as Twitter, and watch FranklinCollegeGrizzlies on TikTok.

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