Eli Lilly of Indianapolis, Indiana is universally recognized as one of the most influential natives of Indy. Indeed, his accomplishments, and those of his grandfather and namesake, Colonel Eli Lilly, still reverberate today throughout the world. The powerhouse pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company, was founded by the Colonel and carried into stardom in its field by Eli Lilly.
Eli Lilly was born in 1885 and died in 1977, but his legacy will live on and on. Not only was he the quintessential businessman, 100% dedicated to his career as president of Eli Lilly and Company Pharmaceuticals, but he will always be passionately remembered by locals for his myriad acts of philanthropy.
Eli Lilly and Company was the brainchild of his grandfather, Colonel Eli Lilly, who is also remembered in the community with respect. In fact, the Colonel has a famous Civil War Museum named after him, right in the center of glittering downtown Indianapolis. The Colonel handed over the reins of the company, which had remained successful through two devastating World Wars, to his son Josiah K. Lilly. In 1932, Josiah followed suit, and Eli Lilly became the company’s president. It was during his tenure that the company expanded to global proportions.
In 1937, the family founded the Lilly endowment, a multi-million dollar charitable organization which continues to aid, improve and positively affect Indianapolis as well as the many outlying suburbs. The family creed is that “giving is the responsibility of those who make money,” and it is of his many generous acts of charity that Eli Lilly was most proud.
Eli Lilly is among the most beloved and famous people of Indianapolis.