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Lilly Endowment Awards $7 Million Grant to Establish Orthopedics and Community Initiative in Kosciusko County, IN

WARSAW, Ind., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The future of Warsaw, Indiana, the orthopedics capital of the world, received a significant boost today: the single largest private foundation grant ever awarded in the region.

The Kosciusko County Community Foundation (KCCF) and BioCrossroads announced that a $7 million grant, made by Lilly Endowment Inc. to KCCF, will support the establishment of OrthoWorx, a Warsaw-based, industry, community and education initiative to advance and support growth and innovation within the region's uniquely concentrated, globally significant orthopedics device sector. The initiative will engage and enhance the broader community interests that both serve and depend upon the sector's continued growth.

"Indiana is indeed fortunate to be home to this extraordinary cluster of orthopedic companies in the Warsaw community," said N. Clay Robbins, president of the Endowment. "We are pleased that a promising plan and framework have been developed, after many months of deliberation and good effort, to secure and enhance the region's competitive appeal to the orthopedic industry now and in the future.

"While many have contributed to the development of this plan, we are especially impressed by the leadership and dedication of the president of Grace College, Ron Manahan; the executive director of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, Suzie Light; and the leaders of the orthopedic industry and BioCrossroads. Without their tireless efforts we would not be here today," Robbins added.

The OrthoWorx initiative was created out of a comprehensive Endowment-funded study conducted by BioCrossroads, Indiana's public-private collaboration for investment, development and advancement of the state's signature life sciences strengths. Released Sept. 10, the report, "Warsaw, Indiana: The Orthopedics Capital of the World -- An overview, analysis and blueprint for future industry and community growth", explores the sector's current assets and challenges and sets forth a series of action-oriented recommendations designed to secure and advance the community's current position as home to nearly a third of the world's orthopedic device industry.

"The Community Foundation is uniquely positioned, under the leadership of our board of directors, as a neutral catalyst and convener for community initiatives, to support and provide structure for the charitable, educational and scientific aspects of OrthoWorx as outlined in BioCrossroads' report," said Light. "We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for its support of this project. We have wonderful partners who will allow us to accomplish what none of us alone could do."

OrthoWorx will be orchestrated by a number of nonprofit organizations supporting Warsaw-based efforts to define and drive the best opportunities for regional vitality and growth. Key among them will be a new charitable affiliate of KCCF, the Orthopedic Capital Foundation, and a new business league focused on the orthopedic industry. The initiative will target an integrated set of educational, workforce, cultural, communication, branding, logistical and entrepreneurial efforts that will advance the orthopedics sector and the Warsaw community, which calls the sector "home."

For example, within a talent and workforce development initiative, OrthoWorx will engage the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Ivy Tech, Grace College and other higher education institutions, to help identify gaps in training and associate and baccalaureate degree programs. They will then work to develop new educational programs through state and federal grants and other sources of funding to fill such gaps. OrthoWorx also will explore ways to enrich and expand K-12 options in the region and develop further the research collaborations among orthopedic companies and Indiana's research universities. It also will build relationships with the human resources, management and manufacturing departments of the various Warsaw-based orthopedics companies to ensure that companies can get the specifically trained workers they need.

Cultural and recreational amenities are also crucial to the overall vitality of a region, and OrthoWorx will establish a specific initiative to analyze opportunities for additional civic and cultural programs. Among many possible activities, the organization could consider partnerships involving Warsaw and contiguous cities offering additional cultural options such as the Fort Wayne Dance Collective and South Bend's HealthWorks Kids' Museum or the Snite Museum of Art.

"Much as BioCrossroads has become the supporting brand for Indiana's broad field of life sciences assets, OrthoWorx will become the voice that promotes the presence and potential of the Warsaw-based orthopedics industry and the community that supports it," said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. "As the epicenter of the orthopedics industry, Warsaw offers both a unique industry and a unique community. OrthoWorx will bridge the two to put the best strategic opportunities into action."

KCCF and BioCrossroads are working with key community and industry leaders to form the OrthoWorx initiative and will begin facilitating the formation of a locally based leadership team over the next few months. As OrthoWorx finalizes areas and structure for its initial focus, BioCrossroads is prepared to be involved in a role that supports and advances the vision and work of a strong group of community leaders.

About Kosciusko County Community Foundation

The Kosciusko County Community Foundation ( is a public charity that has been matching the dreams of donors with community needs through endowment building and grant making since 1968. Among the key elements of the Community Foundation's mission is its role as a catalyst and convener to address community needs. The shared initiative between the Community Foundation and BioCrossroads will help the Community Foundation fulfill this important role for the entire community.

About BioCrossroads

BioCrossroads ( is Indiana's initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the state's research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development. BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Health Information Exchange, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX, and Datalys Center), expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana's life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana's life sciences industry.

About Lilly Endowment

Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family with gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. In keeping with the founders' wishes, the Endowment exists to support the causes of community development, education and religion. Through one of its signature initiatives, Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT), the Endowment was instrumental in establishing and strengthening community foundations throughout the state.

SOURCE BioCrossroads; Kosciusko County Community Foundation
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