Lilly Gives Back in a Big Way

For the fourth year in a row, Eli Lilly and its employees are showing a true commitment to making their city a better place. The Indy Star reports on this year’s massive undertaking:

An army of 8,000 red-shirted volunteers will fan out across the city today, planting thousands of trees, painting at least seven large murals to brighten public spaces and generally dressing up the community.

This is the fourth annual Lilly Global Day of Service, when 24,000 employees of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. volunteer for community service projects in 39 countries around the world.

Here in the company’s hometown, volunteers from at least 30 other companies, which are providing people and donated services, will reinforce the Lilly volunteers.

Event organizers estimate the value of the 35,000 hours of volunteer labor plus the materials and supplies at nearly $2 million for the day in Indianapolis.

Last year’s Day of Service included the creation of a six mile-long linear park along the sides of I-70 on the west side of Downtown.

While that caused some traffic problems for several hours while I-70 was closed, today’s projects will have minimal impact on most motorists. The ramps of the Emerson Avenue interchange of I-70 will be closed for various periods while the cloverleaf receives new trees and other landscaping.

“We are putting more emphasis on the Eastside this year, to help the neighborhoods, where so much is going on,” said David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

The agency is a partner with Lilly in the Day of Service, and he was referring to developments on the Eastside of the city by the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee to revitalize a neighborhood as a lasting legacy of the NFL game here in February.

Some of the work has been planned as a memorial, including development of a peace garden in a westside park, which will be created in memory of the victims of violence.

“This is a monumental day for civic service,” Forsell said. “In any community, it doesn’t come any bigger.”

The 8,000 volunteers will be focused at 46 worksites, which will be grouped in four primary zones of the city today.