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Grant Program to Help Preserve and Support Historic African American Sites

INDIANAPOLIS – Two funds honoring the legacy of a retired Eli Lilly chemist will provide grants to organizations working to preserve significant African American landmarks in Indiana.

Standiford “Stan” Cox, who passed away in February 2019, joined Eli Lilly and Co. in 1957 as its first Black chemist and was a generous advocate for the preservation of African American heritage sites. During his lifetime, he established two funds with the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), one in his name and one to honor his parents.

The Standiford H. Cox Fund supports the restoration, preservation, operation and ongoing maintenance of African American historic sites in Indiana. The Dovie Stewart Cox & Chester A. Cox Sr. Memorial Fund provides support for Lost Creek Community Grove at the Lost Creek Settlement near Terre Haute, one of the state’s earliest settlements of free people of color.

Indiana Landmarks will continue in its role as a key preservation advisor to the funds, drawing on the expertise of its African American Landmarks Committee to identify significant places and evaluate projects that the program could assist. The group will make initial recommendations to CICF in late May.

“Through this partnership with Indiana Landmarks, CICF is able to fulfill the legacy of Stan Cox and his commitment to preserve and honor African American history and contributions made throughout our communities,” said Pam Ross, vice president of community leadership and equitable initiatives at The Indianapolis Foundation, an affiliate of CICF.

In 2021, the fund awarded $192,120 to 13 projects, including repairs to the damaged vestibule and steeple at historic Roberts Chapel in northern Hamilton County, as well as conservation of gravestones in the adjacent cemetery. In addition to grants for capital improvements, CICF also distributes grants for architectural or engineering services and nominations to the National Register of Historic Places on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

“Stan Cox has left an incredible legacy to the people of Indiana,” said Mark Dollase, Vice President of preservation services at Indiana Landmarks. “We are honored to work with the Central Indiana Community Foundation in a partnership that will aid in the restoration of important African American landmarks for years to come.”

Born in Brazil, IN, Cox was an Indiana University graduate who worked for 32 years for Eli Lilly and Co., beginning as a chemist and holding a variety of positions during his career. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic society, he also earned a master’s degree from Butler University. An advocate for academic biochemical research, he endowed the Standiford H. Cox Professorship in Biochemistry at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Sites will be assessed based on criteria including architectural and/or historical significance, opportunities for redevelopment, threat of demolition, and significance to Indiana’s African American heritage. Applicants must be a non-profit organization with active 501(c)3 status.
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