Lilly’s 5th Global Day of Service: The Power of Partnership

Thursday marks Lilly’s fifth global day of service, a special day when a sea of volunteers clad in red shirts pour into their communities to do service projects. 

Since the program launched in 2008, employees have given nearly 500,000 hours through Lilly Global Day of Service initiatives, making it one of the largest single-day volunteer programs in the world. 

This year, more than 20,000 Lilly employees will be volunteering in 40 countries. From Canada to Korea, teams are focusing on projects that strengthen our communities, our environment, and the lives of the people we serve as a global health company.

Here in Indy, we’ll have about 8,000 red shirts out in the community. For instance, we’ll be working on projects that help cancer patients and military veterans and assisting organizers as they prepare for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. And, our biggest Indianapolis-based project is in support of an exciting collaboration called Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW).

ROW is dedicated to strengthening our city’s waterways and adjacent neighborhoods along White River, Fall Creek, Eagle Creek, Central Canal, Pogue’s Run and Pleasant Run. It’s a multi-year effort that is being guided by a coalition of more than 100 partners who are focused on doing more together than any one organization could have done alone.

Many of our projects on Thursday are going to be labor intensive. 

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Some of us “desk jockeys” are in for a strenuous – but rewarding – day. I will be joining 2,500 of my fellow employees, as well as students and staff at Ivy Tech Community College, to pick up litter, remove invasive plants and build outdoor education classrooms along Fall Creek, adjacent to Ivy Tech’s downtown campus.

In addition, 1,000 Lilly volunteers will be marking or inspecting 20,000 storm drains. As a requirement of the Clean Water Act, drains will be marked with a “No Dumping” disk, and we will place biodegradable markers that provide information on water pollutants and the benefits of native plants. We’ll do in one day what would have taken the city three years, freeing up public employees for other work and saving taxpayers money.

We’ll post some pictures later this week and some video soon.