Major grant will support, boost Downtown Indy’s Street Ambassador program

The Lilly Endowment has awarded Downtown Indy, Inc., over $1.8 million to continue and expand its Street Ambassador program, which was launched in 2019 to enlist veterans threatened with homelessness into jobs cleaning sidewalks and public spaces in Downtown’s Wholesale District. The grant will provide funding of $370,115 a year for five years, serving to triple the program’s staffing levels.

Downtown Indy, Inc., partnered with HVAF (Helping Veterans and Families) on the Lilly Endowment Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis grant proposal. The funding for the Street Ambassadors program was one of 28 grants Lilly Endowment Inc. announced today it has approved a total of $93.6 million in new grants to 28 organizations working to provide work opportunities for veterans experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness to obtain and maintain good and promising jobs in Central Indiana. 

Bob Schultz, Downtown Indy vice-president of marketing and community events, reported that veterans who choose to participate in the Street Ambassador internship will have the option to work in one of three full-time positions to clean and green Downtown Indy’s Wholesale District and act as Downtown Ambassadors. Each position offers an hourly salary and a consistent 5-days and 40-hours weekly work schedule. Interns in the Street Ambassador Program will have the option to continue in this role for an estimated six-to-twelve months.

Each of the 12 veterans in the Street Ambassador Program will receive four Downtown Indy-branded uniforms and be equipped with supplies and equipment for their position, averaging $1,000 per intern.

DII’s Street Ambassador program can now continue and expand, fully funded for five years, ensuring Downtown remains the city’s premiere, vibrant and CLEANEST destination!