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Grant program helps preserve and support historic African American sites

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Program honors Eli Lilly chemist and preservationist Stan Cox

Applications are open for two funds created to honor the legacy of an Eli Lilly chemist by providing grants to organizations working to preserve significant African American landmarks in Indiana.

Standiford “Stan” Cox, who passed away in 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 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 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, identifying significant places and evaluating projects that the program could assist. Indiana Landmarks Black Heritage Preservation Program committee reviews initial recommendations and submits them to CICF in June.

“CICF is honored to fulfill the legacy of Stan Cox and his commitment to preserving the history and richness of Black communities in Indiana,” said Jennifer Bartenbach, CEO of CICF.

In 2023, the fund awarded $215,000 to 16 projects, including cleaning and repair of 235 African American tombstones at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis and painting the clock tower at New Albany’s Town Clock Church, which once served as an Underground Railroad stop.

Since its inception in 2020, the Standiford H. Cox Fund has made grants to more than 50 projects totaling over $700,000.

In addition to grants for capital improvements, CICF also distributes planning grants on an ongoing basis for architectural or engineering services and supports other projects to document Black heritage in Indiana. In 2023, Constellation Stage & Screen received a grant for production of a one-hour documentary by Gudaitis Production showing how Black and white residents of Putnam County were affected by the Civil War.

“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, Ind., 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.

Applications for Cox Funds grants are due by April 1, 2024. Groups interested in applying for a grant from the Cox Funds should contact Indiana Landmarks at coxfunds@indianalandmarks.org.

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