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November 06, 2020

Fight for Life and Lilly Endowment Inc. Partner to Support Local Youth Through Social Emotional Virtual Learning


  • Foundation commits $64,000 to enhance virtual platforms for local youth through ‘Building
    Dreams’ program addressing behavioral health needs
  • Nonprofit to provide additional programs and services to help deserving but underserved youth develop the social and emotional qualities needed to be successful

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 6, 2020) – The Fight for Life Foundation has received a $64,000 grant through the
Youth Program Resilience Fund of Lilly Endowment Inc. Fight for Life Foundation will use the grant to continue developing
technology for virtual learning, specifically with Social-Emotional Learning. With this support, the Fight
for Life Foundation will be able to continue its commitment to helping underserved youth in Marion
County develop the Social-Emotional qualities needed to be successful

The grant to the Fight for Life Foundation is one of 297 that Lilly Endowment has made grants to
through the Youth Program Resilience Fund to help youth-serving organizations across Indiana adapt
their work to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants from this fund are part of more than
$170 million in grants Lilly Endowment has made to help organizations serve individuals and
communities amid the pandemic.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J. K.
Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and
Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a
separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its
founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and
religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Building Dreams History:

More than 9,000 students across 11 schools have been served through the Building Dreams program
with a focus on SEL and positive behavioral intervention. Over the past three years, 75% of students who
participated experienced academic improvement, improved school attendance, and fewer discipline
referrals. Nearly 100 administrators and teachers have been trained on the Building Dreams program
and the most effective ways to communicate with students and families.

The Building Dreams program is a major part of our school community and aligns with our mission and
vision at Sankofa School of Success,” said Allen Mickens, Sankofa School of Success Assistant Principal.
“The program is truly one of a kind and the opportunities it provides our students are something they
will never forget. We are proud to be involved in such an impactful partnership. We look forward to the
continued success of the program.”

Building Dreams has been an integral part of our School-Wide Positive Intervention and Behavior
Supports,” said Joshua A. Halliwell, Charles W. Fairbanks Elementary School #105 Assistant Principal.
“Our partnership with Fight for Life has allowed our students to take ownership of their behaviors and
celebrate their accomplishments while engaging in meaningful social-emotional curriculum. During this
virtual setting, Building Dreams has become even more important to allow for an all hands on deck
approach to ensure all students are supported while they are learning from home.”

Fight for Life continues to engage with administrators, teachers, students and families through virtual
wellness workshops and virtual youth field trips. “Our vision is to provide a business model that
connects education, healthcare, and social service programs by providing a concierge-like service for
schools and service providers. The Building Dreams program identifies student, family, and teacher
needs and then connects them to resources that can service the social determinants of health that are
impacting their lives.” said Marlin Jackson, Fight for Life Founder and CEO.

Fight for Life has received several awards and recognition for its work in the local community and impact
on Indiana’s youth over the years including Indy’s Best and Brightest Education and Nonprofit Winner,
Indy’s Best and Brightest Finalist, Phalen Leadership Academies’ Indiana Heroes Award Winner, JB
Award Winner (NFL) and Ed Block Courage Award Winner (NFL).

About Fight for Life Foundation, Inc.
Fight for Life Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that helps young people create a better life for
them and a better world for you. The 4 main programs of Fight for Life are: Building Dreams, Seal the
Deal, R.A.P., and Be a Blessing. Fight for Life Foundation was founded by Marlin Jackson, former
cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts NFL team. Marlin’s mission was to give kids a fighting chance. He
had to fight to get to where he was and it wasn’t a fight he wished for anyone. He never knew his father,
his mother was addicted to drugs, and he was neglected and moved from home to home— far from the
ideal childhood. So he fought. He had to fight for his life, the life that he wanted, the life that was just
beyond the horizon of the ghetto that he could not see. The more he experienced outside the confines
of his childhood, the more he became encouraged to fight for all that is right and just in the world.
Marlin’s hope is to give kids who grow up as he did a fighting chance to make it in the world, to let them
know their environment does not have to dictate who they are in a negative way. Marlin’s goal is to
introduce kids to life lessons and coach character qualities that he has learned along the way, in order to
help them side step some obstacles that he’s faced and know they have or will face. To learn more,
please visit https://fightforlifefoundation.org/.