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Following in Colonel Eli Lilly's Footsteps

A Legacy of Civic Engagement

Bart Peterson is Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications for Eli Lilly and Company. From 2000 to 2007, he served two terms as the mayor of Indianapolis. Before joining Lilly in 2009, Bart served as managing director of Strategic Capital Partners, as a fellow with the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and as a distinguished visiting professor of public policy at Ball State University.

Corporate Citizenship is the focus of Peterson’s article “Following in Colonel Eli Lilly’s Footsteps,” and was also a key theme of Sagamore Institute’s Indiana Conference on Citizenship in 2015. Peterson traces the importance Eli Lilly and Company places on philanthropy today–$590 million in 2014 contributions–back to the company’s founder, Colonel Eli Lilly.

Chair of the local relief committee and the Commerical Club of Indianapolis, Lilly was eulogized by The Indianapolis Journalupon his death in 1898: “There are few men whose loss can so fully and truthfully be considered a loss to a community as is that of Colonel Eli Lilly. He was a man who entered into public affairs from thoroughly unselfish motives and was guided in his efforts by a sincere desire to promote the welfare [of his fellow citizens.]”

In this way, the prosperity of Eli Lilly and Company meant the prosperity of Indianapolis too.