In recent months, organizations along the Wabash Valley corridor have received grants from an entity called the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN).

The organization came about after a significant amount of money was donated from the Lilly Endowment Fund, and then the oversight committee of the money was formed, creating WHIN, communications coordinator Jessica Strassberg said.

A $495,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Community Indiana Community Partnership Foundation in 2015 enabled the Greater Lafayette region to identify opportunities, assets and resources that can be better utilized and coordinated to provide economic opportunities for its residents and communities. Having Purdue, Ivy Tech, agriculture and assorted manufacturing and agriculture, life sciences and renewable resources available within Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties.

Strassberg explained that it took a few years to get WHIN fully operational. “We’re ready to narrow down the field of applicants for the Regional Cultural Fund and award round two grants,” Strassberg continued. “These grants are focus one of these three topics: vitality, education or connectivity.”

Greg Ottinger, the vice president of strategic partnerships, explained the hope is that WHIN will encourage and entice young people educated in the Wabash Valley to consider staying where they know the strength and quality of the resources available. “We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to encourage and develop our state to be competitive in the future,” Ottinger said.