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Verbatim: Lilly Endowment grants up to $7.5 million for OrthoWorx initatives

OrthoWorx issued this news release today:

WARSAW, Ind., July 11, 2013 -- OrthoWorx and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation (KCCF) announced today that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a $4 million grant to the Orthopedics Capital Foundation, a supporting organization of KCCF, to enable it to fund OrthoWorx's ongoing charitable and educational initiatives to secure and advance the region's current position as the Orthopedic Capital of the World. In addition to the initial payment of $4 million, the Endowment's grant also includes a dollar-for-dollar matching opportunity that would increase the total grant to $7.5 million if OrthoWorx can secure $3.5 million in contributions or pledges by October 15, 2013.

Launched in 2009 with generous support from Lilly Endowment, OrthoWorx works in conjunction with community and industry partners to help the Warsaw community and surrounding region take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the unusually high concentration of orthopedic device manufacturers in the area. An economic impact study conducted by the Indiana Business Research Center found that the orthopedic industry accounts for more than 40% of all employment in Kosciusko County, including approximately 6,800 in direct employment at orthopedic companies.

OrthoWorx has focused its initiatives on education, workforce development, innovation and broad community enhancement to attract and retain a highly skilled and educated talent base. It has led and facilitated a number of significant programs designed to drive innovation and entrepreneurship to support and expand the region's orthopedic cluster, including the ongoing development of the Orthopedic Capital Clinic and the Medical Device incubator/Accelerator concept, and has collaborated on several projects designed to enhance the region, including Krebs TRailhead and bicycle-pedestrian master plan and the Wagon Wheel Theatre youth program. Education programs have included the development of an elementary STEM academy, a college graduate program in regulatory and clinical affairs, and a certificate program to build a skilled workforce.

"OrthoWorx has served as an important convener and catalyst in the Warsaw region's uniquely concentrated and globally significant orthopedics device sector," said Ace Yakey, vice president for community development at Lilly Endowment. "Lilly Endowment is pleased to support the next phase of OrthoWorx's efforts to strengthen further the region's appeal to the orthopedic industry and enhance the quality of life of the people who live and work there."

One of OrthoWorx's cornerstone projects for innovation and entrepreneurship is the Orthopedic Capital Clinic, which is in the final stages of planning and would further underscore the region's leadership position through the work of a collaborative research clinic focused on developing innovative solutions and medical education to advance orthopedic care. Additionally, as part of its efforts to better leverage statewide assets, OrthoWorx has recently begun an initiative to align orthopedic industry interests and needs with the vast academic and research capabilities represented by the state's colleges and universities.

"The orthopedic industry is vitally important to our community and region, and because every 10 jobs in orthopedics generates an additional nine jobs elsewhere in our county's economy, we need to continue working together to make Kosciusko County and the broader region a place where existing and new orthopedic companies thrive," said Sheryl Conley, OrthoWorx president and CEO. "By continuing to build on our region's strengths and leveraging assets across Indiana through initiatives like college and university partnerships, we can protect and strengthen this vital regional economic engine."

"OrthoWorx has been a tremendous community asset and partner in developing programs and initiatives that will help our community prosper today and long into the future," said Suzie Light, executive director of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation. "Lilly Endowment's grant provides generous resources to advance this important work and provides an incredible opportunity to bring more community resources to the table to make a difference. We are fortunate as a region to have a strong base of industry and community support. The match opportunity will encourage additional and new contributions from orthopedic companies, orthopedic-related companies, and individuals and charitable foundations that are or have been directly related to the orthopedic industry."

"The $3.5 million that is available in the matching portion of the grant is a call to action for those who benefit economically from the presence and vitality of the orthopedic industry cluster," said Jon Serbousek, chair of the OrthoWorx board of directors. "The level of local collaboration has been unprecedented and allowed us to engage with the community in new, productive ways. We must now move quickly to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity to generate investments that will strengthen our community and regional economy for years to come."

Individuals or companies interested in financially supporting OrthoWorx's initiatives in the region can make a contribution electronically at www.kcfoundation.org/OrthoWorxmatch. (Available Monday, July 15, 2013)

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