In February 2007 he American Indian College Fund announced a historic grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The five-year, $17.5 million grant initiative, named Woksape Oyate, Lakota for "Wisdom of the People," built the intellectual capital of tribal colleges. The initiative allowed tribal colleges to tailor their programs to address their individual needs while strengthening the entire tribal college system.
Through a multifaceted approach, Woksape Oyate dramatically enhanced recruitment, retention, and development of tribal college faculty, staff, and students. Leadership development programs, increased fellowship, and sabbatical opportunities for staff and pipeline programs to bring the best and brightest students back to teach at their tribal college were developed during this initiative. Institutional capacity was also enhanced by creation of development offices and recruitment of highly qualified faculty.
Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family: J.K. Lilly-Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli, through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. The Endowment is a separate entity from the company and is devoted to education, religion and community development.