Sign In

About The Indianapolis Prize

The Indianapolis Prize is an internationally recognized animal conservation program and award.  Established in 2005, the Prize was created to bring the world's attention to the cause and celebrate the men and women who have made extraordinary contributions to the sustainability of wildlife. The Indianapolis Prize is the largest individual monetary award given for animal conservation in the world and is one of the ways the Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. ​

Every other year, the Indianapolis Prize team invites the conservation community to nominate candidates whose significant achievements demonstrate a positive impact on an animal species or group of species that is likely to improve long-term sustainability. 

By way of a two-tiered judging process, nominees are vetted by highly respected conservation experts from around the world. A nominating committee selects six finalists, followed by a jury who chooses the winning conservationist.

The winner of the Indianapolis Prize is awarded an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000 – the largest international monetary prize given to an individual for the conservation of animal species - sponsored by the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, in addition to the prestigious Lilly Medal​.  Each of the finalists are also awarded an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000.

The presenting of the Indianapolis Prize and the Lilly Medal takes place during the biennial Indianapolis Prize Gala hosted by Cummins Inc. During this black tie affair in downtown Indianapolis,
the winner and finalists are honored for their selfless dedication, scientific expertise and lasting success, while an influential audience is captured by an impactful evening of storytelling and emotion.

During this evening committed to the preservation of wild things in wild places, the Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award​ is awarded to an individual who supports the natural world as an effective public voice. 

This spectacular night is a victory for all animal conservation enthusiasts and a win for Indianapolis' efforts to bring international attention to this great cause.

The Prize
draws attention to the important work of animal conservationists protecting species and creating successful conservation methods that ensure future generations will live in a flourishing and sustainable world. 

For every gala year the Indianapolis Prize purchases carbon offsets in an amount sufficient to balance all carbon emissions associated with the event. The carbon offsets purchased are verified by an accredited third party and are from projects including renewable energy facilities (wind farms), methane or landfill gas capture. These projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil-fuel power from traditional coal-fired generating facilities.

This program and award represents the vitality and commitment of the Indianapolis community's dedication to make a difference to our natural world. 

Lilly Medal © 2013, Indianapolis Zoological Societies