The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation is the major continuing philanthropic legacy of Allen Clowes and embodies his love for arts, humanities, and the city of Indianapolis. Incorporated in 1990, the Foundation’s full funding was made following Clowes’ death in November 2000. The foundation supports charitable organizations that promote or preserve the arts and humanities and those that were supported by him during his lifetime, primarily in Central Indiana.

Allen Clowes stands next to a statue in a garden.
Allen W. Clowes, in the garden at his family home, Westerly, in Indianapolis, 1955 Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

Philanthropic support for the arts was significant and legendary from Clowes and his family. Allen Whitehill Clowes was a noted Indianapolis philanthropist. Philanthropy was also a family tradition established by his parents, George Henry Alexander Clowes and Edith Whitehill Hinkel Clowes. Allen Clowes was an art enthusiast and leader in his own right and as the president of the family foundation, the Clowes Fund.

Clowes was the foundation’s first president and served it for its initial decade. William Marshall succeeded Clowes as president as the foundation became fully operational. James Lemler became president in 2019. The foundation’s board includes Indianapolis philanthropic, arts, humanities, educational, and legal leaders.

The northwestern exterior view of the six story addition of Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch. The City-County building can be seen in the background.
Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch Addition, ca. 2007 Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

As the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation entered its 20th  year of operations following Clowes’ death, it had served over 230 organizations and distributed over $85 million in charitable grants. In its earliest years, the foundation granted $11 million to the Indianapolis Public Library for its Central Library restoration and addition.

Several organizations have received funding over $1 million, although the bulk of the foundation’s awards are smaller grants. The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation has assisted emerging organizations that bring new energy and artistic expression to the community, as it supports imaginative programs and projects undertaken by Indianapolis major and long-standing museums and arts institutions. It supports endeavors that combine arts and community development, collaborating creatively with other arts funders in the city. 

Revised February 2021
The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation is a funder of the digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis.

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