OrthoWorx and the Orthopedics Capital Foundation today announced a three-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to continue efforts that are enhancing the Warsaw-based orthopedic industry cluster’s status as the Orthopedic Capital of the World.®
Lilly Endowment helped fund the launch of the Orthopedics Capital Foundation (OCF) and OrthoWorx in 2009 with a $7 million grant to the Kosciusko County Community Foundation that recognized the importance of the medical device cluster to the health of area communities and the vitality of the overall Indiana economy. In 2013, the Endowment provided additional funding to OCF totaling more than $5.26 million.
New grant funding to OCF could total as much as $2.25 million during the three-year grant period if certain matching conditions are met.
“We are so grateful to Lilly Endowment for enabling us to continue the important work we began in 2009,” said Suzie Light, board chair of OCF. “We are very proud of how we have been able to impact the community in several areas. We were the first entity to provide significant financial support for the expansion of STEM programming in the area; we were an influential catalyst in the improvement of career awareness and education; we have provided resources and expertise in diversity and inclusion; and we created a business accelerator to grow the next generation of innovators and leaders in our community.”
OCF and OrthoWorx, which conducts the foundation’s charitable and educational work in this area, created a new strategic plan to focus on enhancing the community impact of smaller growth companies in the medical device field. “Much has changed in the orthopedic landscape of our region given mergers and external ownerships and it has become clear that there is a rapidly emerging group of next generation orthopedic companies that will benefit from a strong OrthoWorx,” said OrthoWorx Board Chair David Findlay, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lake City Bank. “While we will continue to partner with those larger firms as we are able, we believe the greatest benefit to our region will come from engagement with growth companies who have started here and have a commitment to grow in partnership with local communities.”
Findlay said the OrthoWorx board is initiating a search for a leader for the organization who will direct the activities of the group over the next three years in fulfilling the educational and charitable work consistent with the grant. “I’d like thank Matt Hall, who has done outstanding work as our interim leader since September of 2021,” said Findlay. “Matt has been a constant since the founding of OrthoWorx when he managed the pivotal BioCrossroads study that led to our creation. We thank him for working with the Orthopedics Capital Foundation to shape our new vision and wish him well as he embarks on a full-time position in the medical device industry.”
Findlay said the new strategic plan involves bringing new voices to the table as board members of both OrthoWorx and the Orthopedics Capital Foundation. “If you look around our area at all of the growing medical device businesses, you can see the future is quite bright if we provide the right kinds of support,” he said. Examples of such businesses include Nextremity Solutions, Ignite Orthopedics, Razor Medical, Network Partners and many others. “We’ve also often had great engagement in our initiatives from supply chain companies such as Instrumedical Machine and Development and Precision Medical Technology, to name just two. We intend to capitalize on those partnerships and expand them to further our impact on our community and the region.”
Terry Schlotterback, who serves as a board member for OrthoPediatrics, Nextremity Solutions and Ignite Orthopedics, said he believes the new strategic focus will benefit early-stage and growth companies as they seek to attract and retain the talent they need to thrive in the region. “OrthoWorx has helped the Warsaw-based companies I’m involved with grow and succeed,” said Schlotterback. “I think their new strategic direction is the right one for the community and growth companies and I look forward to being more closely involved as the organization implements its sharpened focus on innovation and growth.”
OCF is aligned with the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, which administers funding received by OCF and is represented on the OCF and OrthoWorx boards by Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Overbey. “We are pleased to be able to play a continuing role in guiding the education efforts of OCF. The benefits of the continued presence and engagement of the medical device industry are very much aligned with our mission of strengthening our community by playing a central role in the deployment of philanthropic funding. The Foundation is grateful for this generous grant and all those in the past from Lilly Endowment that have helped advance life in Kosciusko County.”