Ball Brothers Foundation Awards Over $5 Million in Funding for 39 Projects

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By Melissa Narlock—

MUNCIE, INBall Brothers Foundation approved over $5 million in funding for 39 projects during its second round of grantmaking in 2022. The grants included funding to support efforts that further bolster school counseling programs and expand outdoor learning throughout schools in the heart of Muncie.

During its fall grant round, Ball Brothers Foundation awarded funding to educational organizations including:

  • Project Leadership: $15,000 to support continuation of the Delaware County Comprehensive Counseling Coalition.
  • Burris Laboratory School (via Ball State University): $200,000 for K-12 education improvement and innovation.
  • Muncie Community Schools: $450,000 for support of pre-K-12 education improvements and innovations.

Over the past several years, schools across the nation have faced the unenviable challenge of educating students amid a global pandemic. While the vast majority of students and teachers have transitioned back into the classroom, the impacts of the pandemic on students, teachers, and society are becoming increasingly apparent. Learning loss, isolation, and other factors have greatly impacted students and their educational trajectories.

Ball Brothers Foundation recognizes the vital role counseling departments play in assisting students facing additional social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Through the generosity of Lilly Endowment and the support of other local funders, schools across Delaware County have significantly strengthened their school counseling departments over the past several years, even in the midst of the pandemic. Thanks to Project Leadership, a local nonprofit organization, school counselors from across Delaware County have regularly convened to share best practices, support one another, learn about local industry partners’ workforce needs, and explore partnership opportunities.

To ensure the momentum spurred by Lilly Endowment’s Comprehensive Counseling funding can be maintained, Ball Brothers Foundation awarded funding to both Burris Laboratory School and Muncie Community Schools for a variety of needs, including further bolstering counseling departments and career/technical training. The board of directors also awarded a grant to Project Leadership to continue hosting in-person convenings for local school counselors. Other public schools across Delaware County have been invited to apply for grants to continue Comprehensive Counseling efforts through a separate grants program.

“Ball Brothers Foundation continues to be committed to strengthening public school education in the heart of Muncie’s central city,” reflected Jud Fisher, President and CEO. “We recognize that both Burris Laboratory School and Muncie Community Schools play a pivotal role in K-12 education innovation, not only locally but also a state and national level too.”

Burris Laboratory School is one of approximately 100 laboratory schools across the world that are associated with colleges and universities. Laboratory schools have a commitment to developing new educational models, incubating new ideas, and providing a space for pre-service teachers to receive training. Burris’ innovative environment, diverse student body, and small-school atmosphere make it an attractive option for local families and help Muncie to compete to attract/retain local talent

Ball State University’s partnership with Muncie Community Schools, the first of its kind in the nation, is transforming the district into a national model for innovative, holistic education.

In addition to funds to bolster counseling and career/technical training services at both Burris and MCS, grants to the two school systems will also support a range of needs including enhancing extracurricular and sports programs, teacher training, new course development, technology upgrades, and minor facility improvements.

Utilizing these grants, both school systems will also expand outdoor learning opportunities for students. Research indicates that playing and learning in nature improves academic performance and directly impacts both physical and mental health. Outdoor learning also promotes perseverance, problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership, teamwork, and resilience—all skills which are vital for students to further develop.

“The support of these grants builds on the foundation’s and the Ball family’s long-held interests in nature and education,” shared Jud Fisher. “In the wake of the pandemic, we’re hopeful that this combination of innovation inside classrooms, bolstering of school counseling resources, and expansion of outdoor learning opportunities can make a difference in the lives of students and teachers.”

The foundation’s final round of 2022 grants also include funding to community organizations focused on arts and culture, education, health, human services, and public society benefit:

Arts, Culture, & Humanities

  • Conner Prairie Museums, Inc: $30,000 for Prairie Pathways Capital Campaign to renovate the current Welcome Center and create a transformational Outdoor Nature Experience.
  • Cornerstone Center for the Arts, Inc: $100,000 for general operating support in 2023.
  • Minnetrista Museums & Gardens: $2,775,000 for operations and capital support in 2023.
  • Muncie Arts and Culture Council: $45,000 for operations and building stabilization.
  • Orchestra Indiana: $40,000 for operations and capacity building in 2023.



  • Ball State University: $10,000 for the Education Support Hub website which provides information for educators, parents, students, and community members in Delaware County.
  • Ball State University: $60,000 to support the family/school/community coordinator position at Longfellow Elementary School.
  • ecoREHAB: $85,000 to assist with residential rehabilitation in the McKinley neighborhood.
  • Huffer Memorial Children’s, Inc: $40,000 for the purchase of a van.
  • Independent Colleges of Indiana: $100,000 for the Ball Venture Fund, a competitive grant program that offers seed funding for innovative projects at private colleges and universities across Indiana.
  • Indiana University Health Foundation: $50,000 to upgrade virtual learning equipment and lab simulators for Ball Memorial physicians-in-training.
  • Ivy Tech Foundation: $30,000 to fund First Aid CPR/AED certification courses for healthcare workers and community members.
  • Muncie BY5: $50,000 to support general operations in 2023.
  • Muncie Children’s Museum, Inc: $25,000 to build staff capacity for educational programs and exhibits.
  • Purdue University: $25,000 for collaborative programming to strengthen the local STEM Education to workforce pipeline.
  • TeenWorks: $50,000 to support teen and worksite supervisor wages during TeenWorks’ 2023 Summer Program.
  • Telamon Corporation (DBA Transition Resources Corporation): $50,000 to replace exterior doors at the TRC Muncie Head Start Center.
  • The Arc of Indiana Foundation: $50,000 for operating support of the Erskine Green Training Institute.


  • Ball State University: $50,000 to support and expand community outreach initiatives of the Healthy Lifestyle Center.
  • Indiana University School of Medicine – Muncie: $50,000 to support the development of programming for the MD Bachelors program, expansion of the health promotion and disease prevention scholarly concentration, and medical student housing enhancement at the Village Promenade Learning Laboratory.
  • Meridian Health Services: $30,000 to increase Mental Health First Aid Training for physicians-in-training and new mid-level providers.
  • Open Door Health Services: $30,000 to expand obstetrics training for physicians-in-training.


Human Services

  • 8twelve Coalition: $45,000 for general operations and support of the Small Sparks grant program which provides residents with an opportunity to carry out projects they have identified to benefit their neighborhood.
  • Greater Muncie, IN Habitat for Humanity, Inc: $25,000 for creation of an outdoor space and corner park on Hoyt Avenue.
  • Inside out Community Development Corporation: $40,000 for energy efficient lighting system installation.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana: $40,000 to fund neighborhood and home delivery food assistance.
  • Urban Light Community Development: $10,000 for general operations support in 2023.


Public Society Benefit

  • Delaware County Emergency Communications Center: $75,000 for an Emergency Mobile Dispatching unit for on-site incident command.
  • East Central Indiana Regional Partnership, Inc: $80,000 for operations and support of marketing, collaborative activities, and initiatives of the Partnership.
  • East Central Indiana Regional Planning District: $60,000 to support staffing for the new Judicial Users Manufacturing Partnership Program.
  • Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites: $10,000 to support development and programming for the new “Emancipation and Struggle for Citizenship Lincoln Collection Exhibit.”
  • Muncie Action Plan: $10,000 to support operations for 2022-2023.
  • Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc: $50,000 in operational support for 2023.
  • Muncie Land Bank, Inc: $45,000 to support buildup of inventory for neighborhood revitalization on Muncie’s south side.
  • NonproFIT Support Network: $55,000 for operations and programming support.
  • Ross Community Center: $100,000 for the completion of the third ballfield and walking trail surrounding the sports complex.

The foundation also regularly accepts applications for Rapid Grants of up to $5,000 from February through November of each year. For more information on Ball Brothers Foundation grants, visit

 About Ball Brothers Foundation

Ball Brothers Foundation is one of the state’s oldest and largest family foundations. In 2022, the foundation will pay out $10 million in grants to support arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services, and public affairs. The Muncie-based private foundation gives priority to projects and programs that improve the quality of life in the foundation’s home city, county, and state.