By Jud Fisher, President/CEO, Ball Brothers Foundation—
MUNCIE, IN—Ball Brothers Foundation, one of Indiana’s oldest and largest private family foundations, is preparing to celebrate its 100th year of grantmaking and leadership in 2026. In anticipation, the foundation’s Board of Directors has adopted a new strategic plan. Designed to guide the foundation’s work over the next five years, the “Second Century Strategic Plan” will ensure a strong, impactful conclusion to the foundation’s first century of grantmaking and set the strategic direction for the years ahead.
The “Second Century Strategic Plan” reaffirms the board’s commitment to place-based grantmaking focused on Muncie and Delaware County. The foundation’s funding will continue to support a broad range of organizations and projects that improve the quality of life in Muncie and Delaware County. The foundation’s grantmaking will remain agile and responsive to the changing needs of the community. Limited funding support will also be extended for projects at the regional level and for select projects outside East Central Indiana that have a statewide impact. Additionally, the plan emphasizes increased attention to supporting organizations in building operational effectiveness and capacity.
“Overall, we will continue to take the long-view in our grantmaking strategies,” said Jud Fisher, Ball Brothers Foundation President and CEO. “We understand that place-based improvements can take time to come to fruition and the new plan provides a framework that will guide our grantmaking in the years ahead.”
The foundation’s Board of Directors will continue to be comprised of a mix of Ball family members and community representatives. A particular emphasis will be placed on the careful selection, recruitment, and training of future board members who bring varied life experiences and backgrounds. Future non-family board members will be individuals who are deeply involved in the Muncie community and who live, work, and raise their families in the area. The foundation already engages 4th and 5th generation Ball family members and will continue to seek opportunities to further this engagement in the years ahead.
The plan also calls on the foundation to take a stronger leadership role in lending its voice to issues that impact the area and to be a strong advocate and cheerleader for East Central Indiana. Foundation staff will maintain a tradition of relationship-centered grantmaking and ramp up its capacity to convene grantees, community leaders, peer funders, government officials, and others to discuss and act on issues of importance.
To create the new strategic plan, Ball Brothers Foundation retained the services of a consultant who has worked closely with family foundations for over 20 years to increase impact in communities across the country. In addition to sending anonymous surveys to nearly 100 grantees, community leaders, and peer foundation leaders, the consultant led the board and next-generation Ball family members in deep discussions regarding the foundation’s future, giving priorities, operations, and impact.
The Board of Directors also held in-depth discussions with the leaders of other family foundations that work with multiple generations of family members, focus on giving in specific geographies, and have long historical connections in the cities in which they give. Ball Brothers Foundation staff carefully reviewed the feedback in cooperation with the board to create strategic goals and a detailed work plan that will guide the foundation from 2023 to 2027.
About Ball Brothers Foundation
Ball Brothers Foundation is one of the state’s oldest and largest family foundations. In 2022, the foundation paid 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.