George and Frances Ball Foundation First Quarter Grants

Cradle to Career Muncie Middle Grade Math Collaborative Action Network Members brainstorm collective strategies and solutions. Photo by Maggie ManorCradle to Career Muncie Middle Grade Math Collaborative Action Network Members brainstorm collective strategies and solutions. Photo by Maggie Manor

By Kelsey Harrington, Program and Analytics Officer—

MUNCIE, IN—More than $365,000 was awarded to ten community organizations by the George and Frances Ball Foundation. On February 24th, members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors met to review and make funding decisions for first quarter requests.

Many of the funded efforts will build the capacity and fuel strategic, collective action of Cradle to Career Muncie, a community-wide and equity-centered educational attainment initiative driven by more than 40 community organizations and facilitated by the George and Frances Ball Foundation’s staff. Cradle to Career Muncie brings together stakeholders to evaluate data, set goals, identify and implement strategies, and build stronger alignment and relationships. These stakeholders are convened around academic topics ranging from kindergarten readiness to meaningful career employment, as well as supportive topics such as family and community engagement and health.

Grade level reading has been a longtime focus of Heart of Indiana United Way, the Leader of Cradle to Career Muncie’s Third Grade Reading Collaborative Action Network. Heart of Indiana United Way was awarded $58,000 to hire a Director of Learning Supports. This role will help to build the organization’s capacity, spearheading much of the programming and facilitation around third grade reading.

Another key marker from Cradle to Career is middle grade math. The Foundation Board approved grants totaling $88,000 for collaborative, strategic efforts in the Middle Grade Math Collaborative Action Network (CAN), led by the Innovation Connector. Grants made to Innovation Connector will be focused on current and expanded Coding Connector STEM programs during the school year and summer. Additional grants made to Ivy Tech Muncie Henry County Campus, Muncie Area Youth for Christ, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie will help their staffs to implement mentorship programs and provide intervention support in both Muncie Community Schools’ middle schools. The remaining funds were allocated to Muncie Community Schools for the purchase of eSports computers at Northside Middle School, as well as school pride and attendance incentive efforts at Southside Middle School.

Other grants awarded included funding to support the equipment and start-up costs of a local graduation pathway in Digital Animation for special education students at Wes-Del High School. This is the first pathway of its kind in the state. Additionally, in honoring other areas of focus important to the G.A. Ball family, the Foundation Board approved grants to support operations of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Red-tail Land Conservancy, and YWCA Central Indiana.

About the Foundation

To learn more about the Foundation or to find information about 2023 grant opportunities, please visit or find the George and Frances Ball Foundation page on Facebook.

Founded in 1937, George and Frances Ball Foundation was organized exclusively to promote charitable, scientific and educational purposes, with a strong commitment to the needs of East Central Indiana. The family is well known for their philanthropy and for numerous other accomplishments including championing education, collecting items such as rare children’s literature, and creating the Ball Jar Blue Book.

Honoring the family’s interests and legacy, the Foundation reviews and funds grants across 5 different focus areas including education and youth, civic enhancement, arts and culture, wrap-around services, and nature and historic preservation. The Foundation adopted a new proactive grantmaking strategy in 2018, which carries forward the education-focused legacy of George and Frances Ball with efforts to increase educational attainment through a community Cradle to Career Initiative.