Ball State University Receives $35 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment to Advance Village Revitalization Plan

Artist aerial rendering of the village. Rendering provided by Ball State University.Artist aerial rendering of the village. Rendering provided by Ball State University.

Grant is the largest single gift in the history of the University.

By Ball State Market and Communications—

MUNCIE, Indiana – Ball State University has received a grant of $35 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, College and Community Collaboration (CCC). The grant will support the University’s ambitious, long-term plan to revitalize The Village, the commercial district adjacent to Ball State’s campus.

The majority of the grant will support the design and construction of a new performing arts center, which will serve as the catalyst for the entire project. The Lilly Endowment grant enables the University to leverage additional development projects, including a new 100-room Tapestry by Hilton Hotel as well as new restaurants and retailers.

For several years, the University has been developing plans for a revitalized Village in conjunction with elected officials in Muncie and Delaware County and two private development partners, Fairmount Properties and Indianapolis-based Schahet Hotels.

“With the support of Lilly Endowment, we can now accelerate the implementation of our transformational plan for The Village,” said Renae Conley, chair of Ball State’s Board of Trustees. “I look forward to the coming changes to this commercial district and to the positive, long-term impact this project will have on Muncie and East Central Indiana.”

“This philanthropic gift is truly extraordinary,” said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. “On behalf of our University, I am grateful to Lilly Endowment for recognizing the potential of this project to improve the quality of life of every member of our community.”

Ball State is one of six Indiana higher education institutions receiving implementation grants through Lilly Endowment’s competitive initiative. Lilly Endowment anticipates making additional grants through the CCC initiative in 2024.

“In designing their proposed projects, it was evident that these colleges and universities engaged a wide-ranging group of community stakeholders to imagine and develop creative solutions to pressing campus and community needs,” said Jennett M. Hill, president of Lilly Endowment. “The institutions submitted proposals that revealed robust collaborative efforts reflective of the institutions’ willingness to learn from not only campus colleagues but from local residents and businesses to help shape projects with promising potential to enhance the quality of life on their campuses and in their local communities.”

Lilly Endowment launched College and Community Collaboration in early 2023. The initiative is designed to encourage Indiana’s colleges and universities to work closely with community stakeholders to envision and jointly undertake significant community development efforts to create more vibrant places in which to live, learn, work, and play.

About Ball State

Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State University is one of Indiana’s premier universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s 20,000 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world. The 790-acre campus is large enough to accommodate first-rate facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports, but our welcoming and inclusive campus is small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the University. Destination 2040: Our Flight Path establishes Ball State’s ambitious goals for our second century. We Fly!

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.