George and Frances Ball Foundation Announces Over $2 Million in Fourth Quarter Awards

Grissom Elementary School educator and student work together on the alphabet. Photo by Maggie Manor.Grissom Elementary School educator and student work together on the alphabet. Photo by Maggie Manor.

Foundation invests nearly $6 Million locally in 2023.

By Kelsey Harrington—

MUNCIE, IN—The George and Frances Ball Foundation, established 86 years ago with a focus on livability and educational attainment in the Muncie-Delaware County community, extends the legacy of the G.A. Ball family today through grantmaking and convening. Over the course of 2023, the Foundation convened more than 200 individuals and 60 community partner organizations around the proactive, collective impact focus of Cradle to Career Muncie. This year, the Foundation also granted nearly $6 million to local nonprofits.

Earlier this month, the Foundation’s Board of Directors met and awarded over $2 million in grants. These funds will support area trail systems, neighborhood organizing, music performances and education, and tablet purchases for Hillcroft’s ABA Clinic, to name a few.

Over the past few years, The Foundation has made significant investments in the overall operations of key Cradle to Career Muncie stakeholders, as well as towards catalytic strategies born from the collective work of each of the initiative’s outcome-specific Collaborative Action Networks (CANs). Partner organizations such as Muncie BY5, Heart of Indiana United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie, and the YMCA continue to receive essential support for their individual core mission, while the Foundation also supports the work of Cradle to Career Muncie.

Students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie. Photo by Maggie Manor.

Students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie. Photo by Maggie Manor.

This quarter, sizeable operating grants were made to both of these organizations and others. In addition, community partners have created evidence-based collaborative strategic plans for specific Cradle to Career Muncie outcome areas. The Foundation most recently approved nearly $350,000 to support some of these initial strategies in 2024, including:

  • $44,500 for the completion of a Scholastic Family Engagement Assessment at each of the nine Muncie Community Schools to provide baseline family engagement data to inform strategies to increase engagement in the future.
  • $70,000 to the Greater Muncie Chamber of Commerce for the creation of a new position of Vice President of Talent Development to support the work of the Career Employment CAN.
  • $35,000 for a partnership between local therapy and educational services provider, Bloom & Be, and local early childhood care and education providers to offer speech language screenings and connection to early interventions.
  • $65,000 for the creation of ‘welcome baby’ materials to be distributed to every family welcoming a new baby at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, providing connections to resources and support for the essential first years of a child’s life.
  • $100,000 to support the facilitative leadership capacity of the Third Grade Reading CAN efforts, the creation of a neighborhood level Reading Champions program, and to expand play based learning and access to letters, words, and books for families.
  • $30,000 for the installation of book vending machines at East Washington Academy, South View, Grissom, and Longfellow Elementary Schools to serve as a science of reading based incentive tool to encourage student achievement, attendance, and positive behavior.

The George and Frances Ball Foundation continues its commitment to supporting and partnering with Minnetrista Cultural Center, the original residential property of the Ball Brothers, through its most recent contribution of $1,110,000 for the organization’s operational and capital needs in the coming year. Under the new leadership of Brian Statz, this unique quality of life asset in Muncie celebrates and tells the vivid story of not only the Ball family, but other nationally known, locally rooted icons such as Bob Ross through their exhibitions and programs.

To learn more about the Foundation or to find information about 2024 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 place-based 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 Muncie initiative.