Four Indiana independent colleges—Bethel University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Saint Mary’s College, and Marian University – will share $80,000 in seed funding for innovative, start-up programs as recipients of the 2021 Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund competitive grant program.

The 2021 recipients were chosen from a field of 46 proposals that seek to stimulate creativity and innovation and foster competition and collaboration among the state’s 30 private, non-profit campuses.

The Ball Brothers Foundation (Muncie) established the grant program and it is administered by Independent Colleges of Indiana. The grant program is funding the following programs:

Bethel University (Mishawaka) “Preparing Students for Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing: Bethel Engineering Laboratory”
Bethel’s $25,000 grant will prepare students for jobs in advanced manufacturing through a new engineering laboratory and updated engineering and management degree. This project will transform how Bethel educates students in their engineering and management degree and open their educational and training facilities to members of their region’s workforce in need of retraining as technological and economic conditions change around the world.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute) “The EMERGE Program: E-mentoring for 9th-grade Girls Interested in Engineering/Science Careers”
Rose-Hulman’s $25,000 grant will support the continuation of EMERGE, an e-mentoring program to enhance both career awareness and academic achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for 9th grade girls. EMERGE combines the efficacy of social networking with the maturity, academic talents, and dedication of their junior and senior women students. With this grant, they will continue a partnership between RHIT and Vigo County School Corporation to recruit women into STEM careers.

Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame) “The Hatchery: An Innovation Center Dedicated to Women-led Entrepreneurship & Technical Skill Development”
Saint Mary’s $25,000 grant will support the creation of “The Hatchery”—an innovative workspace and training center that will bolster the equity and inclusion of women of all ages, races, and ethnicities, both in skilled positions in the regional workforce and as business and industry leaders. The objectives of “The Hatchery” are to complement Saint Mary’s liberal arts education by providing students with hands-on learning opportunities; offering students and women in the community opportunities to earn credentials in demand by regional employers; and giving both students and women entrepreneurs the tools they need to launch and grow their own businesses.

Marian University (Indianapolis) “Marian University Center for Financial Wellness: Financial Education and Empowerment & Investments Program”
Marian’s $5,000 grant will be used in the creation of the Center for Financial Wellness (CFW) which will consist of two new programs: The Financial Education and Empowerment program (in partnership with Old National Bank) and the Bisigne Acuere (Investments) program. The programs’ goals are for Marian University students to gain financial knowledge and to be empowered to make better financial decisions.

The recipients were selected by a panel of judges, including Rich Spisak, Ball Brothers Foundation; Lisa Gomperts, Schmidt Associates; Annie Mack, RHB; Cathy Waggoner, Design Collaborative; and Nick Wallace, BKD, LLP.