Four Indiana independent colleges are the winners of the 2022 Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund competitive grant program: Indiana Wesleyan University, Marian University’s Ancilla College, Oakland City University, and University of Evansville. They will share $100,000 in seed funding for initiatives to stimulate creativity and innovation and foster competition and collaboration among the state’s 29 private, non-profit campuses. The grant was established by the Ball Brothers Foundation (Muncie) and is administered by ICI. The 2022 recipients were chosen from a field of 28 proposals:

Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion) will utilize its $25,000 grant to develop three online general education courses for the IWU Learning Marketplace. The self-paced, competency-based courses provide students with a path to degree completion, saving time and money. The courses will also allow IWU to compete with online education providers outside of higher education.

Marian University’s Ancilla College (Plymouth) will use $25,000 to purchase a SAM 3G®—Student Auscultation Manikin for the Leighton School of Nursing. This innovative piece of teaching equipment will allow students to practice procedural skills and conduct complex patient scenarios enhancing learning in heart, lung, and bowls, making them better prepared to join the workforce.

Oakland City University (Oakland City) is directing its $25,000 grant to create a year-long, once-a-month after school program, offering LEGO-based STEAM lessons to students in grades 3 to 6, culminating in a STEAM challenge. Creative technologies students, 7th through 12th graders, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana employees will receive training before serving as peer and professional mentors to participants.

University of Evansville (Evansville) will apply its $25,000 to The Innovation Academy at University of Evansville, making it the region’s primary hub for design thinking education. Grant funds will be utilized on comprehensive education for core Center for Innovation & Change staff members who will in turn lead workshops for K-16 educators, training them to supplement classroom activities, practice design thinking methodology, and run local workshops of their own. County-level pitch competitions will also be supported with stipends.

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