$100,000 in grants were awarded to five independent colleges in Indiana supporting innovative, start-up projects 

Five Indiana independent colleges are the winners of the 2024 Ball Venture Fund competitive grant program: Franklin College, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Saint Mary’s College, Trine 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 Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI). The 2024 recipients were chosen from a field of 29 proposals: 

Franklin College (Franklin) will apply its $25,000 to teach sustainable energy through electric vehicles. Their program will include purchasing electric Go-Karts that will be incorporated into physics coursework, a January intensive course, a series of programs for middle and high school students, and trainings for K-12 STEM teachers.  

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute) will use its $14,000 on the creation of a First-Gen Den for first-generation college students. The program will help first-generation college students transition to college and create a network and community among both their peers and faculty and staff members through programming, events, and virtual engagement.  

Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame) will use its $20,000 to expand the alternative grading system and research its effects on test anxiety in chemistry courses. The project includes researching how specifications-based testing can change learning outcomes and mindset in the classroom, as well as training other educators about the alternative grading system.   

Trine University (Angola) will direct its $20,500 to launch the Trine University Esports Arena, which will expand its current program. The arena will include a streaming studio for live gaming content, and the grant will allow a continued partnership with Easterseals Northern Indiana to make the space accessible and inclusive for individuals with disabilities.  

University of Evansville (Evansville) will apply its $20,500 to launching Ace Consulting. Undergraduate business students will offer consulting services such as strategic planning and financial analysis to local businesses and non-profits while providing opportunities for experiential learning for students.  

The recipients were selected by a panel of judges, including representatives from the Ball Brothers Foundation and ICI Presidents Council members