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ICI Announces 2014 Winners of Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund Grants

Thursday, June 5, 2014   (0 Comments)
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INDIANAPOLIS, June 4, 2014 – Three Indiana independent colleges are the winners of the 2014 Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund competitive grant program:  Butler University, Marian University, and Saint Joseph’s College.  The three schools will share $75,000 in seed funding for initiatives to stimulate creativity and innovation while fostering competition and collaboration among Indiana’s 31 private, non-profit campuses. 

Established by the Ball Brothers Foundation (Muncie) and administered by ICI, the Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund has disbursed over $1,000,000 for 49 innovative initiatives on ICI campuses over the past sixteen years.  The 2014 recipients were chosen from a field of 45 proposals: 

Butler University
(Indianapolis) is directing its $25,000 award to fund “Butler Early Language and Literacy (BELL): An Innovative Program for Young Children.” The purpose of BELL is to prevent reading failure in young children. BELL addresses the difficulty that language-delayed children face in learning to read in innovative ways: 1) focusing on teaching early literacy and language skills; 2) including students as assistants in the program; 3) using music and art as integral activities; and 4) incorporating therapy dogs as part of the regular program. 


Marian University (Indianapolis) is using its $25,000 award to establish the “Marian University Student Venture Fund Program.” The venture fund will be managed by students and faculty as part of the university’s new curriculum and used to invest in Indiana start-up companies. Through this fund, Marian students will gain access to the Indiana start-up community and be provided with opportunities to engage with new, high-growth businesses. In addition to evaluating Indiana businesses as possible investments, Marian students will gain access to a variety of follow-up projects and internships.


Saint Joseph’s College (Rensselaer) is directing its $25,000 award towards “Promoting Internship Opportunities through Educational Collaborations in Northwest Indiana.” This initiative expands an existing regional collaboration among Saint Joseph’s College, Ancilla College, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Valparaiso University, the Center for Workforce Innovations, and Indiana INTERNnet, supported by Lilly Endowment Inc. The goal is to significantly increase the number of internships posted and filled in Northwest Indiana by the end of the 2015 calendar year and the number of graduates obtaining employment in Indiana.   

These recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges. Members of the panel included a representative from the Ball Brothers Foundation along with representatives from the education, construction, manufacturing, and financial communities.  

Independent Colleges of Indiana
serves as the collective voice for the state’s 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universitiesICI member institutions enroll some 93,000 students (approximately 20 percent of all students statewide) and annually produce 35 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at