Huntington wins grant for urban scholarship program

Huntington, Ind.—Huntington University has been selected as a winner of the 2007 Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund competition, a grant established by the Ball Brothers Foundation of Muncie, Ind., and administered by the Independent Colleges of Indiana.

The fund provides seed money for campus start-up initiatives aimed at stimulating creativity and innovation and fostering competition and collaboration among the state’s 31 independent colleges and universities.

Huntington University is using its $18,000 award for the “Urban Scholarship and Mentoring Program,” a program geared toward increasing campus diversity by working with organizational partners to identify and support up to six urban students annually in a scholarship, mentoring and urban leadership program. This already-launched program involves a partnership between Huntington University and Youth for Christ, a national organization with a presence in many urban areas, and is modeled on a highly successful urban partnership program operating in other states.

“The Urban Scholarship and Mentoring Program is an exciting opportunity for Huntington University to increase enrollment and retention from urban areas,” said Jesse Brown, assistant dean of student development. “Working with Youth for Christ over the years has been a great partnership, and I look forward to having some of their best student leaders on Huntington’s campus.”

With the first participants scheduled to enroll for fall 2008, this multimillion-dollar scholarship and mentoring program will provide a Christ-centered education and opportunities for leadership development and service at the Primetime Center, a central-city youth center in Fort Wayne.

“This grant is crucial to the start up of this program,” said Dr. Norris Friesen, vice president and dean of the university. “We have a good relationship with Youth for Christ, but didn’t have the resources necessary to leverage the partnership. The Ball Venture Fund grant will help us launch this program and realize our commitment to diversity by recruiting qualified minority students. The grant also will provide the momentum necessary to help identify other funding sources to sustain the program.”

Huntington University and Youth for Christ also will jointly hire a director for the program. Among the director’s responsibilities will be annually coordinating the recruitment process of six culturally diverse students, providing discipleship opportunities and guidance for each student in the collaboration program, providing ongoing institutional perspective on diversity to the university and coordinating volunteer assignments with the Primetime Center.

“We hope that by providing a director of the program, leadership training, mentoring and service opportunities we will better support the students’ experiences and help them persist through graduation,” Brown said. “Recognizing that they are still a small number of new students, I look forward to seeing how the new students’ diverse backgrounds will shape our campus culture.”

Now in its ninth year of existence, the Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund has disbursed more than $500,000 for 22 innovative start-up initiatives on Indiana’s independent campuses. The 2007 recipients, which also include Butler University and the University of St. Francis, were chosen from a field of 24 proposals submitted by 18 ICI member colleges and universities. The three winning proposals will each receive $18,000 in seed funding.

The recipients were selected by a panel of judges, including Douglas A. Bakken, executive vice president/COO of the Ball Brothers Foundation; Jill R. Kramer of the Lumina Foundation for Education; Joseph A. Slash of the Indianapolis Urban League; and R. Duane Odle of Gibraltar Design.

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Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  


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