Grace College has received a $1 million implementation grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. in the second phase of its initiative, Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities. The initiative is designed to help Indiana’s 38 higher education institutions further develop strategies to strengthen their effectiveness and long-term sustainability.
“We were thrilled to get this news! We look forward to leveraging this grant to create unique program offerings with Purdue University, RIZE and other consortiums and to establish a state-of-the-art Center for Sustainable Agriculture on campus,” said Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College. “Both ideas blend the best of our internal assets — our people and programs — with external partnerships and expertise. These opportunities will dramatically strengthen our mission delivery today and tomorrow,” said Katip.
Lilly Endowment’s second phase grants will fund projects that intend to help the schools engage more deeply with local communities through service-learning opportunities, improve career-ready skills through partnerships, and strengthen digital learning, which has become critically important because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grace College seeks to accomplish all of these through its proposed plan.
“These innovative offerings will expand our robust engagement with key corporate and civic partners in our region, specifically in regard to the Center for Sustainable Agriculture,” said Katip. “We have also considered our ideas in light of the pandemic and all the related challenges and opportunities it has presented Grace—notably how we deliver education online,” he said.
Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education, acknowledged that these are challenging times for colleges and universities, made more so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Higher education leaders recognize that they have to adapt to the changing demographics of undergraduate students, the importance of technology in education and the ever-growing need for students to be career-ready upon graduation,” said Maple. “Leaders here in Indiana are responding to these and other challenges with thoughtful, strategic and collaborative approaches that we believe can improve the financial sustainability of the institutions and the educational experiences of their students,” he said.
Grace will launch these grant-funded efforts in early 2021.
Grace received this implementation grant under the second phase of Lilly Endowment’s three-phase Charting the Future initiative. In this phase, Lilly Endowment invited proposals that present promising strategies that result in economies of scale and other cost efficiencies to enhance the viability and financial condition of the institutions and prepare graduates for rewarding employment and to live engaged and meaningful lives, especially in Indiana. Grants under a third phase, which is competitive, will be awarded in 2021. Those grants will support collaborative efforts that seek to have large-scale impact on the ability of higher education institutions in Indiana to fulfill their educational missions.