Member News

George and Frances Ball Foundation Proactive Strategy

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Written by George and Frances Ball Foundation


The George and Frances Ball Foundation, following its stated mission of proactively improving the livability and educational attainment of citizens in our community, has adopted a goal of extending equitable assistance and support to families and youth in the historically underserved neighborhoods of Muncie (Promise Neighborhoods), starting at birth and extending through to successful employment that provides a living wage and a greater opportunity to thrive for current and future generations.

To implement this strategy, the Foundation has adopted and serves as the backbone convener for the Cradle to Career Muncie Initiative, supporting too its associated strategies necessary for success in this multigenerational approach. Cradle to Career Muncie utilizes both collective impact and resultsbased accountability frameworks to ensure effective, targeted, and collaborative efforts. During the past three years, George and Frances Ball Foundation has authorized grants totaling more than $4.5 million to support this effort. In 2021, in collaboration with Muncie Community Schools and Ball State University, George and Frances Ball Foundation participated in the preparation of a $30 million grant request to the Department of Education with a focus on specific neighborhoods in Muncie. As part of the grant preparation process, the data revealed an urgency to address the inequities faced by families and their children living in the Promise Neighborhoods. 

The George and Frances Ball Foundation believes that the special attention that must be paid to the Promise Neighborhoods is a response to the historic consequence of the loss of a significant number of industrial and related jobs, not unlike other rustbelt communities. This disruptive community force, that has spanned approximately the past 50 years, has impacted thousands of youth and their families. Based on the research, educational attainment and family support and involvement play a major role in unlocking economic prosperity.

It is estimated that youth today have 6,000 waking hours each year with only 1,000 hours involved intime at school. Therefore, it becomes obvious that to improve educational outcomes for students requires support not only for schools but a wide range of other community organizations includingnon-profits, philanthropic, faith based, business and industry, and families aligned and working together to provide the opportunity for each child to reach their full potential in life – we believe this is the obligation of our community.

Collaboration, meaning community organizations working together, is the key to the success that can be achieved. In this regard, the community is incredibly fortunate that it already has many organizations who have stepped forward to provide leadership for this effort- with many more to be involved in realizing commonly developed goals and objectives. The purpose of Collaborative Action Networks is to align existing community resources toward common goals. The leadership of each ofthe Collaborative Action Networks is as follows:

  • Kindergarten Readiness - BY5
  • Third Grade Reading - Heart of Indiana United Way
  • Middle School Mathematics - Innovation Connector
  • High School Graduation - Muncie Community Schools
  • Post-Secondary Success – IVY Tech
  • Career Employment – Chamber of Commerce/Delaware Advancement Corporation
  • Wrap Around Supports – Heart of Indiana United Way
  • Family and Community Engagement – YMCA of Muncie
  • Health - Open Door Health Services
  • Social and Emotional Learning – Project Leadership

By strengthening and expanding opportunities that ensure that all children and families haveequitable access to a pipeline of solutions from cradle to career, we have the potential, inpartnership with others, to provide a brighter future for all of Muncie.

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