Ball Brothers Foundation Announces Funding to Initiate ‘Unprecedented’ Endowments for Muncie Community Schools

Pictured L-R: Lee Ann Kwiatkowski-Director of Public Education, CEO at Muncie Community Schools, Kelly Shrock-President of The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, and Jud Fisher-President & COO of Ball Brothers Foundation. Photo providedPictured L-R: Lee Ann Kwiatkowski-Director of Public Education, CEO at Muncie Community Schools, Kelly Shrock-President of The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, and Jud Fisher-President & COO of Ball Brothers Foundation. Photo provided

By: Melissa Jones—

Muncie, INIn October, Ball Brothers Foundation’s Board of Directors approved grants to start two endowments for the Director of Public Education/CEO position at Muncie Community Schools (MCS). The endowment funds are part of the foundation’s final round of grants for 2019, which total over $5.2 million.

The endowments are intended to benefit MCS “far into the future,” the foundation said. While endowed positions are common at the university level, it’s less common for K–12 public schools to have an endowed position such as this. The endowments will set Muncie apart from other communities throughout Indiana and beyond, providing MCS with leverage for leadership recruitment and retention purposes.

“This is a unique recognition of the importance of this high-level position at a critical turning point in the district,” said Jud Fisher, president and COO of Ball Brothers Foundation. “As a foundation, we believe this is an exciting, unprecedented move for our community. We are happy to support the endeavor and to also see where these grants take Muncie Community Schools in the future.”

The foundation’s board approved a $100,000 grant for the newly created endowment for the Director of Public Education/CEO position, as well as a $50,000 award for the Director of Public Education/CEO to jointly serve as a Clinical Professor of Educational Leadership and Innovation with Ball State University’s Teachers College. The $100,000 endowment will be administered by The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, and the $50,000 endowment by the Ball State University Foundation.

“The Muncie school district is currently rebuilding to become sustainable and viable for many generations to come. As a private foundation, we are especially positioned to support innovative solutions,” Fisher said. “Community leaders and educational leaders across the nation are watching to see how Ball State University and MCS will work together to develop innovative ideas to change the trajectory of the Muncie schools and the entire Muncie community.”

While MCS and Ball State have had a positive relationship in the past, the Clinical Professorship will further demonstrate the entities’ close-working collaboration.

With this innovative approach, the MCS Director/CEO will be a participant in Teachers College committees and will meet with the faculty and dean of the college regularly. The Director/CEO’s role may range from presenting the story of the MCS/Ball State partnership at national meetings of professional societies, to sharing expertise and insights in graduate-level courses for future administrators.

“This academic appointment to the university carries with it a certain level of prestige,” Fisher said. “Individuals in this role will benefit both personally and professionally from the camaraderie, professional development and continued learning made possible through the position of Clinical Professor of Educational Leadership and Innovation at Ball State.”

Because endowments provide perpetual funding, the district will have access to a stable fund to enhance the Director/CEO’s salary—a perk that will bolster recruitment and retention efforts to ensure the district has a first-rate leader for years to come.

The foundation is hopeful additional private foundations, individuals and other organizations will contribute to the endowment in the future.

In addition to the endowments, Ball Brothers Foundation announced a $350,000 grant to Muncie Community Schools. This direct funding to the district will aid in: creating a K– 12 Career Exploration Curriculum; developing a Pre-Engineering and Industrial Automation Program in collaboration with Purdue Polytechnic, Ivy Tech and local manufacturers; hiring a Work-Based Learning Coordinator to help with job placement for seniors in the Graduation Academy and Muncie Central Online programs; and improving branding at the Muncie Fieldhouse, among other strategic initiatives.

Muncie Community Schools building student awareness of post-secondary opportunities.

Muncie Community Schools building student awareness of post-secondary opportunities.

The foundation’s final round of 2019 grants also includes several million dollars in funding to community organizations focused on arts and culture, education, health, human services and public society benefit:


Arts and Culture

  • Cornerstone Center for the Arts: $250,000 for 2020 operating support and auditorium renovations
  • Minnetrista: $2,700,000 for 2020 operating and capital support


  • Huffer Memorial Children’s Center: $50,000 for roof repairs, kitchen equipment and other capital projects
  • Ball State University Foundation: $50,000 for support of special projects of the university
  • Independent Colleges of Indiana: $80,000 for the Ball Venture Fund, a competitive funding program among Indiana’s 30 private colleges
  • Muncie & Delaware County BY5 Early Childhood Development, Inc: $40,000 for operating support
  • Burris Laboratory School: $200,000 for further development and expansion of Project Lead the Way, research and pilot implementation of individualized learning plans, enhancement of school climate through social-emotional learning curriculum, and technology support
  • Ivy Tech Community College: $50,000 for expansion of the Certified Nursing Assistant to Licensed Practical Nurse program


  • Luke Bracken Wiese Fund for Juvenile Diabetes at Riley Hospital for Children:
    $100,000 for Pediatric Diabetes Research Group research funding
  • Ball State University: $50,000 for expansion of services and locations of the Healthy Lifestyle Center
  • IU School of Medicine–Muncie: $50,000 for hiring of a Healthy Promotion and Disease Prevention Director, who will recruit medical students interested in promoting community health and who will investigate the impacts of its scholarly concentration program and partnership with Ball State University’s Healthy Lifestyle Center

Human Services

  • Second Harvest Food Bank: $25,000 for upgrades to LED lighting in the warehouse and supply room
  • Greater Muncie, IN Habitat for Humanity: $50,000 for 8twelve Coalition projects
  • Inside Out CDC: $32,000 for community room buildout and facility energy retrofit

Public Society Benefit

  • East Central Indiana Regional Partnership: $90,000 for regional marketing efforts to advance new investment and talent attraction/retention
  • Innovation Connector: $50,000 for 2020 operating support
  • Muncie Land Bank: $100,000 for two years of operating support
  • ecoREHAB of Muncie: $25,000 for operating support during transition to new executive director
  • Cardinal Greenway: $600,000 for pedestrian bridge and support of next phase of Kitselman Trailhead project
  • Delaware Advancement Corporation: $120,000 for Vision 2021 implementation and Next Muncie support

For more information on Ball Brothers Foundation and the types of grants it funds, visit


About Ball Brothers Foundation

Ball Brothers Foundation is one of the state’s oldest and largest family foundations. Annually, the foundation makes approximately $7 million in grants to support arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services, and public affairs. The Muncie-based private foundation gives priority to projects and programs that improve the quality of life in the foundation’s home city, county and state.