On Sept. 30, 2020, Bethel received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., a philanthropic organization that supports community development, education and religion.
In the October of 2019, Bethel was invited to participate in Lilly’s Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities initiative. This grant was the second phase of the three-phase initiative planning to enhance preparedness of graduates and help the college students of Indiana have a more fulfilling college experience.
Upon invitation, Bethel submitted two different proposals that presented ways in which they would use the money. These strategies needed to have lasting impact on the university and on students’ experiences in order to be approved.
Jenny Wertenberger, Bethel’s business development representative, explains the proposal that led to the awarding of the $1 million grant. She said there are six areas the money will be going toward for the university. These areas include diversity and inclusion, career preparedness, BU-X, the field scholar program, technology advancements and mental health services.
BU-X is a program started by Terry Linhart that extends Bethel’s reach to churches to act as remote studies for students.
Wertenberger also noted that this money is a big help when it comes to COVID-19 relief.
“This will help in outfitting classrooms with technology to adapt to asynchronous needs for class,” she said.
She shared that there will be leadership teams in each of the pillars of growth. Crisitian Mihut, Ph.D., will be overseeing advancements in diversity and inclusion, Stan Blom, Ph.D., will oversee health and wellness, and Terry Linhart Ph.D., will oversee BU-X. Rashad L. Minor will be overseeing the field scholar advancements and serving as the grant administrator. Wertenberger said there will not be one person overseeing the technology advancements because it is not a huge implementation.
The administration team includes Minor, Kevin Smith, and Wertenberger herself. They will oversee correspondence with Lilly Endowment Inc., to prove that the money is being used in the ways their proposal claimed. Lilly Endowment Inc. will also send visitors to Bethel’s campus to see the work in action.
The grant period, or the time allotted for the use of the $1 million grant, is September 2020 through December 2023.
“Much of the first year will be getting ready and conducting plans, and the next two years will be building on the programs in place,” Wertenberger said.
Many of the specifics of how Bethel will use the grant have already been worked out and changes will be coming soon.