Ball State University has been at the heart of the Muncie community for over a century, and is constantly working to foster connections between the University, the State of Indiana, and neighbors and communities near and far. There are many partners that work with the University to strengthen this bond, but the relationship between Ball State and our local United Way has always been a special one.

Heart of Indiana United Way continually provides opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to give back to the neighborhoods that surround and support the University. From the annual United Way Day of Action and Employee Campaign to the year-round child literacy programs run by Ball State students—and even special projects that pop up as needs arise within the community—there are always ways for Cardinals to connect their skills and passions to initiatives with substantial impacts thanks to United Way.

On Friday, Sept. 9, hundreds of friends and neighbors from both on and off campus united once again to canvas the city of Muncie and provide acts of service. With Heart of Indiana United Way and Ball State’s Office of Community Engagement leading the charge, real-time improvements were made all over town in the span of 24 hours.

United Ways Volunteers from Ball State University planting a garden at West View Elementary School

Community spaces like the Cardinal Greenway, Muncie Community Schools, Second Harvest Food Bank, Camp Adventure, Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie, and Emerson Dog Park were beautified or received updates like benches and shelters. Daycare kids and residents of assisted living facilities got to enjoy inspiring stories and performances from talented and giving Ball State volunteers. Little Free Libraries were stocked with books from the recently held used book drive; hygiene, literacy, and snack kits were filled, and new winter blankets were created for distribution to those in need of such vital resources.

Heart of Indiana United Way is in a unique position to identify and target the most significant needs of the Muncie residents. Through research-based strategies and community input, the organization is an expert in how best to leverage the resources gifted to them by dedicated donors and volunteers. The programs that receive grants from United Way each play a vital role in supporting families, children, and individuals across all sectors. From offering “safety net” services to help those in crisis get back on stable ground, to giving children in struggling families the extra step up they need to succeed and break cycles of generational poverty, the investments made through United Way all point back to the goal of helping every member of our community THRIVE!

The 2022 United Way Ball State Employee Campaign kicked off on Sept. 28, giving employees and retirees another chance to give back to their community by working with a dedicated group of team captains, who have planned events and activities to make fundraising fun. While contributions to the general fund that supports the grants United Way awards make it easier to ensure the non-profit programs that are most in need are prioritized, as well as making your gift eligible for matching funds from the Ball Brothers Foundation. Donors are also welcomed to specify where their dollars are used within the community.

No matter the inspiration, format, or amount, every single donation will make a huge impact on the quality of life across our region. The campaign runs through Nov. 30.

Written by Bianca Sulanke and Jennifer Criss.

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