The Women of Beneficence, formerly Discovery Women’s Philanthropic Group, has granted more than $1 million and supported more than sixty projects and programs at Ball State University since 2002. This year, the prominent women’s philanthropy group has selected three projects to receive sizable charitable donations totaling over $82,000; the Ball State University Dysphagia Clinic; Muncie’s First Freedom School; and Virtual Reality Courtrooms.

The Ball State University Dysphagia Clinic was created to help battle the rising numbers of individuals struggling with dysphagia. Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, has been diagnosed in nearly a quarter of the population over 50, and 10 million Americans are evaluated each year for swallowing difficulties. This Dysphagia Clinical Program at the Ball State Speech Language Pathology Clinic will be operated by Ball State students under the supervision of faculty. Students will have responsibility for assessing and treating individuals with Dysphagia in Delaware County and surrounding areas.

Muncie’s First Freedom School is a proposed project to engage Ball State students in the creation of a culturally responsive and community sustaining approach to literacy enrichment. Working with members of Muncie’s historically African American community of Whitely, Ball State students will receive training in the Freedom School model, recruit participants and co-design and implement a literacy-rich educational experience for neighborhood children.

Virtual Reality Courtroom is a program designed to allow students in designated criminal justice classrooms to participate in courtroom simulations through the use of avatars to facilitate knowledge and empathy as well as practice decision-making skills in a courtroom setting. One of the main purposes of this project is to give criminal justice students an opportunity to practice ethical decision-making skills in the field of criminal justice. It also helps students develop empathy for vulnerable populations so students become socially-responsible professionals.

To learn more about Women of Beneficence, its efforts, and how to become a member and get involved, visit the program’s website.