Ball State University Women of Beneficence, the 2023 AFP-Indiana outstanding philanthropy group of the year, awarded three grants for BSU faculty projects during its annual meeting at the Alumni Center on Wednesday, March 13. The three funded grants are for the Guardian Scholars project, the Language and Learning Center at Teachers College supporting deaf and hard of hearing children, and CASD Parent Training for children with autism spectrum disorder.

The Guardian Scholars proposal, submitted by Bria Zolman, program manager for TeenWorks@BSU and Guardian Scholars, supports the Guardian Scholars program. Founded in 2004, Guardian Scholars is primarily made up of students who experienced foster care during their teenage years. The funding supports existing programs and new programs, such as textbook assistance.

The Language and Learning Center proposal was submitted by Kelsey Spurgin, assistant professor of Deaf Education. The grant will fund the creation of the Language & Learning Center at Teachers College, which will bring in families from Delaware County with young deaf and hard of hearing children. The Center will provide structured opportunities for socialization and language learning, led by faculty and students in the Deaf Education program.

The CASD (Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder) Parent Training proposal was submitted by Brittany Dale, associate professor of Special Education-Autism. Faculty and staff in the Department of Special Education are partnering with IN*Source to expand services through the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder to provide an educational advocacy center for children with the disorder and support for their caregivers.

“We are proud to support these outstanding projects,” said Sharon Haynes, president of Women of Beneficence. “Out of seven finalists, these three proposals stood out because of their opportunities to involve our Ball State students, and their mission of beneficence to the campus and to the community.”

Each year, Women of Beneficence accepts proposals from faculty and staff for grants up to $30,000. In 2023, 11 proposals were submitted for consideration. Since its founding in 2002, Women of Beneficence (formerly Discovery) has awarded more than $1 million in grants to Ball State projects. Women of Beneficence is an influential group of Ball State alumni and friends who are passionate about the University. This collaborative philanthropic group was created to support and fund innovative projects and programs at Ball State – impacting students and benefiting our local, national, and international communities.

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