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International School launches capital campaign

Allison and Stanley Chen provided the lead gift for the campaign. (Provided Photo/International School of Indiana)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) – The International School of Indiana has publicly launched a capital campaign to establish a unified campus in Indianapolis. As part of the ONE ISI campaign, the school is looking to raise $6.5 million to build a new school building for pre-elementary and elementary students at the site of its middle and high schools. The public launch follows a 10-month silent phase of the campaign, during which ISI raised $5 million from more than two dozen donors.

Currently, ISI’s operations are split between two campuses. The pre-elementary and elementary school, or “Lower School,” is located near the Butler University campus. ISI’s “Upper School,” which includes the middle and high school buildings, is situated about two miles away on a campus north of the Newfields art museum.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Head of School Elizabeth Head said having a unified campus will be the culmination of more than two decades of work to make Indiana more international and more globally-minded.

“By consolidating the International School on one campus, we’re also consolidating that 25 years of development and becoming the one campus for Indiana for all of the economic development priorities that the state has related to foreign investment and also Hoosier families interested in developing their children as more international and global.”

Head says over the past few years, numerous feasibility studies have shown the school should be able to raise the $6.5 million in needs for the project. She said they wanted to make sure they had raised at least 50% of the goal before launching the campaign to the public.

The silent phase of the campaign was included a $1.5 million lead gift from Stanley and Allison Chen, whose children are currently attending third and fourth grade at ISI. 

“If you believe, like we do, that we really are competing in a global economy, then I can’t think of a better way to prepare our kids beyond giving them a holistic framework of thinking, a global perspective, and multi-lingual and multi-cultural fluency,” Stanley Chen said in a news release. “You see the love and care and concern for the child in every decision and interaction of the ISI faculty and staff. And that is a really important point. We are making this investment not to build a building, but it has everything to do with building this community.”

Head says ISI will spend the 2019-2020 academic year committed to meeting and, hopefully, exceeding the fundraising goal for the campaign. The school plans to break ground on the new Chen Family Lower School building in the 2020-2021 academic year. The 45,000-square-foot building is expected to open during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Our long-term goal is to continue enhance and improve Indiana’s visibility at a worldwide scale,” said Head. “Our goal is to continue to foster the mission and vision that this school was built upon. We have 25 years of amazing families that have believed in this institution, but also a great relationship with the business and government community in why this school was founded and so as we look to the future, we will continue to foster the strength of the economic development of the state. We will continue to work in attracting and recruiting talent from around the world to the state and we will continue to work with families from Indiana who believe in the power and the impact of a global and international education for their own children.”

Head was named the third head of school for ISI in January. In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick the following month, she said she wanted to remind the city why the school was founded in the first place.

Head says having a unified campus will be the culmination of more than two decades of work to make Indiana more international and more globally-minded.