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Lilly Endowment grants $10M to IU Center for Rural Engagement

(Video above of Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president, and Bill Brown, the executive director of the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, provided by IU)

WEST BADEN, Ind. (WISH) — The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has approved a $10 million grant for the Indiana University Foundation to fund the Center for Rural Engagement.

An IU news release said the grant, $2.5 million of which is subject to matching conditions, will help the center support regional initiatives to address community-identified opportunities and needs in 11 neighboring counties: Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties.

“The Center for Rural Engagement’s focus and vision developed from discussions with local residents and community leaders, as well as with leaders of regional organizations, through a series of meetings and open sessions,” the release said. “More than 200 IU faculty, administrators and staff have participated in project development and engagement activities during the planning period.”

IU said the center will support and enhance ongoing work by IU Bloomington faculty, staff and students on rural issues, using a mix of approaches from faculty-led classes to multidisciplinary research projects.

In Lawrence County, projects have worked to address addiction issues, street and highway infrastructure, and a new use for the decommissioned Avoca Fish Hatchery

Bill Brown, former university director of sustainability and Sustaining Hoosier Communities lead, will serve as the executive director of the center.

Monday’s announcement was made at the historic West Baden Springs Hotel.