A collaboration among Drake University, Valparaiso University, the University of Evansville (UE) and North Central College has received a total of $10 million in grant funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. through the competitive Phase 3 of its initiative, Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities. The grant will support the establishment of a shared, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with a single set of standardized business practices.
Valparaiso and UE are two of 16 colleges and universities that will be supported by funding in the final phase of Charting the Future, an initiative designed to help colleges and universities assess and prioritize the most significant challenges and opportunities they face as higher education institutions and develop strategies to address them. Valparaiso and UE are each receiving $5 million grants from Lilly Endowment through the Charting the Future initiative to support the collaboration with Drake University and North Central College.
Through the collaboration, the four institutions will form an independent, non-profit organization called the College and University Sustainability Project (CUSP) to house the collaborative effort toward providing efficient and effective non-academic services. Once significant progress has been achieved, the intention is to enable additional institutions to join CUSP and achieve similar efficiency and effectiveness.
Concepts and initiatives for the grant were established by a steering committee of members from each of the four institutions. In addition to the four presidents, it was comprised of chief financial officers, chief information officers, and other key administrators.
“Drake University and our partner institutions extend our most sincere gratitude to Lilly Endowment Inc. for awarding these grant amounts to key partners in this initiative–UE and Valparaiso,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. This project will transform our collective operations in a way that allows us to better serve our campus communities. Once fully implemented, this initiative will, among other efforts, provide intelligence to help us better understand what factors are contributing to successful outcomes for students. We are eager to set the standard for what a collaboration of this magnitude can mean for higher education as we challenge ourselves to create meaningful advancements that will benefit our campus communities.”
“Indiana’s colleges and universities face myriad challenges as they work to fulfill their educational missions while adapting to growing financial pressures, rapid demographic and technological changes, and evolving needs and demands of students,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased with the creative and collaborative approaches the colleges and universities are taking to address these challenges and seize opportunities to better serve their students, institutions, communities and the state of Indiana.”
Lilly Endowment launched the three-phased Charting the Future initiative in 2019 to help leaders of the state’s 38 colleges and universities engage in thoughtful discernment about the future of their institutions and to advance strategic planning and implementation efforts to address key challenges and opportunities. Collaboration was encouraged, especially in the third phase of Charting the Future, and several schools proposed collaborative programs and strategies. Through three phases of grantmaking, Lilly Endowment awarded more than $138 million to the schools.
Through earlier rounds of the initiative, all 38 schools received planning grants, which were approved in December 2019, and implementation grants approved in June and September 2020. The implementation grants funded strategies to improve efforts to prepare students for successful futures and strengthen the schools’ long-term institutional vitality.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.
About Drake University
Drake University is a midsize, private university in Des Moines, Iowa, enrolling nearly 3,000 undergraduate and more than 1,800 graduate students. Students choose from over 70 majors, minors, and concentrations and 20 graduate degrees offered through seven colleges and schools. Drake students, faculty, and staff take advantage of the wealth of cultural, recreational, and business opportunities found in Iowa’s capital city. In return, Drake enriches the city through its own cultural offerings, considerable economic impact, and many service-learning endeavors, which channel the talent and energy of the Drake students toward meeting the needs of the community.