INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Butler University will receive nearly $10 million from Lilly Endowment, Inc. (the Endowment) as part of the Endowment’s Charting The Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities (CTF) education initiative, Butler President James M. Danko announced today. The grant will help fund initiatives in the University’s Butler Beyond strategic direction.

This is the third phase of funding from the Endowment’s CTF initiative, launched with the hope that it will help the leaders of Indiana’s 38 colleges and universities engage in further thoughtful discernment about the future of their institutions and advance the speed of their strategic planning and implementation efforts to address their key challenges and opportunities. The Endowment has made a total of more than $138 million available to schools across Indiana through the initiative. Butler received $2.75 million during the first two phases, bringing the total received from the Endowment to nearly $13 million over the past 12 months.

“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,” Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education, said. “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.”  

“I am extremely grateful for Lilly Endowment’s generous investment in Butler University’s strategic direction,” Danko said. “Despite the pandemic, Butler is making significant progress in implementing its current strategy, Butler Beyond. When an organization of Lilly Endowment’s stature and prestige recognizes and rewards our vision and progress, it is quite motivating. It affirms that Butler is making a difference in higher education, and that we can have an even greater impact in the future.”

The Butler Beyond Strategic Direction, launched in 2019, was premised on a dual transformation strategy for the University. It is focused on both enhancing the traditional, high-quality residential undergraduate education for which Butler is known, while also expanding its capabilities to create new educational models and ventures aimed at serving a non-traditional student population.

Danko said the grant will enable Butler to:

  • expand its educational impact beyond traditional, full-time residential students, primarily to include adult and professional learners;
  • invest in the creation of new academic programs and alternative credentials—often in collaboration with corporations and economic development initiatives—that align with the region’s workforce development needs and offer greater opportunity to attract diverse learners;
  • support the creation and success of emerging postsecondary and workforce-related organizations poised to transform education, both within the state and across the country; and
  • maintain its position as an educational leader, despite the long-term challenges higher education is experiencing, through the generation of new sources of revenue.

“Expanding our efforts to better serve adult and online learners will support our undergraduate efforts by strengthening our ties with the regional business community, bringing a wider audience—both physically and virtually—to Butler, and increasing the educational impact of the University,” said Danko.

Butler will use grant proceeds to create a Division of Professional Studies, which will deliver a variety of new, high-quality non-traditional programs focused on professionally-oriented learners.

Beyond program development, Butler will use funding to spur entrepreneurial activity among the postsecondary and workforce-aligned organizations positioned to transform higher education. This includes the creation of collaborative, statewide effort between universities, venture capitalists, education-focused entrepreneurs, and technologists. 

“Institutions of higher education must reinvent themselves if they want to remain relevant and thrive in the 21st century,” Danko said. “Whether through the development of new programs or new, mission-aligned ventures, we will expand our reach and, ultimately, our impact. This grant from Lilly Endowment will help us achieve our goals more quickly.” 

Media Contact:
Mark Apple

About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

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.