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IU, McKinney Family Foundation expand partnership to advance environmental resilience

Foundation grants will benefit initiatives to transform training for future environmental leaders

For Immediate Release Nov 28, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University has been awarded three grants totaling more than $500,000 from the McKinney Family Foundation in support of initiatives across multiple campuses that are educating a new generation of leaders and changemakers in environmental resilience and sustainability roles. The grants count toward the $3 billion For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.

The McKinney Family Foundation’s strategic investments will create the McKinney Professor of Environmental Resilience and Philanthropy, bolster the foundation’s support of the Indiana Sustainability Development Program and reinforce the McKinney Family Philanthropic Fellows program.

“We have been incredibly impressed with the caliber of students who have been selected to participate in the ISDP and Philanthropic Fellows programs,” said Robert H. McKinney, a graduate of IU’s Maurer School of Law and the 2017 recipient of the university’s Herman B Wells Visionary Award. “We are eager to see the programs continue to grow and recruit outstanding students who will become the future changemakers in the environmental and sustainability sectors in Indiana. The addition of a faculty member who will study and instruct students in environmental philanthropy trends will provide vital data to advocates and funders alike in making critical decisions as we measure our impact on achieving our goals.”

The McKinney Professor of Environmental Resilience and Philanthropy at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI will be IU’s first professorship specializing in philanthropy and the environment. It is believed to be one of the first such professorships in the world. This professorship will increase research and understanding about how philanthropy can help protect the environment and will explore questions such as who is giving to environmental organizations and how best to engage underrepresented communities.

“Environmental challenges are among the most pressing issues confronting our world,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “The McKinney Professor of Environmental Resilience and Philanthropy will increase understanding of how philanthropy can play an integral role in addressing those challenges. It will attract the best and brightest students and faculty and equip philanthropic institutions and individuals with the research, education and training they need to make a lasting impact.

“Students selected as environmental fellows will be able to make their passion their profession and become environmental philanthropy leaders. We thank the McKinney Family Foundation for its generous support of these meaningful initiatives.”

The McKinney Family Foundation’s support of the Indiana Sustainability Development Program, which currently operates on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, will expand the program to IU South Bend and grow its reach around the state. Moving into its third year, the program strengthens Indiana’s sustainability efforts by providing training and development opportunities for the next generation of sustainability leaders.

Through the McKinney Family Philanthropic Fellows program, four Lilly Family School of Philanthropy graduate students who are passionate about protecting the environment will gain real-world experience in their pursuit of becoming tomorrow’s environmental philanthropy leaders. The fellows will earn a master’s degree in philanthropic studies and serve in graduate assistantships with Indiana environmental nonprofits for two years.

Assistantships will provide first-hand understanding of how these organizations operate. The nonprofit organization, in turn, will benefit from exposure to the latest best practices. This new funding is a continuation of the fellows program, which was launched in 2017 with the support of the McKinney Family Foundation.

The McKinney Family Foundation and Robert H. McKinney, chair of its Board of Directors, have been significant supporters of Indiana University for many years. The foundation has been a key partner in helping Indiana University achieve its strategic goals, including those related to the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative. The McKinney Family Foundation, Indiana University, and other key state and community partners are joining in this large-scale, collaborative effort to help the state of Indiana prepare for and respond to environmental change.

Prepared for Environmental Change

Prepared for Environmental Change brings together a broad, bipartisan coalition of government, business, nonprofit and community leaders to help Indiana better prepare for the challenges that environmental change brings to our economy, health and livelihood. Announced in May 2017, it is the second initiative to be funded as part of the Indiana University Grand Challenges program.

About the McKinney Family Foundation

The McKinney Family Foundation believes environmental sustainability is the key to the future of Indiana and is committed to building an environmentally sustainable future for every Hoosier. The foundation funds environmental initiatives in Indiana with the goal of creating renewable-energy jobs and meaningful policy changes to ensure a transition to a clean energy economy. Through strategic partnerships, the McKinney Family Foundation advocates for environmental justice and conservation of natural resources, and empowers Indiana communities to live in a healthier, more prosperous and more sustainable manner.

About the For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration. To learn more about the campaign, its impact and how to participate, visit

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