“Embracing and serving the needs of youth in the foster care system has been a founding principle of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, a distinct reflection of Nina’s innate awareness and responsiveness to community needs. We are deeply committed to the education, well-being, and overall success of those who have experienced foster care and related circumstances and believe the Fostering Success Program will have a profound impact on these young adults,” said Trustee Kent Agness.
The program design is based on the first-year elements of the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program model at IUPUI which emphasizes intentional learning, growth, and personal development practice that has proved to be instrumental in helping students overcome and transcend significant barriers, including the compromising effects of foster care. Over the past 15 years more than 54 percent of former foster youth in the Nina Scholars program have completed an undergraduate degree compared to the national average of three to five percent. Fostering Success Program students will participate in a Summer Bridge experience, take a First-Year Seminar course together, and be supported by an instructional team which includes a faculty member, and academic advisor, and a peer mentor.
Charlie Johnson, director of Scholar Support Programs at IUPUI, stated, “Over the past 15 years, we have developed a program model that has been quite successful in helping students who face some of the greatest challenges in life, much less education. Our focus is on empowering students by developing their capacity to more fully utilize active learning, personal growth, student success resources, and self-empowerment. This generous grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust allows us to offer this level of guidance, support, instruction, and impact to a greater number of students who face significant barriers to success.”
Implementation of the Fostering Success Program will begin in the summer of 2017 as participating students are supported in the many transitions they will make from high school to IUPUI. The Fostering Success Program will be part of IUPUI’s nationally recognized University College in the Division of Undergraduate Education, which provides a common gateway to the academic programs available to entering students, coordinates university resources, and develops new initiatives to promote academic excellence and enhance student persistence.
The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust was established upon the death of Nina Mason Pulliam in 1997 to support the causes she loved in her home states of Indiana and Arizona. The trust seeks to help people in need, protect animals and nature, and enrich community life in metropolitan Indianapolis and Phoenix. Since its inception, the trust has distributed more than $268 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in Indiana and Arizona with grants totaling over $13 million to support foster care youth. Since the establishment of the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars Program in 2001, more than $20 million has been invested in scholarships for students with physical disabilities, adults with dependents, or youth raised in the child welfare system. This grant to IUPUI represents one of 28 awarded to nonprofit organizations in Indiana by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust during the second of two grant cycles in 2016. For more information about the trust and its programs, visit www.ninapulliamtrust.org.