Taylor University officials say a $500,000 grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. will be instrumental in the creation of a planned entrepreneurial program for Indiana high school students.
Lilly Endowment made the grant through its initiative Indiana Youth Programs on Campus, which is designed to help colleges and universities in the state engage youth, ages 5 to 18, in high-quality on-campus enrichment programs that can help young people envision a future for themselves in college.
Taylor’s program is called IMPACT, and it will engage Indiana high school students to help them develop entrepreneurial skills that equip them to impact their local community for the better while also envisioning a future for themselves in college. A highlight of the effort will be an annual summer camp to be based in Taylor’s Horne Academic Center. Construction of the facility is underway. It will be home to entrepreneurial initiatives as well as for students in Taylor’s growing Film and Media program, which has gathered nearly 700 external awards in the past 15 years.
IMPACT is a pre-collegiate program focused on entrepreneurship that will prepare participants to start a venture, while also exposing them to the transformative impact higher education can have on their lives. The program will launch at Taylor University in 2023.
The immersive experience will allow participants to experience leadership growth opportunities through classroom and experiential learning; engage with world-class speakers; build relationships with University faculty; and blossom in Taylor’s empowering community through mentorship with top student-leaders. Parents and guardians of these students will be exposed to faculty, staff members, and campus life to prepare them to embrace the collegiate opportunities and experiences available to their children.
“Taylor is an emerging thought pioneer in this space, and we intentionally invest resources and curate our programs to enable students to actively pursue God’s calling in their life,” said Taylor President D. Michael Lindsay. “Efforts to expand our work in this area are timely, because Taylor’s entrepreneurial explosion has coincided with significant growing interest from the State of Indiana and from Gen Z, which includes current high school students. Approximately 60% of this generation aspires to start a business.”
Lilly Endowment launched Indiana Youth Programs on Campus, in part, to respond to the significant decrease in the number of Hoosiers pursuing higher education degrees. In 2015, 65% of Indiana high school graduates went on to college, and that rate has dropped steadily since. In 2020, only 53% of Hoosiers were attending college the year after high school. Goals for the initiative include increasing the number of Indiana youth who obtain valuable postsecondary degrees and credentials and to help schools strengthen how they recruit students, especially students who have been traditionally underserved by higher education institutions.
“All of us at Taylor University are grateful to Lilly Endowment, an organization long known and appreciated for its visionary support of higher education, and the transformative opportunities this new grant will provide,” President Lindsay said.
If you would like to nominate a student, or you are an Indiana high school student interested in learning more about IMPACT, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.