New institute helps build better communities

Topics: Building Better Communities, Administrative

September 11, 2008

Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman (left), Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora (middle) and David Terrell, executive director of Indiana~~~s Office of Rural and Community Affairs (far right), meet shortly after announcing the creation of the Indiana Communities Institute (ICI). The latest addition to the Building Better Communities (BBC) initiative, ICI provides programs and services to help promote and strengthen small towns and rural communities across Indiana. To learn more about ICI and BBC, go to
Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman on Sept. 5 announced the launch of the Indiana Communities Institute with Ball State University's President Jo Ann M. Gora. The Indiana Communities Institute will provide programs and services statewide to Indiana communities. The institute is supported by the state's Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).

OCRA is providing a $598,678 grant for two years toward the funding of the Indiana Communities Institute. The institute will focus on leadership development, community and economic development and community capacity building. The programs and services will help promote and strengthen Indiana's towns and communities.

"The governor and I continue to find new ways and partnerships to help Indiana's communities become stronger. The Indiana Communities Institute with Ball State University will do just that," said Lt. Gov. Skillman. "Ball State's reputation is renowned for community and economic development through its Building Better Communities initiative. Local elected officials and community leaders will benefit from the great resources placed at their fingertips by the new institute and the leadership provided by the university."

The Indiana Communities Institute will be readily accessible to communities throughout the state. Traditional style programming on Ball State's campus will be available, but also single topic workshops by request will be offered to communities across the state. Online resources will also be accessible to communities.

"Through our Building Better Communities initiative, Ball State has a strong track record of working with local officials and businesses to solve problems, identify community development goals, and achieve those goals," said President Gora.  "This grant will allow Ball State to broaden our impact with economic development leaders across Indiana."

The state has several joint initiatives with Ball State University to help strengthen Indiana communities that include the Hometown Competitiveness (HTC) program with OCRA, a community development planning assistance program, and an annual Indiana Economic Development Course, supported by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC).

Building Better Communities is a Ball State University initiative designed to spur economic development and quality-of-life advancement in Indiana by extending the university's strengths in applied research and hands-on learning to community projects across the state. Building Better Communities works to match the university's expertise and resources to the varied needs of Indiana communities. To learn more, log on to

Division of Strategic Communications
West Quad (WQ), room 304
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana 47306

Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST Monday - Friday. For after-hours calls, dial the number below and you will be directed to an on-call staff person.
Phone: 765-285-1560
Fax: 765-285-5442