Marian University Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab Selected as an Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis Finalist

by Katie Bradley | May 23, 2017


STEM summer campsImpact 100 Greater Indianapolis, a charitable women’s giving circle, has announced the Marian University Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab is a 2017 finalist and will compete for the $100,000 high-impact grant at the 12th annual Impact 100 dinner on June 13, 2017 at The Ritz Charles in Indianapolis. Each finalist will deliver a seven-minute presentation to the Impact 100 membership. Following the presentation phase, Impact 100 members will cast their live vote and the $100,000 grant winner will be announced immediately.

The 2017 finalists are:

  • Arts and Culture: Artist and Public Life Residency, BigCar Collaborative
  • Education: Workplace Simulation Project Plus, DirectEmployers Institute
  • Environment: Environmental Learning Center, Marian University Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab
  • Family: Fresh Start Recovery, Volunteers of America
  • Health and Wellness: License to Drive and Yearn to Earn, Children's Bureau

The  project, titled “Opening Doors to the Natural World: Environmental Learning Center”, will build on the established network and proven success of the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab to create new partnerships with programs like Nature Explore, a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. The program will connect children with nature by providing outdoor classroom designs, educational workshops for nature-based learning, and resources that support learning with nature. The one-acre outdoor space will provide an innovative standards-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) Education format to promote the environmental education areas.

Children are spending less time outdoors, and therefore spending less time exploring and engaging with their natural environment. This has had an effect on perceptions of their environment and conservation, their ability to learn, and their overall health. According to the National Wildlife Federation, children are spending half as much time outdoors as they were 20 years ago and children 8-18 years old are spending an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day. 

“It is our mission to help reconnect children with nature to create future stewards of our natural areas in Indiana, across the United States, and throughout the world,” Stephanie Schuck, outdoor education and restoration coordinator, said.    

To date, 13 local nonprofits have received $100,000 and 31 have received residual grants as a result of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis’ collective giving. 

The 221 women who are 2017 members of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis have collectively given $160,000 to this year’s grant pool. One hundred percent of these funds will be granted during the annual dinner. In addition to the $100,000 the winner of the high-impact grant will receive, each remaining finalist will receive a $15,000 residual grant.

“It is incredible to think what has been achieved by the nonprofits who have received our grants over the past 12 years, and that nearly 700 women have made it possible for Impact 100 to give over $1.9 million to our community, ” said Beth Thomas, president of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis. “Our annual dinner is a wonderful opportunity to experience the power of women giving as one while learning about the needs of central Indiana and organizations such as Marian University working hard to make it a better place.”

Membership in Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis is secured through an individual donation of $1,000. Shared memberships in which two to four women can pool their money to share one vote are also available. Membership funds are used exclusively for the purpose of grant making.  

Only current Impact 100 members are eligible to vote for the selection of the $100,000 grant winner, but the organization encourages non-members to attend the annual dinner and experience first-hand the impact they are making together. Tickets to the dinner are available for $50 per person and can be purchased by nonmembers until May 31, 2017 on the Impact 100 website at

News Media Contact

Brad R. Wucher
Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing Communications
(317) 955-6307
Stokley Mansion, Room #1

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