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IU Philanthropy A to Z: A is For …

A photo of an outdoor space with a red filter. The letter "A" in a white circle in the center.

There are thousands of IU causes that you can support through the Indiana University Foundation.

That’s a whole lot of IU programs, projects, campuses, schools, facilities, groups, communities, and individuals benefiting from the generosity of the IU family!

Here we highlight a few of the many ways philanthropy—giving, volunteering, mentoring—impacts Indiana University, its people, and the world.

Academy Awards

IU is home to four Academy Awards won by the legendary motion picture director John Ford, thanks to a 2017 gift from his grandson Dan Ford. Alumnus Hoagy Carmichael’s Academy Award—along with more than 3,500 of the songwriter’s other belongings—was gifted to the university by Carmichael’s sons.

Adaptive ballet

Camp Riley creates life-changing experiences for children with physical impairments and medical conditions by making summer camp activities like water skiing and horseback riding accessible to all. Thanks to a grant from IU’s Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council, the camp added an adaptive ballet program in summer 2019. Read more about the adaptive ballet program.

A group of campers follow an instructor by raising their hands.
Dance instructor Lauren Sokol, front, leads Camp Riley campers in practicing an adapted ballet routine. The routine was developed for kids with physical disabilities and medical conditions by IU School of Medicine associate professor Deborah Sokol. Photo by Andrea Zeek, Indiana University.

African art

Hundreds of ethnographic objects—filling nearly every wall and flat surface—are displayed in a home.
Bill Itter’s estate gift to IU included more than 500 ethnographic objects—primarily African ceramics, textiles, and baskets.

The outstanding sub-Saharan African art collection at IU’s Eskenazi Museum of Art has now gotten even stronger, thanks to a gift of more than 500 ethnographic objects from Bill Itter, IU professor emeritus of fine art.

American Democracy Project

Civic and political engagement are the goals of IU South Bend’s American Democracy Project, which brings together college students and community members to learn, grow, and make a difference.


Some IU donors prefer to let their gifts speak for themselves, choosing to give anonymously, like some generous fairy godparent did in 2017 with a $5 million gift to the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. All told, more than $96 million has been given to IU anonymously by more than 9,000 donors since 1964. The Kelley School of Business, Jacobs School of Music, and IU School of Medicine are the top recipients of anonymous gifts to IU.


The sun shines on a man who stands at an easel. He is surrounded by green grass and plants. In the background are a small waterfall and gazebo.
A student works on a charcoal drawing in the Arboretum on a spring day on the IU Bloomington campus. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University.

In addition to making the largest personal gift in IU history to create the life-changing Cox Scholars Program, Jesse H. Cox, BS’44, and his wife, Beulah Chanley Cox, funded the creation of the Cox Arboretum and Pavilion, a beautiful greenspace in the heart of the IU Bloomington campus where IU’s original football stadium once stood.


From funding for a hands-on archaeological lab at IU East (video) to the ongoing work of the Glenn Black Lab, countless archaeology students, faculty, and researchers benefit from the generous support of IU donors.


How can we possibly capture all of the ways that IU philanthropists support the arts? From volunteer ushers at the IU Cinema to patrons of the theater on Broadway at IU Northwest, there are enough examples to fill a thousand articles!


In space, your bones become their own worst enemies. So IU School of Medicine researchers are studying how bones react to space travel to help people on Earth, like gunshot victims, regenerate their skeletal systems.

Have an idea for something that you’d like to see highlighted in this series? Drop us a line.

Written By

Andrea Alumbaugh

A native Hoosier, Andrea Alumbaugh is a graduate of IU (BAJ’08) and a senior writer at the IU Foundation.

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