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Early Learning Indiana Receives Grant from Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

Grant Will Establish Early Education Centers of Excellence in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS – Early Learning Indiana, Indianapolis’ largest and longest-standing early care and education provider, has received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to establish Early Childhood Centers of Excellence in Indianapolis. The Centers will comprise a unique collaboration between Early Learning Indiana’s Day Early Learning Centers and its outreach and partnership efforts, including Child Care Answers, to drive quality improvement across the early childhood system, both locally and regionally.

The Centers of Excellence implementation will begin at Early Learning Indiana’s Day Early Learning Lilly Family Center (3522 North Central Avenue, Indianapolis, 46205) during the first year of the grant. The Lilly Family Center has been in operation for 50 years as a trusted child care provider and community institution in the Mid-North neighborhood of Indianapolis. In year two, another Day Early Learning Center will be selected.

Research consistently shows that teaching quality has the greatest impact on program quality and child outcomes. The Centers for Excellence will focus on teaching improvement through targeted professional development and technical assistance support. The Centers will demonstrate quality practice and regularly invite other early childhood professionals, providers, system leaders, and policymakers to visit, witness, and learn from their example. The first year of the Lilly Center as a Center of Excellence will see at least 150 visits from early childhood professionals and aligned coaching that will impact over 1,700 children served in other early childhood programs. The Center will expand its work as a leader on family engagement, a critical factor in ensuring good child outcomes in the early years.

Karen Ruprecht, Director of Innovation in Early Education, will lead the Center. “There are many factors in early education settings that contribute to child outcomes, and we feel it is important for us to deeply examine our practices and use research to help inform us on the critical components of quality teaching practices. We are excited to develop and share this model with other early childhood professionals and to build on our existing foundation of providing high quality care to all children and families.”

During her career, Nina Mason Pulliam shared her financial success and business leadership skills with many charities. She was particularly sensitive to human needs, animal welfare and environmental issues. “She had a keen awareness of challenges that face our community and would take great pride in the outstanding work being done by organizations like Early Learning Indiana,” said Carol Schilling, Trustee chairman. “Through her Trust, we continue to build on her legacy which clearly reflects her heart for philanthropy.”    The grant to Early Learning Indiana represents one of 27 awarded to nonprofit organizations in Indiana by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust during the second of two grant cycles this year. Since the Trust began its grant making in 1998, it has awarded more than $252 million to nonprofit organizations in Indiana and Arizona.       As of September 30, 2015, the Trust had assets of approximately $364 million. Visit

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