ISU receives second $100,000 Grant from Osher Foundation

June 11 2008

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the first and only such institute in Indiana, has been awarded a second grant to provide learning opportunities for older adults in the Wabash Valley.

The grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation will allow Indiana State to continue to build on its commitment to lifelong learning by reaching out to a larger number of adults, expanding learning opportunities available while making them more accessible.

Known as OLLI at ISU, the group was founded in 1997 as the Dewey Institute for Lifelong Learning. It became affiliated with the Osher Foundation in 2007, when it received its first $100,000 grant for adult education programs. Members of OLLI, currently numbering around 263, enjoy a mix of lectures, courses and special events designed to meet the needs and interests of older adults. The only prerequisite for membership is a love of learning.

Member Sheron Dailey said while there are activities for older adults in the community, the Institute fulfills the need for educational programs.

“OLLI is a great benefit for the community. There is a need for this type of programming,” Dailey, a former curriculum coordinator and a member who assisted in applying for the first grant, said.

“Our programs cover a huge range and are generally interesting, often stimulating, usually delightful, occasionally provocative, and always worth it. Since there are no tests or papers, members can simply indulge themselves in the pure joy of learning,” she added.

With the first $100,000 grant the group was able to hire a full-time administrator to assist in the program planning and saw interest increase.

“Our membership has increased by approximately 25 percent and we’ve seen a similar increase in the number of programs,” Dailey said.

OLLI administrators and members agree the additional funding is critical for the group’s continued success.

“This second $100,000 grant enables OLLI to continue its growth in terms of members and programs,” said Linda Crossett, director of Community and Professional Programs. “It also shows us that the Osher Foundation believes that we are doing a good job in programming for older adults.”

The Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader from California. Among the programs supported by the foundation is a national network of lifelong learning institutes for older adults. Typically, grants of $100,000 are made on the understanding that, once a lifelong learning institute was launched, the Foundation would consider the renewal of the grant for two more years with the potential for a $1 million endowment should the institute demonstrate potential for success and sustainability.

At present, the Foundation supports 119 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on university and college campuses in 48 states (plus the District of Columbia) as well as a National Resource Center for the Institutes at the University of Southern Maine. It is hoped that the growing national network of Osher Institutes might eventually contain at least one institute in each of the 50 states.

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Contact: Linda Crossett, director of Community and Professional Programs, (812) 237-8479

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Indiana State University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the first and only such institute in Indiana, has been awarded a second grant to provide learning opportunities for older adults in the Wabash Valley.

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