Taura Edwards, Butler’s new Director of the Institute for Research and Scholarship, has been recognized by 100 Black Men of Indianapolis as one of nine winners of its 2015 Emerging Leader Awards.
The award, to be presented September 24, goes to young professionals ages 25–40 who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication in improving their community through community service, civic engagement, and mentoring.
In nominating her for the award, the University said: “Taura Edwards is a leader, a public administrator, a public advocate, and a community servant. She has worked diligently to promote advocacy and awareness to the local community and support capacity building for nonprofit organizations. Most importantly, she has been strategic in her efforts as a public administrator. She has a passion for process efficiency, organizational compliance, and grants administration. … In every area of her life, she has worked diligently to fulfill her passion in service to others.”
Before joining Butler in July, Edwards served as the Director of Community Programs at Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority for six years. She oversaw the administration and budget management of five federally funded and four state-funded programs that totaled nearly $100 million in federal and state funds, as well as $2.5 million in state tax credits. The program provided anti-poverty services including utility assistance, energy efficiency upgrades, and more statewide.
Outside of work, she has served in various capacities in the Indianapolis community, including the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Ivy Endowment Inc., the American Heart Association, the city chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and the Bloom Project Inc.
In her role at Butler, Edwards supports faculty research and scholarship, curricular and professional development, programmatic projects, and creative works, through internal grants and assistance with external funding.
Edwards remembers the advice a former boss gave her: “If you want to make money, manage money. People will always need you, and they know you”. She has taken that to heart ever since.
“Coming to Butler has been a great opportunity to transfer my management and grant management experience to the University and support University research,” she said. “I love the idea of working with faculty and helping them cultivate grant ideas and look for grant-prospecting opportunities.”
She said that, in her first couple of months at Butler, she has made an effort to network with all the University offices that touch BIRS. She’s standardized some operating processes to know what a faculty member goes through from grant concept to submission to award, develop a relationship with Advancement, and she has worked with University General Counsel Claire Aigotti to streamline the processes used to confirm grant agreements.
“Butler is an excellent community,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how welcome I’ve felt here. The great thing about being in the grants office is that people know where to find you when they’re ready.”