University’s Largest Gift Ever from Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust


Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) has received a $230,000 grant from The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, to strengthen urban farming and renewal efforts in Indianapolis. The CUE grant was the largest individual award from a total $1.2 million in grants announced on July 27 and given to 17 Indiana nonprofit organizations.

Payable over three years, the grant also represents the largest gift Butler University has ever received from The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

“We’re thrilled that, with the support of the Pulliam Trust, we will be expanding our operations down at the Butler Campus Farm to optimize the site for environmental education, allowing us to serve local schools and neighborhoods,” said CUE Director Tim Carter.

Working with Butler’s College of Education, the CUE will provide six interns to three local schools to integrate sustainable agriculture into the schools’ science curriculum, based on the practices at the Campus Farm. One of those schools will be Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy, developed and operated in partnership by Indianapolis Public Schools and Butler.

With grant funding, the CUE also will promote urban agriculture through an annual convention and a celebration of local food culture in Indianapolis. The first convention, FoodCon II, will take place at the Harrison Center for the Arts on Friday, Sept. 2.

Finally, the grant will support the CUE’s efforts to lead community stakeholders in developing a master plan for urban agriculture in the Indianapolis. “We’ll be exploring the economic feasibility of small-scale urban agriculture and partnering with the growing community of urban farmers in Indianapolis,” Carter said. “The plan will integrate social, environmental and economic programming, reflecting CUE’s holistic view of urban ecology as ‘ecology for the city.’ “

The Butler Campus Farm (established in 2010) will serve as the city’s pilot urban farming “Hub.” Envisioned throughout the community, Hubs will be designated focal points for public education, farmer training, soil remediation and other aspects of an urban agricultural system.

Butler’s acting president, Provost Jamie Comstock, said the Butler Farm exemplifies quality education “The Butler Way.” 

“The Farm engages our students, faculty, and staff with schools and civic organizations to make a local impact,” Comstock said. “Through this creative collaboration, led by the CUE and Tim Carter and supported by the generosity of the Nina M. Pulliam Charitable Trust, we can work together to enrich urban farming and city renewal and encourage others to do the same.”

The Center for Urban Ecology was founded in 2004 by faculty and staff in the Department of Biological Sciences, with the aim of becoming a national leader in the exploration, stewardship, and enhancement of urban ecosystems.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life in the metropolitan areas of Indianapolis and Phoenix.

Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson(317)