McKinney Family Foundation partners with IU to build 'environmentally sustainable future'

  • March 3, 2017


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University is announcing a new program to attract, educate and retain the best and brightest students who will ultimately pursue careers in the field of sustainability.

The Indiana University Foundation received a $125,000 gift from the McKinney Family Foundation to support a new workforce development pilot program to be administered by the IU Office of Sustainability. This gift counts toward the $2.5 billion campaign, "For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign."

The newly established Indiana Sustainability Development Program aims to grow Indiana's workforce through a series of student-focused networking opportunities, listening tours that identify gaps in understanding, intensive "boot camp" training sessions and paid student summer externships.

Ecological jobs represent a large and growing portion of the national and state workforce. According to a jobs survey from the Environmental Defense Fund, the field of sustainability now collectively represents between 4 million and 4.5 million jobs in the United States, up from 3.4 million in 2011. Careers in some sectors, like renewable energy, are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S economy; however, many are experiencing difficulty finding qualified workers.

"The McKinney Family Foundation is committed to building an environmentally sustainable future for every Hoosier; therefore we are pleased to partner with Indiana University to educate and empower the next generation of sustainability leaders," said Marni McKinney, McKinney Family Foundation Board president.

The Indiana Sustainability Development Program will bring the state's sustainability professionals, both current and future, together to form a network of expertise, experience and opportunity. Members will be able to easily connect with other professionals to share knowledge across corporate, nonprofit, higher education and government sectors. These members will also help further the Indiana Sustainability Development Program's mission by giving students meaningful exposure to sustainability work through placements in externships for the summer of 2017.

Thirteen subsidized externships for summer 2017 have already been identified, with the goal being to fill 20 spots this year. As part of their preparation, students will be exposed to a customized boot camp built around what sustainability professionals in the network identify as gaps in sustainability competency. The IU Office of Sustainability is engaging with industry experts to design a three-day training event for students participating in an Indiana Sustainability Development Program externship.

"We have trained over 300 sustainability interns on our campus, and they have had a remarkable impact on our campus sustainability challenges and opportunities and on their own career development," said Bill Brown, university director of sustainability. "I am eager to see what these externs can do for Indiana employers, and I hope many of them will decide to stay in Indiana permanently."

Students will be introduced to the new paid externship opportunities at an informational workshop to take place at 6 p.m. March 7 in Room 111 of the Psychology Building, along 10th Street on the IU Bloomington campus.

Professionals interested in joining the Indiana Sustainability Development Program professional network can visit the program’s website to fill out a secure online form. Anyone interested in learning more about the program can contact Sustain Indiana outreach coordinator Jill Bond at

The IU Office of Sustainability grew from a recommendation in the 2008 Campus Sustainability Report for IU Bloomington, which recommended an office that reports to the provost and the vice president for capital planning and facilities. The Office of Sustainability’s mission is to catalyze a thriving culture of sustainability in academic, research, operations, administration, campus life and community outreach to enhance environmental health, economic prosperity and social equity.

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. More about the campaign, its impact and how to participate is available on the campaign website.

Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value in excess of $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2016, IU received $360.9 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.

From left, mentor Mike Girvin, IU Landscape Services, with student sustainability intern Will Drews.

From left, mentor Mike Girvin, IU Landscape Services, with student sustainability intern Will Drews.

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Ivy Moore, a previous active transportation intern with the IU Office of Sustainability.

Ivy Moore, a previous active transportation intern with the IU Office of Sustainability.

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Media Contacts

Matt Kavgian

Director of Strategic Communications and Projects