A HISTORY OF PHILANTHROPY


historyEdmund Burke Ball’s estate gift of $3.3 million provided the bedrock of what officially became the Ball Brothers Foundation on November 19, 1926. The five brothers—George, William, Frank, Lucius and Edmund—shared a belief that philanthropy is more powerful than charity. They looked for ways to enhance the quality of life in the Indiana community that became home to their glass-manufacturing business in 1888. In the Foundation’s second year in existence the board made grants exceeding $1 million, more than double that of the first year. To support the effort, family members sold parcels of land, invested in the stock market, donated a private art collection, named BBF as beneficiary of insurance policies and made bequests in their wills. These practices have continued into the 21st century.

The current mission of the Foundation is identical to its 1926 mission. Grants made today reflect the founders’ priorities. Among the founders’ earliest interests, for example, were educational initiatives. Today, these interests live on through grant commitments that support a continuum of educational opportunities promoting learning from birth through college and career.

BBF continues to mature and evolve, always guided by timeless Ball family values:

  • Generosity—embracing a philanthropic spirit
  • Stewardship—modeling fiscal responsibility
  • Effectiveness—setting an example of good citizenship
  • Leadership—encouraging civic involvement
  • Integrity—exemplifying fairness, trust and respect
  • Communication—advocating transparent exchanges of information

A Legacy Etched in Glass: The Ball Brothers in Muncie

from Ball State Student Media on Vimeo.


George A. Ball 
1862-1955
Handled financial affairs for Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company.

William C. Ball
1852-1921
Worked in sales for Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company.

Frank C. Ball
1857-1943
Served as President for Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company.

Lucius L. Ball
1850-1932
Was a company stockholder and worked in the medical profession.

Edmund B. Ball
1855-1925
Served as Vice President and directed daily operations for Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company.