Transformational Initiatives

As a museum committed to engaging children and their families with transformational experiences that grow strong minds, we’re also committed to strengthening our community. As part of our groundbreaking Extraordinary Transformations campaign, the innovative Mid-North Promise Program left the drawing board and became reality with a dedicated museum team behind it. Overall investment in neighborhood initiatives continued to achieve positive results and enthusiastic feedback.

Investing in neighborhood initiatives accelerated in 2015.The museum made a difference by investing $740,408 in neighborhood programs and revitalization, an 89% increase over 2014. One significant initiative was the creation of a new neighborhood green space on a portion of the former Winona Hospital site, adjacent to the recently constructed Illinois Place Apartments.

Support provided by Mark and Jill Boyce.

Our free and reduced admission days and programs ensure that all families, regardless of income level, are able to access our transformational experiences. In 2015, the museum provided free or reduced-cost admission to 154,511 visitors at a value of over $3 million! Free and reduced admission days included Target Free Family Nights, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, El Día de los Niños, Christmas Eve, Presidents Day, the Foster Family Program, and Neighborhood Club. Also included  were 57,019 visitors who attended through the Access Pass program, which allows qualifying low-income Indiana families to visit for $1 per person per visit.

Target Free Family Nights were sponsored by Target. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was presented by Capital Group Companies and supported by FedEx. El Día de los Niños was presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC, and Indy Eleven. The Access Pass program was supported by The Jerry L. and Barbara J. Burris Foundation.

  The Old National Bank Mid-North Promise Program (MNPP) is an exciting new initiative that launched in 2015 to help families achieve their educational goals and better their way of life. Promise programs across the country typically provide local, place-based college support for graduating high-school students from a specific school district, city, or town. The Mid-North Promise Program is serving as a new national model as the first to focus on a neighborhood anchored by a cultural institution, and the first to take a family approach by providing support for both children and adults from cradle to career, including college enrollment and workforce certifications. Four components of the program come together to drive its success:

Family Learning Navigator—MNPP goes beyond traditional scholarship-based initiatives by providing a dedicated Family Learning Navigator who helps connect family members to educational and family support resources in an effort to elevate college graduation and employment rates. The Family Learning Navigator works directly with families to develop individualized family learning plans, provide referrals to partner resources in the community, and help the entire family discern the best ways to attain a positive educational track and post-secondary degrees or career success. Because of this designated Family Learning Navigator, The Children’s Museum serves as a hub for family educational support.

Support for the Family Learning Navigator program was provided by Lumina College Readiness Fund, a CICF Fund; Lumina Foundation; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); Susan and Jim Naus; the Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; and JPMorgan Chase.


After-school Explorers—The Explorers program provides an extraordinary opportunity for students in Grades 3–5 to participate in a fun, hands-on, educational experience at the museum. A variety of activities related to museum exhibits and programs are presented by the museum’s staff. The program is available to students who live in or attend schools or programs in the Mid-North neighborhoods of Crown Hill, Highland Vicinity, Historic Meridian Park, Historic Watson Park, Mapleton-Fall Creek, and Meridian Highland. In 2015, the 22 participants studied aeronautics, photography and photojournalism, archaeology, paleontology, and popular fables—all connected to museum exhibits. By January 2016, all had met at least 68% of desired outcomes in community and belonging, youth voice and agency, critical thinking, curiosity and self-discovery, and college awareness.

Support for the After-school Explorers program was provided by Lumina College Readiness Fund, a CICF Fund; Lumina Foundation; Susan and Jim Naus; the Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; and JPMorgan Chase.


StarPoint—In 2015, StarPoint transitioned to a full-day program serving 90 children. StarPoint is a unique, educational summer camp for youths ages 6–12 in The Children’s Museum neighborhood. All of the activities during the camp are curriculum-based and developed by trained museum educators.

StarPoint was supported by Summer Youth Program Fund, including Lilly Endowment, Inc. and Indianapolis Foundation, Capital Group Companies, Shelia Fortune Foundation, Downtown Optimist Foundation, and Meritor.



Preschool scholarships to The Children’s Museum Preschool—Five prekindergarten scholarships that funded 80% of the student’s tuition were awarded based on financial need, with preference given to Mid-North families.

Scholarships to The Children’s Museum Preschool were made possible by funding from the Seabury Foundation.