Grant to Support School

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Lilly Endowment Inc. has donated $500,000 to Fortune Academy in Indianapolis. The funding will support plans to increase enrollment, improve facilities and create a psychological screening center. January 11, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Fortune Academy, an Indianapolis school dedicated to serving children 1st through 12th grade with language learning differences such as dyslexia, and ADD/ADHD, has received a $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The grant will allow Fortune Academy to expand and redefine the school’s facilities and upgrade technology resources. Improvements will strengthen performing arts and athletics programs and enhance outdoor learning areas. In addition the school will be able to increase its enrollment. The gift comes as Fortune Academy leaders launch their capital campaign, Join the Journey, Fulfill the Dream.

The Endowment grant also will enable Fortune Academy to expand outreach efforts to include a full service evaluation center that will provide free early detection screenings and intervention referrals, and psycho-educational evaluation services to the greater community.

Recent research from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development indicates that approximately 20 percent (1 in 5) of all students have a neurological difference in the brain that affects their ability to learn the sound-symbol structure of written language. This equates to 300,000 students in Indiana. Despite average intelligences, many of these students fall behind.

Funding provided by Lilly Endowment will enable Fortune Academy to serve more children through the school, and through outside services. Fortune Academy uses the Orton-Gillingham Approach and is one of only 13 schools in the country certified by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Orton-Gillingham has been endorsed as a best practice for students with language learning differences for more than 60 years and validated through studies in at least 18 universities including the Health at Haskins Laboratory at Yale University.

"We are overwhelmed by the generosity and support Lilly Endowment brings to Fortune," says Janet George, Founder and Head of School for Fortune Academy. "Enrollment trends demonstrate a high level of local demand for this specialized learning environment. Having achieved a 1,367 percent increase in student enrollment since opening in 2002 (from 6 to 88 students), growing weekly tour visits and applications for enrollment, we know Indiana families want and need an educational environment with specialized teaching for their struggling students. Fortune is that place."

With a total capital improvement budget of $5 million, Fortune Academy is seeking $3 million for building and outdoor feature expansion; $1 million for current facility renovations, and $1 million for the new gymnasium.

About Fortune Academy

Fortune Academy was founded in 2000 and opened its doors as The Hutson School in 2002. The school was re-named in 2012. Fortune Academy is ISACS accredited and is ranked 18th in the “Top 50 Best Private Special Needs Schools in the U.S.” by ‘Masters in Special Education Guide 2014.’ Fortune Academy serves children first through twelfth grade with language learning differences such as dyslexia, processing difficulties, and ADD/ADHD. With a student to teacher ratio of 6:1, highly trained and specialized staff, along with a growing outreach program, we are dedicated to educating and equipping those with language learning differences to become competent and confident lifelong learners. Fortune Academy offers three diploma tracks: Honors Diploma, Core 40 Diploma, and General Diploma.

About Lilly Endowment

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937. The Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Source: Fortune Academy