Lilly Endowment awards $3 million for Networks Financial Institute

By: Dave Taylor, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
October 2, 2012

Lilly Endowment has awarded a six-year, $3 million grant to Indiana State University to help fund continued operation of the university's distinctive Networks Financial Institute (NFI).

The institute, housed in the Scott College of Business, has drawn praise for transforming public discourse of financial services regulations and producing a new generation of skilled industry leaders.

"NFI has gained a national reputation for independent, nonpartisan research and award-winning, innovative student programs," said Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College. "This gift allows the college to solidify its position as an unquestioned leader in this area. We are grateful for Lilly Endowment's generous support."

The grant brings to $32 million the total amount the Endowment has invested in NFI since the institute's launch in 2003. For this grant, the Indiana State University Foundation and the university will provide matching funding of $3 million.

"Lilly Endowment is pleased to provide this additional support to enable NFI to distinguish itself further as a national thought leader in risk management and insurance and financial services research," said Sara Cobb, the Endowment's vice president for education. "The role NFI is playing to fill the pipeline with future top financial services leaders also is significant."

Perhaps the most important example of NFI's national impact on the public policy debate over the shape of financial regulatory modernization is the Insurance Reform Summit it conducts each March in Washington, D.C. This signature event brings together in one place federal and state legislative and administrative leaders, academics, industry stakeholders, and thought leaders of all types.

"NFI and Indiana State University facilitate an in-depth conversation about the issues facing the U.S. insurance market. It's an excellent event that has highlighted a range of views from academia, government, and business," said U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert of Illinois, who chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity.

NFI's goal is to be the national source for authoritative and impartial analysis of policies affecting risk management and insurance, achieve national recognition for research in financial services and to be a national leader in developing top graduates as responsible future leaders in the industry, said Terrie Troxel, the institute's executive director.

"We are very pleased that Lilly Endowment has extended a grant for NFI to continue its work. This will allow us to strengthen and continue programs developed through a series of previous Endowment grants," Troxel said.

Earlier funding helped Indiana State create NFI's authoritative thought leadership and research program focused on public policy issues affecting financial services, Troxel said.

"It also helped us build a truly unique program of student professional development for Networks Scholars and other scholarship recipients. That program has helped attract top-notch students to the college enhancing the learning experience for all our students," he added.

NFI-supported research has been published in nearly 200 publications on topics ranging from financial services industry performance and regulation to economic development. The most extensive national policy research project in the institute's nine-year history is a report prepared for the Federal Insurance Office analyzing each of the issues the newly formed office is mandated to address by the Dodd-Frank financial services reform statute.

NFI delivered the report to Michael McRaith, director of the Federal Insurance Office, soon after he was appointed and beginning to fulfill the Dodd-Frank requirements. McRaith recognized NFI for its timely and helpful research indicating it was very valuable in informing federal officials about the insurance business and industry regulation.

NFI-sponsored researchers have also made presentations to business and community leaders throughout the country, including Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas. Topics have included financial services leadership, ethics, financial literacy, regulatory reform, new federal health care legislation, banking, mortgages and foreclosures.

Indiana State has graduated 86 Networks Scholars thus far, with an additional 43 scholars currently enrolled. Scholars have interned or been hired by top insurance and financial services firms across the country, including State Farm, Aon, KPMG, Deloitte Consulting, Zurich, Lockton, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PNC Bank, Westpoint Financial and Travelers, noted Jack Maynard, ISU's provost and vice president for academic affairs.

"The investment Lilly Endowment has made in Indiana State to support research, education and professional development has resulted in better informed policymakers and a new generation of professionals that is better prepared to meet the challenges the financial industry faces in today's economy," Maynard said.

Indiana State and the ISU Foundation will leverage Lilly Endowment's grant to continue efforts to make NFI the premiere source for objective input on insurance and risk management issues, said Dan Bradley, university President.

"We are committed to advancing Networks Financial Institute to become the indispensable national leader in impacting decision-making by industry, regulators and consumers," Bradley said.

During the six-year period of the grant, the university will seek funding from other agencies and will add faculty to bolster the distinction of the Scott College's financial services programs, according to Bradley.

"We are pleased Lilly Endowment has recognized NFI's many accomplishments during its first decade," he said. "Much has changed in that time period. The university is now in a position to build on that foundation and produce students who are even better prepared and financial consumers and regulators who are even better informed."

NFI graphic: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/758008002_2XaRa-D.jpg

Contact: Terrie Troxel, executive director, Networks Financial Institute at Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2442 or terrie.troxel@indstate.edu; or Brien Smith, dean, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2000 or brien.smith@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

 

Story Highlights

Lilly Endowment has awarded a six-year, $3 million grant to Indiana State University to help fund continued operation of ISU's distinctive Networks Financial Institute in the Scott College of Business.

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