Ann Merkel and her husband Mike supported Ivy Tech Community College-Indianapolis for nearly 10 years before she became the campus Board of Trustees Chair in 2022.
“Neither one of us graduated from Ivy Tech,” Merkel said of she and her husband, “but we can have an impact on the students here that we could not have donating to our actual alma maters.”
The Merkels began donating to Ivy Tech’s Culinary Arts program after going to an Evening in Paris at Ivy Tech. Evening in Paris was a once-annual fundraising event in support of student scholarships that afforded culinary students the opportunity to continue their studies in Europe.
Soon, the couple couldn’t help but become more involved. Merkel joined the Circle of Ivy, a women's philanthropy group that creates resources and raises funds to diminish barriers to higher education for Ivy Tech students. The pair then started getting involved with special projects and funding scholarships for Ivy Tech’s Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP).
“It's been very exciting for us and very fulfilling to be able to engage with a different type of giving. It's not just one option. Ivy Tech offers donors and potential donors a lot of ways to connect and support the programs there at the College,” Merkel said. “I think it’s a more impactful way to share.”
As The National Bank of Indianapolis’ Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, with a nearly 30-year-long tenure with the institution, Merkel says she has had a plethora of experiences.
Being with the bank since its infancy, Merkel has worked in various roles, each allowing her to take the skills she has acquired and do what she loves the most – helping central Indiana communities.
Merkel has served on various nonprofit boards throughout her career. Still, she is most excited about leading the campus trustees at Ivy Tech Indianapolis because of its unique position to propel not only central Indiana forward but the entire state.
“This is a very exciting time to be involved with the campus,” Merkel started.
“Campus leadership, faculty, and staff all have a really critical opportunity to help move our state into the future,” she said. “ We’re in a unique position to be able to lead in education and post-secondary education. And I’m very excited to use those relationships that I’ve built over the years in the community to help support the campus in building relationships and partnerships as well.”
Indianapolis has been home to Merkel since graduating from college. She and her husband have owned and been part of local businesses in central Indiana for as long as she can remember, and they believe Ivy Tech is a key player in creating the next generation of Hoosier workers.
“The more educated we can be as a community … the more successful we're going to be on so many different levels,” Merkel said.
“The partnerships that are being developed between Ivy Tech's Indianapolis campus and employers in our area, as well as other charitable organizations … are going to be key to our ability to not only educate but provide the type of supportive environment that will make our students successful.”
Merkel says she is reminded of the value of what the board, staff, and faculty work to achieve every day when she visits our campus.
“I'm very excited to be able to continue to get the message out of what a great value and opportunity Ivy Tech and the Indianapolis campus are, and the vital part we're playing in the central Indiana landscape.”
This article was originally published in the 2023 issue of the Ivy Indy Magazine.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.