The Bracken Environmental Fund brings scholars to campus, provides faculty research grants, and helps students work on environmental projects.

The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs manages the fund. Faculty, staff, and/or students interested in requesting support from the Bracken Environmental Fund should direct their inquiries to that office.

The fund began in September 1997 with a $500,000 gift from the late Rosemary Bracken.

Bracken was the daughter of Frank C. Ball, one of the five brothers who founded Ball Corp. in Muncie and donated the land and buildings for Ball State University in 1918.

Her husband, the late Alexander M. Bracken, was the president of the Ball State Board of Trustees for 22 years and was a chairman of Ball Corporation. Their son Frank Bracken, served on the board of trustees for 31 years and was U.S. Undersecretary of the Interior under President George H. Bush.  His son, Thomas C. Bracken succeeded him on the board of trustees from 2012-2019. 

Bracken lecturers have included:

Jeff Corwin
As the host of the Emmy Award-winning ABC wildlife adventure series “Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin,” Jeff educates and entertains audiences with his knowledge and deep sense of caring about the natural world. During Jeff’s television career, he also hosted Animal Planet’s “The Jeff Corwin Experience” and “Corwin’s Quest,” along with a variety of popular television series on networks like Disney Channel, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and Food Network. Jeff’s work on CNN’s critically-acclaimed “Planet in Peril” with Anderson Cooper and as a special science and the environment correspondent for NBC News has solidified his place as one of the world's leading environmental journalists.  With a focus on awareness and education, Jeff draws on his world travels to enlighten with insights on the current state of environmental conservation efforts, emphasizing that the key to our own survival is the survival of the world’s creatures and ecosystems.

Alexandra Cousteau
A National Geographic Emerging Explorer, filmmaker and globally recognized advocate on water issues, Alexandra Cousteau continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau, Sr. She has mastered the remarkable storytelling tradition handed down to her and has the unique ability to inspire audiences on the weighty issues of policy, politics and action. Alexandra is dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet. Her global initiatives seek to inspire and empower individuals to protect not only the ocean and its inhabitants, but also the human communities that rely on freshwater resources.

Sylvia Earle
Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) / Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. Author of more than 200 publications and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and PhD. degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates.  Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea. She is the subject of the Emmy® Award Winning Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honors and awards.

Thomas Friedman
Foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman has been one of The New York Times’ most prominent writers since joining the newspaper in 1981. He has earned three Pulitzer Prizes and written six best-selling books, including Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America.

J. Carl Ganter
Renowned multimedia journalist J. Carl Ganter's expertise on the economy and natural resources has put him at the forefront of international solutions to the global freshwater crisis.  Ganter is co-founder and director of Circle of Blue, a news and information website on global resources. 

Paul Hawken
Environmentalist, entrepreneur and author Paul Hawken has founded multiple businesses, including some of the first food companies to rely solely on sustainable agriculture. His books have sold in more than 50 countries and in 27 languages. He also founded the California-based research organization Natural Capital Institute, as part of a long list of other environmental projects. 

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Time magazine named Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as one of its “Heroes for the Planet.” His environmental work has spanned the Americas, including helping indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada successfully negotiate treaties to protect their homelands. He also negotiated New York City’s watershed agreement on behalf of environmentalists, and the pact today serves as an international model for stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development.

Gus Speth
James Gustave Speth is Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School and a senior fellow at Demos, the Democracy Collaborative, and the Tellus Institute. He served as Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies from 1999 to 2009. From 1993 to 1999, Dean Speth was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Prior to his service at the UN, he was founder and president of the World Resources Institute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality; and senior attorney and cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council.