Categories: Press Releases



INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Shannon Walker, Vice President of Unity Foundation of La Porte County, recently completed the prestigious Mutz Philanthropic Leadership Institute. Walker and other Mutz Institute graduates were recognized at the 2023 Philanthropy Leads Dinner on October 10 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. Guest speakers included Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance CEO Claudia Cummings and Scott Dorsey, High Alpha and ExactTarget founder.

Launched by IPA in 2021, the Mutz Institute identifies and develops transformational philanthropic leaders in Indiana. Walker was one of 23 members of this year’s class, after being selected through a competitive application process last year.

Walker has served as Unity Foundation’s Vice President since March 2020. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from Franklin College and a Master of Science in Technology, Leadership, and Innovation from Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University. She received a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Indiana School of Philanthropy’s Executive Education Program as part of the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte’s Nonprofit Leadership Cohort and participated in the 37th class of Leadership La Porte County. She resides in La Porte with her family.

“The Mutz Philanthropic Leadership Institute was a life-changing personal and professional development experience,” said Walker. “I learned new ideas from experts throughout the country and gained a new network of colleagues and friends with fellow cohort graduates.”

The Mutz Institute is a cohort-based program that provides a continuing education experience that prepares leaders for board and executive roles at foundations and corporations serving communities across Indiana by showcasing a full range of philanthropic approaches, trends, and practical ideas. It is named for John M. Mutz, former Indiana Lieutenant Governor, past president of Lilly Endowment Inc., IPA founder, corporate CEO, and Indiana visionary.

“Over the past 10 months, our class of 23 philanthropic leaders from across the state came together to explore topics presented by over 75 philanthropic experts at innovative organizations throughout Indiana and from coast to coast,” said IPA President and CEO Claudia Cummings. “This program allows us to honor John Mutz, who was integral in the founding of IPA, while developing a talent pipeline of diverse philanthropic leaders.”

“We want to imbue the individuals who graduate from our program with a lot of knowledge and wisdom,” shared program namesake John Mutz during the graduation ceremony. “But more importantly, what we want to do is build a fire under philanthropy, and under government, and under business in this state so we can be better than we are.”

About John M. Mutz

Born in Indianapolis, Mutz is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in advertising and business management. His long business career included managing a chain of restaurants and serving as president of PSI Energy (now Duke Energy). Elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1967 and the State Senate in 1970, he was instrumental in introducing the set of legislative reforms that came to be known as Unigov and in the creation of IUPUI and the White River Park Commission. From 1980-1988, he served as the 45th Indiana Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Governor Robert D. Orr. Mutz later served as president of Lilly Endowment Inc. and chairman of the Lumina Foundation board of directors.

 About Indiana Philanthropy Alliance

IPA is the largest association supporting effective philanthropy in Indiana and includes foundations, corporations and other social investors. Philanthropy in Indiana invests over $2 billion each year in support of causes that fuel success, like education, health, human services, arts and culture. Learn more at

 About Unity Foundation

Since 1992, Unity Foundation of La Porte County has served donors, nonprofits and local communities. As La Porte County’s community foundation, it manages $41 million in assets, administers more than 350 charitable funds, and has distributed more than $25 million through direct grants and scholarships. Unity Foundation’s mission is to strengthen La Porte County now and forever by building permanent endowments; providing leadership; offering philanthropic vehicles for everyone; and being a catalyst for social and economic vitality. For more information, please visit or call 219-879-0327.

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