History of Nina

History of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust was established upon the death of Nina Mason Pulliam on March 26, 1997, to support for 50 years the causes she loved in her home states of Arizona and Indiana.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children, and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life, primarily in metropolitan Phoenix and Indianapolis.

In 2001, the trust established the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program in tribute to the life and values of its benefactress. Participating schools are IUPUI, Ivy Tech State College–Indianapolis Campus, Arizona State University (ASU), and Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC).


Only a handful of institutions across the country have created programs that make the dream of a college degree a reality for those most at risk in society. One such program, the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, has focused intensive support and substantial funding on three populations of lower-income students: those who are physically disabled, those who have a history of abuse and neglect or experience in foster care, or those who are adults with dependents.

Success in Addressing Student Needs

The Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars Program at IUPUI takes a comprehensive and holistic approach to meet the needs of students who face significant barriers to college access and to academic success. Program support elements include (in addition to paying for tuition, fees, books, and a living stipend):

  • Program is led by a full-time director, who serves as a primary mentor to each scholar. He assertively connects scholars to campus and community resources.
  • Each first -year scholar has a peer mentor who takes a credited course in mentoring.
  • All new scholars take two courses together, which focus on life transitions, self-discovery, positive psychology, and emotional intelligence. 
  • First-year scholars meet weekly with a team of mentors to learn about study skills, career exploration and development, and personal development goals such as resiliency.
  • First-year scholars create success plans based on student assessment results.
  • Monthly workshops and other programming activities address student success skills and introduce students to campus and community resources.
  • Events are focused on group cohesiveness, engagement, and student development (e.g., challenge education, retreats, and cultural events).
  • Scholars participate in community service.