CICF News / 2009 / May / News Post
May 20, 2009
Extreme Home Makeover Edition Visits Indianapolis

Television cameras may have left, but, CICF, Making Connections Indianapolis, Estridge Companies, and neighborhood leaders are committed to neighborhood renewal.

Within the last six weeks, an extreme makeover has occurred in the Indianapolis Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. This spring, the Emmy-winning TV program "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" selected Bernard McFarland, Indianapolis Public School employee and single father of three sons, to receive a new house and adjacent library/mentoring center. Builder Paul Estridge, Jr. agreed to lead the construction, but only if he could build a home appropriate to the neighborhood and add to the quality of McFarland's Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood.      

The effort expanded far beyond one home and sparked increased momentum and plans for neighborhood revitalization. CICF and Making Connections Indianapolis partnered with Estridge to engage neighborhood leaders, identify community needs, and strategize future initiatives.
The result? Five thousands volunteers, contributions from 200 companies, more than one thousand trees planted around the neighborhood, free wireless Internet access for 450 homes, and 100 computers donated to local Indianapolis Public School students. Wait, there's more:
  • 20 homes repainted, reroofed or rehabbed
  • 22 homes landscaped
  • 7 miles of streets, alleys, vacant lots, and yards cleared of trash
  • 2 homes demolished
  • 1 church with new siding
  • Announcement of IPS School #37 as a neighborhood community center
  • Creation of the CICF Extreme Makeover Charitable Fund

The continued effort toward technology, the community center, and the CICF Extreme Fund will benefit Martindale-Brightwood now and in the future.

IPS School #37 to Become a Community Center
On April 2, Paul Estridge, Jr., president and chief servant of Estridge companies, announced that IPS School #37 will become a community center for Martindale-Brightwood. A key component of community development is impacting lives through providing ample space for neighborhood events, social services, and recreational activities. The school building will be transferred to a governmental entity and operated by one or more community organizations working in collaboration.

A Networked Neighborhood
Lack of technology access has been a Martidale-Brightwood challenge for several years, specifically for school aged students. Estridge engaged in partnerships with Indianapolis Public Schools, Stoneware, and ERS Data Solutions Group and they are currently installing a Free Access Neighborhood (FAN) broadband system in the area between 25th Street to the north, I-70 to the south, Sherman to the east, and Keystone to the west. By May 11, 2009, the FAN will enable neighborhood residents in this area to access the Internet at no charge. Dell and Intel have agreed to donate 100 laptop computers for all IPS students residing in Brightwood, which is the designated FAN area. Elementary, middle school, and high school students will receive computers. Neighborhood students will be able to connect with the IPS portal, enabling them to access necessary resources such as word processing software, complete homework, and conduct research. Parents will be able to track homework assignments, access attendance and grades, and become better informed. All residents will have access to other information such as healthcare venues, local government, and neighborhood events. 

$24,000 Has Been Donated to the CICF Extreme Makeover Charitable Fund
Paul Estridge, Jr., worked with CICF to establish the CICF Extreme Makeover Charitable Fund to provide short and long-term funding for social service programs, continued physical improvements, and the creation of a permanent community center in the neighborhood. As of May 7, more than $24,000 had been donated to the fund. Donations will also enhance community literacy initiatives, school readiness programs, workforce development, and ongoing healthcare programs. As efforts continue in Martindale-Brightwood, CICF, Making Connections Indianapolis, Estridge, and neighborhood leaders are hoping to revitalize the neighborhood and to create a collaborative community development model that can be replicated in other communities around central Indiana.

Extreme Citizenship
Paul Estridge, Jr. does not consider himself a home builder as much as a community builder. His company has become renowned for its commitment to new urbanism that eschews rows of cookie-cutter houses in favor of homes that revolve around walkable community amenities such as churches and parks. Paul turned to CICF, learning from their work in Martindale-Brightwood and other Indianapolis neighborhoods. "There's a phenomenal infrastructure of leadership there," said Paul, Jr. Paul, Jr. and his father, Paul, credit the support they have received from central Indiana residents and communities for their success as home builders and real estate developers. "It has been our family's intention for quite a while to return our good fortune in some significant way to this giving community," said Paul, Jr. Paul, Jr. serves on the board of directors for Legacy Fund, a CICF affiliate.

Making Connections
Making Connections Indianapolis, a supporting organization of CICF, acts to improve the lives of children and families in vulnerable neighborhoods. Growing from an initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Making Connections Indianapolis has been working with the communities of Martindale-Brightwood and Southeast since 2000. Learn more at

You Can Make A Difference
Contact the Martindale-Brightwood Development Corporation at 317.924.8042 to learn more as efforts continue in the neighborhood.