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About Family Success

CICF’s Family Success Initiative is focused on increasing the earnings and assets of working families in Central Indiana.

Why does this matter? To break the cycle of poverty, families must become financially independent. However, in Indiana almost 1/4th of jobs are in occupations that pay below poverty (In 2010, the poverty threshold was $22,235 for a family of four). Not surprisingly, individuals without post-secondary experience are most likely to struggle to find employment at family-sustaining wages. While education and skills training for adults are essential if we are to help families move on the pathway to economic self-sufficiency, in the interim work supports are needed to help cover the rising costs of food, housing, childcare and healthcare.

The following summary provides a broad overview of Family Success efforts that aim to: 1) Increase the earnings and assets of working families in Central Indiana; 2) Build the capacity of nonprofit providers; and 3) Improve services through coordinated delivery and performance management. There are many opportunities to invest in organizations that reduce barriers to family success. There is also the ability to support larger community-wide initiatives that help families move toward financial independence.

It starts with basic needs – safe neighborhoods, affordable and stable housing, access to nutritious food and healthcare – and progresses to opportunities for career advancement and asset development. A continuum of supports is the key for families to achieve economic independence over time.

Health and Wellness

Physical and mental health are fundamental to finding and maintaining a job, pursuing education and having a quality of life that we all deserve.

Consider Supporting:

Gennesaret Free Clinics – Community-based health centers and mobile units that serve working poor families with quality healthcare services including: medical, dental, early detection for breast and cervical cancer, vision care, and respite care for homeless men.

Wishard-Eskenazi Health Services – A network of providers comprised of hospitals and community-based healthcare sites that offer primary care and mental health/addition services to all Indianapolis-area residents regardless of their ability to pay.

Trinity Free Clinic – A community-based health center that provides free medical, health and dental support to the uninsured and low-income residents of Hamilton County.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky – 29 health centers located throughout the state of Indiana and Kentucky that offer access to high-quality, affordable reproductive health services.

Adult Guardianship Coalition of Central Indiana – A consortium of stakeholders that provide a diverse array of expertise in the areas of legal services, human services, mental health, senior issues and other social services relevant to protecting at-risk adults. Partners include: Families First, Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis, CICOA, Center for At-Risk Elders, Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program, Adult Protective Services.

Adult & Child Mental Health Center – A state certified organization that provides mental health and child welfare programs in the community. Adult & Child Mental Health Center is also one of the largest therapeutic foster care providers in Marion County.

Little Red Door – A service provider for uninsured and underinsured individuals that offers cancer screening and detection, community education programs and client support and navigation after diagnosis including but not limited to transportation to and from medical appointments.

Cancer Support Community – Offering free of charge education and wellness programs for all people impacted by a cancer diagnosis, Cancer Support Community aims to provide psycho/social supports for families affected by this disease.



Access to quality, healthy food is a basic need for families in our community that is often not met. With more than one in four children in Indiana living in poverty, food scarcity is a significant, wide-spread problem for our city's families. 

Consider Supporting:

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana - A food bank that secures, stores and redistributes donated fresh and non-perishable food to 350 hunger relief agencies in 21 Indiana counties. During the school year, Gleaners also distributes 10,000 BackSacks of weekend food to children who face chronic hunger.

Midwest Food Bank – A food bank that helps alleviate hunger and poverty by gathering and distributing food donations to not-for-profit agencies and disaster sites without cost to the recipients.

Garden on the Go – A program of IU Health that improves access to affordable fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods of need in Marion County. Garden on the Go is a mobile grocery service, making regular stops at community and neighborhood centers.

CICOA – One of 700+ area agencies on aging across the country that helps seniors and people of any age with a disability remain at home and out of institutional care. The Meals & More program provides nutritionally balanced meals to individual’s homes or at 30 neighborhood meal sites.


Stable and Affordable Housing

Safe, and affordable housing, particularly for vulnerable families facing additional burdens, is critical to a family’s ability to achieve stability and make progress on greater self-sufficiency. Stable housing linked to comprehensive services can help families avoid or overcome homelessness; obtain and maintain education and a job; and help children focus on school. Included in families most at risk of homelessness and poor long-term outcomes: pregnant teens; families fleeing violence; families where the adult has a criminal conviction.

Consider Supporting:

Coburn Place Safe Haven provides safe and affordable transitional housing and supportive services leading to long-term safety and greater self-sufficiency for up to 36 families fleeing domestic violence. Families have access to a wide range of support services including individual and family therapy; adult support groups; crisis counseling; employment training and readiness; substance abuse recovery and prevention; family development support; financial literacy and coaching; childcare; permanent housing referrals

Project Home Indy is Indianapolis' only transitional housing program for pregnant and parenting teen girls who are homeless, providing residential services to five pregnant and parenting teens and their children in a safe, structured and supportive environment. Residents are provided with a range of programs and activities including comprehensive case management; mentoring; transportation; comprehensive healthcare for both mother and baby; support for achieving educational goals; support for pursuing career-training programs; and intensive programs toward acquiring healthy life skills. Residents stay an average of six months and Project Home serves twelve teens and children annually.

The Julian Center provides counseling, safe shelter, case management, advocacy, and education for survivors of domestic violence and their children. Programs and services are designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the incidence of domestic violence and sexual assault, to support survivors in healing, and to help break the intergenerational cycle of abuse. Programs include a 24 hour crisis line, emergency shelter and transitional housing, safety planning, outreach to survivors who are not in shelter, case management and counseling. Annually The Julian Center serves 6,841 through shelter, housing and outreach.

Craine House provides unique programming which helps preserve families despite a mother’s criminal conviction, and significantly reduces the likelihood that women will become repeat offenders. The court-ordered alternative sentencing, work-release program allows women from Marion and surrounding counties to serve their sentences with their children. Women and their children are provided safe and secure housing and comprehensive services that prepare the women to be more stable and self-sufficient once they have completed their sentence. Program support includes substance abuse treatment; mental health services including individual and group therapy; life skills classes and coaching including parenting classes, budgeting, and health and nutrition classes; connection to education and work opportunities including GED preparation and job readiness coaching; children’s programming. Craine House also offers on site culinary training leading to certification for those residents who wish to pursue that career path. Annually Craine House serves approximately 100 women and children.

Winter Assistance Fund: A fund to help low-income individuals pay their heating bills during the winter months, Winter Assistance Fund (WAF) is a seasonal program that provides gas, electric, and alternative fuel assistance to Marion County residents whose household incomes are between 150-300% of the federal poverty guidelines making them ineligible for state utility assistance.


Early Childhood Education

Research shows that high quality education for children before they turn five yields significant long-term benefits. It ensures that families of the future are successful. Indiana is one of only 11 states in the country without dedicated funding for preschool.

Consider Supporting:

Day Nursery Association of Indianapolis – The oldest childcare provider in the state of Indiana, Day Nursery operates eight Indianapolis-area childcare centers and serves infants, toddlers and youth up to the age of six. Day Nursery has attained the highest level of quality care (Level 4) on Indiana’s Paths to Quality rating scale. Child Care Answers operated through Day Nursery assists parents in finding quality child care that meets their specific needs.

St. Mary’s Child Center – Using the Reggio Emilia curriculum, St. Mary’s serves three to five year olds at three locations. St. Mary’s has attained the highest level of quality care (Level 4) on Indiana’s Paths to Quality rating scale.

Concord Neighborhood Center – The oldest and longest-running neighborhood center in Indianapolis that offers social services, children’s programs, and educational opportunities to families on the south side. Concord’s licensed daycare and after-school programs always run at capacity.


Employment Readiness/Workforce Development

It's the ABC building blocks of a better future! Having both the "soft" and "hard" skills to find and maintain any job is crucial. Landing a better job that offers benefits and pays a family sustaining wage can be challenging for low-skilled workers. A career comes with additional post-secondary training and credentialing.

Consider Supporting:

Southeast Community Services – Staff of this organization deliver the Skills to Succeed employment readiness curriculum to all seven partners of the Indianapolis Center for Working Families (CWF) network allowing employment coaches located on site to focus on individualized employment services.

Center for Working Families (CWF) – CICF’s primary strategy to coordinate efforts to move people toward financial stability operates at 7 sites (Hawthorne Community Center, Southeast Community Services, John H. Boner Center, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, Flanner House, Edna Martin Christian Center, and Ivy Tech) and includes the systematic “bundling” of employment readiness, financial coaching and work support services. To date, the CWF network has increased the monthly net income of more than 1,000 clients by an average of $715. The network has also increased the net worth of almost 500 clients by an average of $2,219. In addition, more than 400 clients have increased their credit score on average by 25 points.

River Valley Resources – This quasi-governmental agency manages federal, state and local workforce development funding to provide case management for young adults including job readiness and life skills training, job coaching and GED prep.

Dress for Success Indianapolis – One of 70 affiliate organizations of Dress for Success Worldwide, this organization helps low-income women achieve economic independence through Suits for Success (SFS), a Professional Women’s Group (PWG) and a Career Development Center (CDC).

RecycleForce – A social enterprise that recycles electronic materials while employing formerly incarcerated individuals. The provided transitional employment serves as a bridge for an ex-offender as he moves from prison back into society, and as the 4th largest recycler in Indiana the organization has a significant environmental impact.

Second Helpings – In addition to rescuing prepared and perishable food and using it to create hot meals for clients of more than 70 social service agencies, Second Helpings offers a Culinary Job Training program that trains individuals for careers in the foodservice industry.

Exodus Refugee Immigration – Working with newcomers to Indianapolis, Exodus provides case management that assists families starting out in their new lives with housing, food and clothing, education, employment and health services.


Asset Development and Financial Capability

Assets are the key to the American dream, and necessary to weather cash flow challenges that could result from a lost job, car repair costs, etc. Every family needs flexible savings to weather life's unexpected expenses. And every family deserves an opportunity to build and utilize assets that allow them to purchase a home, pursue post-secondary education or start a business.

Consider Supporting:

Center for Working Families (CWF) – CICF’s primary strategy to coordinate efforts to move people toward financial stability operates at 7 sites (Hawthorne Community Center, Southeast Community Services, John H. Boner Center, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, Flanner House, Edna Martin Christian Center, and Ivy Tech) and includes the systematic “bundling” of employment readiness, financial coaching and work support services. To date, the CWF network has increased the monthly net income of more than 1,000 clients by an average of $715. The network has also increased the net worth of almost 500 clients by an average of $2,219. In addition, more than 400 clients have increased their credit score on average by 25 points.

Indy's Campaign for Financial Fitness – A coalition of public and private organizations that work to help families manage their finances more wisely through financial education workshops and free tax-preparation. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who earn less than $58,000.


It takes a village:

Families are most likely to be economically stable when we provide opportunities for advancement by connecting them with needed resources, and reduce legal and public policy barriers.

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Offering pro bono legal representation and preventive legal education to low-income families, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic is a resource for our community’s most at-risk including immigrants and other disenfranchised groups.

Indiana Institute for Working Families – A program of the Indiana Community Action Association (INCAA), the Institute conducts research and promotes smart, family-friendly public policies that help Hoosiers achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency.

Youth Assistance Program – By serving as the critical connector between schools, youth programs, law enforcement, and the court system, Hamilton County’s Youth Assistance Program (YAP) helps to meet needs and keep students and families on the right track. Students displaying negative behavior or facing a challenging situation at home or in school are referred to YAP by any of the partnering entities. Based on the situation, YAP is able to link students to any number of programs, classes, mentoring relationships, emergency supports, or counseling services, and if appropriate, parents and families may be referred to services as well. YAP is currently active in Westfield and Noblesville, with a Fishers program coming soon.

Connect2Help provides round the clock seven day a week telephone access to reliable information on where to get help. Central Indiana residents dial 2-1-1 and are connected to trained resource specialists who provide up to date information on access to help with food, housing, medical and legal assistance, public benefits and other needs. Resource specialists pinpoint the most appropriate assistance based on caller need and location, and follow up to ensure that callers received the help they were seeking. Annually, Connect2Help responds to approximately 250,000 calls.


Ways to make your grant?

1) Log on to CICF Connect.

2) Download a Grant Suggestion Form.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact your Personal Philanthropic Advisor at 317.634.2423.

Crime Prevention and Intervention College Readiness & Success Family Success Inspiring Places