CICF Partners with IBJ’s Forty Under 40 to Give Away $40,000

Hawthorne Community Center gets grant to continue its work developing self-sufficient families

Imagine convening 20 people in a room to decide—and agree on —what to make for dinner. It might be hectic. When 20 of Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2017 Class of Forty Under 40 gathered at Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) offices on March 9, they faced a much harder decision: how to award $40,000, as a unified cohort, to a not-for-profit organization.

CICF partnered with IBJ’s class of Forty Under 40 for a third year to facilitate a strategic philanthropic experience and, ultimately, allocate $40,000 to make Central Indiana a better community. The entire process, unlike deciding what to make a large group for dinner, was thoughtful and intentional, and led by CICF staff.

To start, CICF’s philanthropic services team led the cohort in a Wise Giving Workshop to determine their values, interests and purpose (or, objectives) as a group. This served as the basis for the group’s unified mission statement: Because we love our community and believe strongly in equality, fairness and progress, we want to increase opportunities and breakdown barriers for children and families in the areas of education and financial self-sufficiency to allow everyone an opportunity to flourish.

It’s that one sentence, filled with very carefully chosen words, that directed the honorees’ grant decision. After CICF community investment officers led a grant-making workshop for the cohort, five organizations, chosen based on the group’s values, presented their projects.

For the first time in CICF’s three-year partnership with IBJ’s Forty Under 40 program, the cohort decided to allocate all $40,000 to the single organization that best matched their mission: Hawthorne Community Center. (Diane Arnold, Hawthorne’s executive director) had only requested a $20,000 grant.)

The Forty Under 40 class was encouraged by Hawthorne Community Center’s Natural Guardians program, which promotes a pathway for ex-offenders to return to their families and communities. The center provides ex-offenders with access to services that include adult education, financial coaching, access to income support, employment and more.

When deliberating the tough allocation decision, the cohort relied on its mission statement to create a community full of opportunity for all. The entire $40,000 will be used to support Natural Guardians’ family nights and several ex-offender-led community projects at Hawthorne Community Center. These programs help welcome ex-offenders back into the community, reunite them with their families and enable them to become productive and respected members of the community.

“Community Centers hold a special place in my heart as they serve as strong community hubs. I was impressed with Hawthorne’s ability to bring families in, and care for them. In addition to that, the grant request and presentation was an exact match for our mission statement. This gift is very well deserved,”
– Adrianne Slash, current Forty Under 40 honoree and program and event manager for Leadership Indianapolis.

Giving away money can be fun, but as this year’s Forty Under 40 found out, it’s not always easy. Even still, focused and intentional giving makes philanthropy more enjoyable and impactful. CICF would love to work with you, your family or business to identify your values, interests and purpose as a guide for giving.

Contact Rob MacPherson, vice president for development and philanthropic services, at or 317.634.2423 x 509 to learn more.

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