Awards from Community Leadership Innovation Fund at Central Indiana Community Foundation
A new collaborative has been established with a $400,000 grant to reengage “opportunity youth” in Central Indiana. EmployIndy estimates that in Indianapolis, more than 30,000 people, ages 16-24, are not employed or enrolled. The collaborative is the first initiative of the Community Leadership Innovation Fund, a fund at Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) comprised of five philanthropic leaders—Lori Efroymson-Aguilera, Marianne Glick, Myrta Pulliam, Cindy Simon Skjodt, Charlie Sutphin— and three foundations—CICF, represented by Greg Hahn; The Indianapolis Foundation, represented by Milt Thompson; and Hamilton County Community Foundation, represented by Jay Merrell.
Opportunity youth became the priority focus for the Community Leadership Innovation Fund advisors in 2019 upon evaluating and understanding that these youth are disproportionately of color and from low-income neighborhoods. Additionally, advisors expressed concern for the long-term impact on individuals, families and the community when 30,000 youth are not engaged in systems that promote educational or economic success. The community at-large is negatively impacted by this growing disengaged population.
Five organizations reengaging opportunity youth will receive grants and participate in the Opportunity Youth Collaborative:
- EmployIndy— Youth Employment System Indy Reengagement Centers-YES Indy REC ($175,000)
- Indiana Black Expo—Re-engagement through the arts ($75,000)
- Martin Luther King Center—Comprehensive opportunity youth services ($50,000)
- Groundwork Indy—In-school Green Team at Arsenal Tech High School ($50,000)
- Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program—scaling program evaluation ($50,000)
Engagement programs for opportunity youth are relatively new, and each program takes a different approach. Establishing a collaborative will help focus efforts and identify best practices across organizations. The five organizations in the collaborative will convene regularly to exchange learnings, enhance partnerships, leverage resources and optimize programs. Additionally, CICF has committed to funding technical support to the collaborative to develop shared and measurable outcomes.
The Opportunity Youth Collaborative marks the first grant awarded by the Community Leadership Innovation Fund. The Fund advisors will award a significant grant annually in support of unique solutions to a current, pressing issue in Central Indiana. Advisors represent both Marion and Hamilton counties and commit their personal dollars to this effort.