Central Indiana Racial Equity Fund Awards $860,000 to Organizations; Establishes Scholarship Fund for Individuals Impacted by Criminal Justice System

Central Indiana Racial Equity Fund (CIREF) has awarded $860,000 in grants to eight Black-led not-for-profit organizations working to advance racial equity in Indianapolis and its surrounding counties, in its second and final round of grant-making. Grants will support capacity-building and scaling up strategies for career training, mentorship, and justice-focused programs.

CIREF steering committee co-chair, Jasmin Shaheed-Young, says, “Our goal in this grant round was to mitigate disparities we know exist in philanthropy, while giving high-performing not-for-profits the support they need to address community issues.” Both Black-led organizations and non-Black-led organizations working in partnerships with Black-led organizations were eligible to apply for funding in this round.

Shaheed-Young says that the CIREF steering committee is keenly aware of the disparities in revenue, unrestricted assets and philanthropic funding to Black-led organizations. For instance, Black-led not-for-profits have 76 percent fewer unrestricted assets than similar institutions led by White professionals, according to a report by The Bridgespan Group. That gap in funding often leaves organizations under-resourced that have the best relationships and knowledge to maximize community assets and address critical issues.

CIREF supports organizations seeking to improve interactions between the Black community and local police in Indianapolis; addressing the disproportionate number of Black youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system by providing positive alternatives for education and employment; and increasing employment, health and wealth opportunities for communities of color.


support for capacity building
Bloom Project, Inc. group mentoring and workshops to promote character development, professional development, emotional intelligence, civic engagement, and cultural competency  $75,000 
Center for Wellness for Urban Women   programs and services to address clients’ physical, mental and emotional health  $75,000 
Educational Destinations   programs to ensure African American post-incarcerated male veterans equal access to resources supporting their return to the community  $75,000 
Indianapolis Freedom School Partnership, Inc.  educational support programming during summer and out-of-school time for children in low-income, primarily Black communities  $25,000 
Stop the Violence Indianapolis, Inc.  violence and drug/alcohol prevention programming for justice-involved youth  $75,000 
Use What You’ve Got Prison Ministry – Keeping Families Connected  transportation for prison visits and other support services to help incarcerated people and their families maintain relationships  $25,000 
support for Scaling up programming




Edna Martin Christian Center/ Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corporation/ Stop the Violence Indianapolis, Inc. training, counseling and other support services to help individuals become competitive in the career and college sectors $300,000
Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center at Crooked Creek  workforce development programming and career coaching  $210,000 

In its first funding round, CIREF awarded $519,500 in grants last fall to 11 not-for-profit organizations working to advance racial equity in Indianapolis and its surrounding counties.  

Pathways for Families Impacted by the Criminal Justice System 

One in three adults in America has criminal records, according to the Ford Foundation. Justice-involvement can lead to diminished well-being, opportunities and economic mobility, especially for already vulnerable populations.  

“The CIREF Steering Committee wanted to leave a legacy that supported justice-involved individuals and their families in their efforts to rebuild, while also helping to address economic mobility in Indianapolis,” says co-chair, Darryl Lockett.  

The remaining CIREF funds (approximately $800,000) will be used to establish scholarships benefiting families impacted by the criminal justice system. Scholarships are expected to cover costs associated with completing the GED/HSE, certifications, and vocational, technical, two- and four-year degrees. The scholarship fund will be administered by the Central Indianapolis Community Foundation. Scholarship details and application information will be released to the public in the fall. 

Learn more about Central Indiana Racial Equity Fund

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