The Indianapolis Foundation-City-Cummins partnership helps strengthen neighborhoods, not-for-profits and residents with $3M, three-year investment

Neighborhood Empowerment Pathways effort centers BIPOC residents and grassroots organizations

The Indianapolis Foundation has launched Neighborhood Empowerment Pathways, a three-year, $3 million partnership with Cummins, Inc. and The City of Indianapolis to sustain grassroots not-for-profits that are closest to the community’s assets and challenges, and through their proximity, uniquely positioned to supply solutions and seize opportunities. The partnership makes possible trainings, such as Executive Mindset, Strategic Planning for Grassroots and Community-Based Organizations, and Developing an Organizational Budget, that help strengthen participating organizations’ infrastructure and support advancing their priorities. This skills-building and shared learning will also be supported with mini-grants that allow not-for-profits to close gaps in infrastructure while learning. The effort also features community convenings that bring organizations and communities together to organize, share solutions and strategize around collective action.

“This work is rooted in the foundation’s equity mission and belief in anti-racism.”

Pamela Ross

Pamela Ross

“The goal of this collaboration is not typical capacity-building,” says Pamela Ross, vice president of community leadership and equitable initiatives for The Indianapolis Foundation. “This work is rooted in the foundation’s equity mission and belief in anti-racism. Our primary target is to honor and support the agency and assets of Black and Brown residents and neighborhoods in Indianapolis.”

A report by Echoing Green revealed that Black- and Latinx-led not-for-profits receive significantly less funding and support than their White-led peers, resulting in people most impacted by structural inequity, closest to community voice, and uniquely positioned to find solutions to challenges, with fewer resources to do their work. Ross says the new collaborative takes aim at addressing this inequity.

Neighborhood Empowerment Pathways prioritizes organizations with yearly operating budgets of $250,000 and under that are led by Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC). It also harnesses the expertise of people of color to lead convenings and trainings. Learning opportunities are guided by Partec Consulting Group, a Black-woman owned company skilled in community work and change-making, and leverage the knowledge of residents, organizers and other skilled professionals.

“Nobody knows a neighborhood better than the neighbors themselves.”

“Through this partnership, Cummins wanted to build a program to help smaller, Black-led neighborhood organizations that provide essential community services. We think this innovative partnership will do just that,” says Mary Titsworth Chandler, vice president of community relations at Cummins Inc.

Mayor Joe Hogsett

“Nobody knows a neighborhood better than the neighbors themselves,” says Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Neighborhood Empowerment Pathways is a critical way the city can uplift and equip those who know best.”

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