Reflecting on 2023 with Lorenzo Esters, President of The Indianapolis Foundation

Reflections from 2023

Dr. Lorenzo L. Esters, President, The Indianapolis Foundation

Dr. Lorenzo L. Esters

The beginning of 2024 coincides with my first six months as president of The Indianapolis Foundation. Above all, I have deep appreciation for our amazing and committed staff and the many donors and community partners who work closely together in our pursuit of racial equity and economic opportunity for all, especially the many not-for-profits undertaking incredible projects to make Marion County a great place to live, work and play.

Let me take this moment to reflect on the progress we have made in 2023.


In 2023, The Indianapolis Foundation awarded 117 grants totaling more than $5 million to organizations addressing the root causes of inequitable systems, focusing on building better and brighter communities throughout Indianapolis. The application for the first round of funding in 2024 is now open. Find out more.


Through our partnership with the City of Indianapolis, The Indianapolis Foundation has awarded $ 25.6 million to 160 grantees through The Elevation Grant Program, a violence reduction initiative. The application for the fifth round of funding is now open. Learn more about eligibility and requirements.


In 2023, the Housing to Recovery Fund expanded its case management and supportive services to nearly 200 newly housed youth and adults. This includes previously unsheltered, chronically homeless individuals struggling with disabling conditions such as severe mental illness, substance use disorder, or a physical disability. We raised an additional $2.5 million in 2023, bringing the total raised to more than $7 million since 2019.

The Indianapolis Foundation worked with leadership from Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) to garner support in raising an additional $10.5 million over the next three years to scale the Housing to Recovery Fund and its proven outcomes. The program of extensive wrap-around services has resulted in outcomes that are keeping 98% of participants housed for more than two years, 76% of the participants obtaining health insurance and 68% of the participants attending behavioral health, primary care appointments, and addiction counseling at least once per year. Additionally, police runs and criminal justice involvement by participants is decreasing by more than 75%.


In 2023, The Library Fund granted over $1.2 million to Marion County libraries to support innovative community programs, up-to-date and culturally relevant books and technology upgrades in high school media centers, and professional development opportunities for librarians to ensure best practices in library science to meet community needs. The application for The Library Fund’s competitive grant cycle will open on Jan. 16. Learn more about eligibility and requirements.


In 2023, scholarship funds that fall under The Indianapolis Foundation awarded $216,500 to 27 students. Of these totals, The Indianapolis Foundation Scholarship Fund awarded $141,000 to 14 students. The scholarship application is now open and closes on Feb. 1. Learn more.


Through multiple feedback sessions with community-based organizations, The Indianapolis Foundation revised our funding application, grant reporting process and equity rubric to build trust and promote more equitable access to funding based on community needs.


More than 1,400 MVMT10K accounts were created in 2023, tripling the number of accounts on the platform. Additionally, a much-anticipated app feature, Works of Equity, was developed and released in partnership with Haystack, a local Black-owned software development company.


More than 65,000 youth participated in summer programming supported by the Summer Youth Program Fund (SYPF). The Indianapolis Foundation co-founded SYPF in 1996, and each year, it grants more than $350,000 to support summer programs. Our investment was combined with grants from eight other funders to provide $3.3 million to more than 220 programs in 2023. Find out more about the Summer Youth Program Fund.


The Indianapolis Foundation, through its Neighborhood Empowerment Pathways initiative, is steadfast in supporting BIPOC-led grassroots organizations in Marion County, providing resources, workshops, training, consulting, and other assistance to strengthen organizational infrastructure, enabling them to deliver vital programs and services. In 2023, we partnered with PARTEC Consulting for 19 workshops and training sessions, engaging over 480 participants. These efforts reflect our ongoing commitment to fostering growth, collaboration and empowerment in the local BIPOC-led grassroots not-for-profit sector. Learn more about Neighborhood Empowerment Pathways.


The Indianapolis Immigrant Legal Services Fund provides equitable access to legal support and representation to immigrant Hoosiers in Marion County and prioritizes grants for organizations that provide immigration services.

We’re happy to announce that Immigrant Legal Services Fund doubled the number of organizations funded from the previous year – allocating nearly $350,000 to six community organizations. Find out more about The Indianapolis Immigrant Legal Services Fund.

Thank you for being a valuable part of a beautiful 2023!

We are just as excited to work with you in 2024 as we continue to lead with love, hope and an unwavering commitment to this place we call home.

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