Take your commitment to building our InclusiveCity to the next level.
FOR ALL. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our nation is rooted in high aspirations. But, today, many Americans are acknowledging a hard truth: The values that formed our nation have not always applied to ALL people.
People of color, women and girls, people with different abilities, immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others continue to wish, ask, demand—yet still wait—for America’s high aspirations to become their lived experience.
In 2013, the Equality of Opportunity Project was issued by Raj Chetty, a Harvard Economist. The report sounded an alarm that rang throughout the country, within our collective and among our partners at the City of Indianapolis, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Indy Chamber, and others. THIS IS WHAT WE LEARNED:
- Indianapolis ranked 47 out of the 50 largest cities in America for upward economic mobility. In our community, the data revealed that a child born into the bottom 20th percentile for household income has only a 4.8 percent chance to reach the top 20th percentile. For children of color, it’s half that. If you’re born poor in Indianapolis, the chances of you remaining poor are highly likely—and virtually guaranteed if you are Black or Latinx.
- While race is a significant determinant of access to opportunity, there are intersecting issues—geography (place), gender and sexual orientation (identity), ethnicity and immigration status—that also factor into a neighbor’s access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
- The inequities we face are not just in the urban core. In our wealthiest suburbs, food insecurity and affordable housing are real issues, and inclusive economic growth is a real need. There are 41 food pantries in Hamilton County and more than 15 percent of youth qualify for free and reduced lunch in schools across the county. Internet and broadband access is not standard in the rural portions of our communities, making access to information and education out or reach for many. And life expectancy in Hamilton County’s wealthier southern urban-adjacent cities is higher than in its more rural northern towns.
- Also, we know that wherever inequities are found they are complicated by gender. For instance, a 2017 study found that for every $1 a Central Indiana man made in 2017, a Central Indiana woman made 79 cents. Latinx women in our community made 53 percent of what the average man made. Black women made 58 percent. For White women, it was 76 percent. And Asian women in Central Indiana earned 85 percent of what the average man made. This gender pay gap makes it harder for women who are primary breadwinners to support their families so that they thrive.
This data was corroborated for our boards and staff in 2017 as we heard firsthand stories and learned of lived experiences directly from a trained group of 38 community ambassadors who amassed thousands of data points from community residents across Marion and Hamilton counties.
Then in 2020, enduring systemic inequities were laid bare for all to see. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged how Americans access education, employment, health care, transportation, and housing, with our most vulnerable neighbors feeling the worst of the pain—seniors, residents without health insurance or sick days, health care workers, hourly employees who have lost work, communities of color, those with limited English proficiency and economically vulnerable populations. Our ambassadors connected us directly to these neighbors fighting to survive and made clear those neighbors’ remarkable gifts of kindness, grit, front-line service and innovation in finding solutions when systems in place offer nothing but empty promises. Their gifts have been ignored for far too long.
And, as the country struggled to respond to the threat of coronavirus, our broader society finally began naming another “pandemic” that has festered in America since its founding—the scourge of systemic and structural racism.
Today, we are at a tipping point—a precipice of possibility or further despair. But what if we committed ourselves to be the most equitable and inclusive region in America?
Just imagine what an economic and cultural powerhouse Central Indiana would be if hundreds of thousands more of our children and adults were reaching their full potential and thriving. There would be more revenue for quality of life and beautiful public spaces. There would be more economic development, more successful entrepreneurs, lower taxes and lower crime rates. Imagine if Central Indiana was the most successful community in America in creating equitable opportunity for all its residents.
The time is now to decide whether we will give in and give up—or seize the opportunity to create new realities, new solutions, new opportunities—whether we will make the principles enshrined in America’s founding documents, at last, true FOR ALL in our community.
Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), The Indianapolis Foundation, Hamilton County Community Foundation and Women’s Fund of Central Indiana are a $1 billion collective of philanthropic organizations with a shared mission:
To mobilize people, ideas and investments to make this a community where all individuals have equitable opportunity to reach their full potential—no matter place, race or identity.
We do this by providing grants to not-for-profits doing good work in our communities; helping philanthropists invest in the causes that matter most to them; and through intentional community leadership that seizes opportunities and targets intractable challenges, such as persistent societal inequity.
We work alongside Central Indiana communities every day to make good on America’s noble aspirations.
Our deliberate actions to address issues of inequity and a lack of upward mobility have fundamentally changed who we are and how we engage with the community. We are doing more than making grants to drive change; we are leading initiatives and projects to create specific outcomes that benefit those suffering most. We are aligning with residents and community partners to make sure that equitable policies, practices and procedures are created and—most importantly—are implemented. We are working each day to include voices and people whose lived experiences are representative of the communities we serve. We are committed to learning and to listening. We are dedicated to sharing power and influence.
Most importantly, we are coming to you—the Central Indiana community at large—to ask you to join us in this movement. We can’t do it alone. No one can. Yet, collectively—which is the essential premise of philanthropy—we are stronger, have more will, and drive change faster and more significantly than if we do things alone.
The Time is Now.
Together, our foundations—with other partners, fundholders and communities—will come together to build a stronger and more equitable Central Indiana—FOR ALL.
Join us to advance equity—AND your philanthropy
The Time is Now campaign is a great opportunity for you to become our partner in advancing equitable opportunity for all—no matter place, race or identity—and for us to become your partner in helping you achieve your personal or corporate philanthropic goals. There are three ways for you to get involved in this work with us:
Equity Partners is a group of individuals and organizations committed to supporting our community leadership infrastructure and internal capacity. Equity Partners provide the financial support needed to hire employees and contract consultants to build relationships and partnerships, raise money and manage complex projects and change inequitable systems over the long term. These donors receive unique benefits, including invitations to events and opportunities to hear from speakers and community leaders about advancements in our initiatives.
We will collectively recruit and engage at least 10,000 people across the community over the next three years. Participants will engage in racial equity work, commit to anti-racist actions, and make works of equity a life’s practice.
We plan to launch the platform in the fall of 2022. Fill out the form below to be among the first to know when we launch—and for the opportunity to preview the experience and give feedback prior to officially launching. Learn more.
Numerous projects and strategies within our community leadership initiatives are underway. While our foundations are committed to investing millions of dollars in over two dozen projects and strategies, they require community-wide investment. We need other individual donors and institutional funders to support and co-invest in these efforts, accelerate progress and truly make lasting change.
There are numerous projects and strategies within our initiatives that are underway and require community-wide investment.
Whether you’ve already on a charitable planning journey or are just getting started, let us guide you today. Our foundations are the leading community resource for charitable vehicles that enhance personal and corporate giving, allowing you to build your own legacy by supporting the causes that matter most to you. The various philanthropic products that we offer not only organize your philanthropy and provide the greatest tax advantages possible but enable you to maximize knowledge on and connectivity to virtually every organization in the charitable sector in our region. From donor-advised funds for individuals, families and businesses, scholarship funds and community-wide endowment funds to planned giving vehicles and estate planning, we have tools, products, and concierge support services to personalize your charitable giving at any level. Learn more and get started.