August 2017

Faith & Action Project e-news

August 2017

Lessons learned


Fact of the Month
From 2010 to 2015, the percentage of households in Indiana deemed to be food insecure (meaning that “at some point during the year, they experienced difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of money or other resources”) increased steadily, from 13.0 in 2010 to 14.8 in 2015.


When the Faith & Action Project began, we knew organizations in central Indiana were doing innovative and important work to turn back poverty. We anticipated that we would receive grant proposals that impressed and inspired us. And we expected that offering grants to only a few organizations would be difficult.

And still, we were overwhelmed by the power of the proposals we received: proposals filled with creativity and hope…proposals built on a fundamental compassion and desire to make a difference… proposals driven by a belief that this battle could be won.

As we reviewed the 54 initial proposals and 14 finalists, we also were affirmed in our initial belief that extraordinary and effective work already is being done, and some of that work has the potential to generate even greater impact if it can increase its scale.

On the other hand, we also saw some missed opportunities. We did not see as much collaboration among nonprofits and faith communities as we had hoped, or as much interfaith partnering as we had envisioned. However, we did not view these missed opportunities with disappointment, but, rather, with a sense that there is potential for even greater impact in the future.

It is our hope that the Faith & Action Project helps this year’s six grant recipients make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty. We hope that the Project also will inspire more collaboration, more interfaith partnerships, and, on a broader scale, a greater engagement in the social justice issues that surround us all. That will help us create a foundation for ongoing and unlimited possibility.


Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project

Grant Recipients Announced

This week, the Faith & Action Project announced the organizations that will receive the first round of Faith & Action grants. Six proposals will be funded, for a total of $125,000 in grants.

The recipients are:

  • Goodwill’s New Beginnings: $25,000 to fund a six-month transitional jobs programs for formerly incarcerated persons.
  • Purposeful Design: $25,000 for its program to teach woodworking and job-readiness to men emerging from addiction or homelessness, while providing job mentoring and discipleship.
  • Edna Martin Christian Center, American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis and Eastern Star Church: $25,000 to assist families by increasing the number of stable households within the 46218 zip code.
  • Broadway United Methodist Church: $20,000 for a program aimed at improving families’ economic mobility.
  • Trinity Episcopal Church: $20,000 for Trinity House, which will offer a safe environment for 16-to-21-year-old people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
  • School on Wheels: $10,000 for a program that helps families recover from the impact of recent homelessness by providing post-shelter education services.

Grant recipients were chosen from among 54 initial proposals and from 14 finalists who were asked to submit more complete proposals. Grant recipients will be recognized at the Faith & Action fall event on November 8th, 2017.

Investing in Success

Massachusetts is using an innovative approach to workforce-preparation funding. The state is asking investors to foot the bill for programs helping immigrants get good jobs—and then repaying the investors with interest if the programs achieve certain metrics.

In a model known as “pay for success,” investors provide funding for programs that assist people trying to improve their lives. If the programs meet defined metrics—such as post-secondary enrollment and increased earnings–the investors are repaid with interest.

The Massachusetts program announced in June it had attracted $12.43 million in equity capital to help people with limited English skills improve their employment prospects and therefore avoid the economic challenges that come with poor employment. Forty investors participated, including Prudential Financial, whose head of impact investment said, “How do you solve for one of the biggest issues in the economy right now? You have very low unemployment but you have got substantial population that are underemployed.”

"MA Pathways represents an important step forward in the evolution of outcomes-based financing. For the first time, we are measuring success in terms of gains in employment productivity and not just savings to the government," Kimberlee Cornett, managing director of the Kresge Foundation’s social investment practice told Philanthropy News Digest "Through this program, people who came to this country seeking a better life will gain important skills that will help them support their families and be more productive workers in the community."

Institutional Investor highlighted the program in a July 6 article.

A Negative Tax?

Last year, as the presidential candidates were rolling out their economic proposals and tax plans, economist Martin Feldstein championed a controversial tax plan that would benefit the poor: a negative income tax that would give households the amount they need to remain above the poverty level. As their incomes rise, their subsidies would decline until, at a certain level, they once again would begin paying a “positive” tax. Read more about his perspective and plan here.

Worth Reading

A Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby Payne. Originally published in 1995, Payne’s book quickly became a sensation, especially in the educational community. Its core premise is that people in generational poverty see and experience the world differently and therefore have a set of values not readily acceptable to wealthier people. Truly assisting people who live in generational poverty requires an understanding of their views and values, Payne suggests. While Payne and the book have proven to be controversial to some, Payne’s thesis has been accepted by a wide number of people engaged in the fight against poverty.

Upcoming Mark your calendar for this important date.
Nov. 8, 7-9 PM

Fall Event, details coming in September.


Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary 1000 W. 42nd Street | Indianapolis, IN 46208
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