Inaugural Issue

Faith & Action Project e-news

Inaugural Issue: November 3, 2016

Welcome to the Faith & Action newsletter
We’ve created this newsletter to keep you updated about the progress and connections we’re making in our efforts to reverse the poverty growth trends in our community. Each month, we’ll share updates on Faith & Action programs, and poverty insights and data from our community, the nation and the world. However, as we share these words with you, please understand that we see them not as an outcome of our effort, but, rather, as a means to an end. As we say in our guiding principles, “It’s time for action, not only talk”. Certainly, conversation is a part of what will help to turn the poverty tide, but only if it inspires real action. Let’s get to work. In a community where the general poverty rate (21 percent) and child poverty rate (32 percent) both are above the national averages, the time for action is now. Thank you for joining this effort.

Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project

Event Recap

Thank you to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, New York Times op-ed columnist and author David Brooks, NPR host Tavis Smiley, and everyone who attended the Sept. 29 kickoff event, “Poverty, equality and opportunity: What’s a community to do?” A full house at Clowes Memorial Hall enjoyed a frank, passionate conversation about poverty and its root causes.

Comments from media thought leaders David Brooks and Tavis Smiley combined with powerful opening remarks from Mayor Hogsett to launch our effort to reverse the poverty growth trends that are eroding our community.

The evening’s many highlights ranged from a conversation about the need for a more humane, loving approach to social services to a discussion of the role of faith in the fight against poverty.

Some big-picture takeaways:

  1. The model we’ve used since the 1960s has failed. Those with power and money cannot fix this alone. We need a community-wide, multi-sector effort with creative collaboration and boots on the ground.
  2. It took a long time to get to this point; we won’t fix this overnight.
  3. One root cause of our challenges is increasing social isolation.
  4. Love is a word – and a powerful force – that should not be relegated to the private sphere alone, or to the spiritual aspect of life alone. It has an indispensable place in public life and meaningful social change.  Programs don’t change lives – relationships change lives.
  5. We must recognize the difference between charity and social justice, and ensure justice is available to all.
  6. Faith has a crucial role to play. Faith communities are places where the language of love is alive and well. At their best, faith communities also carry the moral credibility and local knowledge to guide efforts with power and wisdom.

Much was said to help us identify and address possible solutions, but much remains to be discovered and understood. This event isn’t a one-time conversation; it is instead the launch of a framework for generating collaborative relationships and lasting solutions.

Check out this video of the evening’s highlights our partners at WFYI created here.

A sampling of #FaithandActionProject tweets at the kickoff event:

There's a highway into poverty, but barely a sidewalk out.

You can't lead people unless you love and you can't save people if you don't serve.

What does our collective and individual conscience say to us tonight? I accept the need for an aggressive cry for justice that's going to make us uncomfortable.

Programs don't turn around lives. It's relationships. And love.

Anti-poverty efforts are like nutrition. You have to hit it with everything you've got.

Equality and equity aren’t the same thing.

Respect for dignity, sanctity and humanity of black life is losing ground by every economic indicator.

Whatever happened to notion of love in the public discourse? That everybody is worthy, just because.

Working poor. I hate that term. If you are working, you ought to not be poor.

The best way to transform lives is spiritual, not just professing reasons why you should change.

What's the difference between impolite behavior & protest? Is this just academic semantics?

The American Revolution was incredibly impolite. The Declaration of Independence is a radical document.

Stable attachments from 18 months old can determine grad rates. Personal connections as babies help determine success.

You don't serve the poor for them. You serve them for God.

What's Next?

The Faith & Action Project is a convener that points toward solutions. We facilitate discussion that can inspire faith communities and civic groups to develop new initiatives or build on existing work to reverse the growing poverty trend.

To that end, here’s how you can help:

  1. Spread the word. Take what you gleaned from last month’s event and share it with your networks.
  2. If you missed the event, call someone who was there. Have lunch or grab coffee and get their impressions of the evening and the work that can be done.
  3. Invite others to get involved. Forward this e-newsletter to friends and encourage them to sign up for future issues.
  4. Target organizations that you know are engaged in anti-poverty efforts. Make sure they know about the program, and encourage them to participate.
  5. Start thinking about new collaborations that could ignite new energy and opportunities for existing anti-poverty efforts. It’s not too soon to start working on grant ideas!
  6. Beginning in 2017, the Faith & Action Project will fund awards of $50,000, $20,000 and $10,000 to promising, innovative and replicable projects. Guidelines for applying for a Faith & Action Project award and additional information on core values and the application process will be shared in the next Faith & Action Project newsletter.


Unacceptable Fact of the Month
Between 2005 and 2013, Indianapolis saw one of the nation’s largest increases in the percentage of children living in poverty, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Upcoming Mark your calendar for these important dates.

February 9

Award application available online

March 14

All-day Faith & Action Conference at Christian Theological Seminary
(a must for grant applicants)

March 16

Faith & Action Award application info session 5 pm – 7 pm

May 1

Project profiles due for grants


Grant applications due


Grant recipients announced

Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary 1000 W. 42nd Street | Indianapolis, IN 46208
Phone: (317) 931-2336  |  Fax: (317) 923-1961  |  Email:  |  Web:

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