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The Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary has awarded grants totaling $130,000 for five efforts aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty in Indianapolis.

The 2021 grant recipients follow.

  • $25,000 to Brookside Community Development Corporation. The Brookside CDC will use its grant funding to expand its Education and Employment Academy’s workforce development, mentoring and academic-support programs that prepare Neat Eastside youth for success in school and the working world. Through afterschool programs for 12-19-year-olds, the Academy helps young people overcome or avoid poverty through leadership development, academic support and exposure to career opportunities. Some of the funds will support the hiring of a Workforce Coach, who will cultivate community partnerships that benefit the students and teach workforce development skills, while funding also will allow Brookside CDC to contract with community partners who provide complementary services that will help students improve their ability to succeed in school and in work. Remaining funds would be used to purchase equipment needed for the operations of CDC programs.
  • $25,000 to Elevate Indianapolis. With its Faith & Action Grant support, Elevate Indianapolis will build on its “No one gets there alone” mantra by ensuring that more Indianapolis youth have access to the program’s trained Teacher-Mentors. The funds will help to leverage relationships with Indianapolis Public Schools, Shepherd Community Center, Marian University, Saint Joseph’s College, and The Creek Church, and to support such activities as college search and application processes, vision trips and career fairs, soft-skills development and more. With an emphasis on hiring staff who come from similar backgrounds of the students they serve with experience overcoming socioeconomic, systemic and cultural barriers, Elevate Indianapolis helps students succeed in the classroom and see greater opportunities ahead.
  • $30,000 to Outreach. Outreach will use its Faith & Action Grant funding to support the opening of satellite program centers that serve additional youth and young adults experiencing homelessness or housing instability around the city. Working in partnership with churches and other community organizations, Outreach will open these satellites near high schools and in areas identified as having greater numbers of youth without secure housing. The Faith & Action funding will help meet immediate and basic needs including transportation, food and clothing. Funds also will support the development of mentor relationships and contribute to salaries for coaches who work one-on-one with the youth, help them access social services and guide them in developing education, employment and housing goals.
  • $25,000 to You Yes You. Seeking to break the cycle of poverty that becomes imbedded in too many families as a result of incarceration, You Yes You connects fathers to their families and fills gaps in services for them and their children. Launched with a 2014 father-daughter dance that took place inside a correctional facility, You Yes You has expanded in part at the request of the Indiana Department of Correction. With its Faith & Action Grant support, You Yes You will expand programs outside prison walls to provide services for self-discovery, mental health, literacy, nutrition, financial literacy and more, all with an emphasis on strengthening connections within families and building up the capabilities of incarcerated and post-incarcerated parents and their children.
  • $25,000 to Lutheran Child and Family Services—Pando Aspen Grove. Lutheran Child and Family Services will use its Faith & Action Grant to support the addition of a Peer Support Specialist lived experience to its team at Pando Aspen Grove, a supporting housing initiative that provides homes and support services to homeless youth who have “aged out” of the welfare/foster child-care system. The Peer Support Specialist will be a Certified Recovery Specialist with peer supporting training who can help to ensure that program participants remain in housing for a full year, engage in supportive services from partner organizations, create individual success plans for academic and employment goals, and make progress toward those goals. Through these objectives, Lutheran Child and Family Services seeks to help participants avoid the decent into poverty that so often afflicts housing-insecure youth, a disproportionate number of whom are African American and LGBTQ/gender-diverse.

“Each of the 2021 Faith & Action Grant recipients have recognized that we make the greatest strides against poverty though collaboration and by focusing on poverty’s root causes,” said Faith & Action Director Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch. “Through their work, we see that compassion does its greatest work when it seeks innovative solutions to large-scale problems rather than quick fixes.”

Launched in 2016, the Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary is supported by the Mike and Sue Smith Family Fund and Lumina Foundation as a multiyear effort to help reduce poverty in Indianapolis. In addition to providing grants, the Faith & Action Project has held communitywide events and attracted national poverty experts to Central Indiana.