The Christian Theological Seminary Faith & Action Project has awarded grants totaling $105,000 for four efforts aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty in Indianapolis. $5,000 was awarded to Marian Faith Community Nursing. Marian University’s Leighton School of Nursing will use its $5,000 grant for Marian Family and Community Nursing, an effort to provide ten $500 scholarships to neighborhood communities of faith so each can send one registered nurse to train as a Faith Community Nurse. A specialty nursing practice recognized by the American Nurses Association, Faith Community Nurses – also known as parish nurses – use their expertise to enhance health and wellness within their communities of faith. By equipping faith communities to support nurses in becoming Faith Community Nurses, Marian Family and Community Nursing aims to help congregations reduce health and wellness disparities and improve health outcomes.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church was awarded $35,000. Through its 4:8 Fund, Redeemer Presbyterian Church will use its $35,000 Faith & Action Grant to increase access to mental health services to people of color. Named for Philippians 4:8 (which encourages Christ followers to focus on things that are noble and right), the 4:8 Fund will use the grant to eliminate barriers to mental health services by providing scholarships to people of color seeking mental health services, facilitating sessions at places convenient to clients, pairing clients with counselors of color, and making the language and experience of counseling as accessible and comfortable as possible.
$25,000 was awarded to Shepherd Community Center. With its grant of $25,000, Shepherd Community Center will expand its collection and evaluation of data related to its poverty-alleviation work and improve its service-delivery systems. Shepherd is collaborating in a research project currently underway at IUPUI that will result in a replicable, evidence-based approach to place-based poverty alleviation. The expectation is that the research results will support real-time program-delivery decisions to maximize impact for families. In addition, the improved documentation of the effectiveness of Shepherd’s model and interventions will support the development of proven approaches to poverty alleviation that can be shared and scaled in other communities.
Trusted Mentors was awarded $40,000. Trusted Mentors will use its $40,000 Faith & Action Grant to support and expand its mentoring program that helps adults and young adults avoid or emerge from homelessness. The funds will provide necessary staffing to recruit, train, and support mentors and maintain relationships with partnering agencies in an effort to help 80 participating adults and young adults end the cycle of poverty. By helping individuals enhance their networks of supportive relationships, the project seeks to support them in developing their gifts, overcoming challenges, and becoming stable and contributing members of the community.
“The organizations receiving 2022 Faith & Action Grant have recognized that we will eliminate poverty only by attacking its root cause, not by simply providing short-term relief,” said Faith & Action Director Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch. “Whether it’s through mental health services, personal-network development, mentoring, or other similar efforts, these organizations are offering replicable models for moving people from perpetual poverty to long-term stability.”
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 holds communitywide events and attracts national poverty experts to Central Indiana. The Faith & Action Project will continue its push for poverty mitigation with its Sept. 29 Faith & Action Fall Event, which this year features a keynote address by and moderated conversation with one of the nation’s leading voices in the fight for social justice, Poor People’s Campaign Co-Chair Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.