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2023 Faith & Action Grant Recipients

Addressing poverty is long-term work. We have witnessed this firsthand through the work of the Faith & Action Grant recipients over the years, organizations that meet individuals facing intergenerational poverty where they are, walk with them in their journeys, and equip them with skills that provide access to stability.

For the 2023 Faith & Action Grant recipients, this work is done in a variety of ways, from helping high schoolers get college credit to providing training and work to women, and from keeping watch over eviction court judges to increasing mental health services for LGBTQ+ youth and giving respite to people experiencing homelessness. While the approaches vary, they carry a number of common denominators, including the belief that forging real relationships with low-income families is integral to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Launched in 2016, the Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary is supported by the Mike and Sue Smith Family Fund and Pettigrew Fund as a multiyear effort to help reduce poverty in Indianapolis. Awarding annual grants to community organizations provides an avenue for furthering CTS’s mission to bring God’s love, justice, and life-affirming message to the world and bring about meaningful change.

This July, the Faith & Action Project awarded grants totaling $105,000 to five efforts aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty in Indianapolis. The Faith & Action Grant committee was inspired to receive a number of proposals that reflected applicants’ passion and enthusiasm for their work. With clear goals and objectives, measurable results, records of success, and stories demonstrating their impact, the chosen recipients rose above a crowd of solid proposals.

“In their own unique ways, these organizations are effectively attacking poverty through a collaborative and holistic framework,” said Faith & Action Director Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch. “At the same time, they’re pioneering and modeling approaches that we believe can be copied and scaled up to impact more people living in poverty in other communities.”

The 2023 grant recipients are:

  • $20,000 to Elevate Indianapolis to support the launch of the Indianapolis-IPS College Core Pipeline. This partnership with IPS and Ivy Tech Community College will serve marginalized 9th to 12th graders as they complete Indiana College Core Program requirements. Students will earn 30 hours of dual-credit college-level coursework that transfers to all public colleges and universities in the state, saving up to $10,000 in college tuition and launching “a trajectory away from generational poverty toward purpose, prosperity and contribution.” Elevate’s 24-7 mentorship model will help participants overcome challenges, achieve educational goals, and develop socially and emotionally.
  • $20,000 to Heart Change to expand the Gift of Work program by adding a new product line to Heart Change’s social enterprise business, which gives women coming from intergenerational poverty jobs-skills training while also paying them a fair wage and surrounding them with supports and positive relationships. The expanded program will prepare two of the participants for supervisory roles, equipping them to serve as supervisors and trainers at Heart Change. The ultimate goal is for the new product line to become self-sustaining – like Heart Change’s original product line – and provide a livable-wage job for women involved in Heart Change.
  • $15,000 to Greater Indianapolis Multifaith Alliance (GIMA) to expand the Eviction Court Watch teams and expand GIMA’s lobbying efforts for the next Indiana General Assembly. With a focus on promoting equitable housing and ending Indy’s eviction crisis, GIMA will expand and systemize a cohort of congregation-based court watchers who keep an eye on Indy’s eviction court judges, who wield enormous power to affect families but who, in many cases, operate with little compassion or grace. The grant also will help to enhance GIMA’s lobbying efforts by supporting the engagement of a firm that can help inform policymakers about equitable-housing issues.
  • $20,000 to Indiana Youth Group (IYG) to double their mental health services and case management support to address the unique stressors, issues, and needs of LGBTQ+ individuals and help low-income LGBTQ youth navigate the system of community resources and supports. Often LGBTQ+ youth find themselves trying to access services and programs without essential documents that are withheld by parents as a form of punishment or disownment. Left adrift, these youth find it nearly impossible to apply for services, enroll in school, apply for a job, or enroll in a high school equivalency program – a state of affairs that puts them on a short path to poverty.
  • $30,000 to West Morris Church for the opening of the Westside New Day Center (WNDC). Westside New Day Center will support more than 30 neighbors experiencing homelessness and connect them to case management, housing, employment-skills training, healthcare services, and other wrap-around services. A key component of the program will be offering a place of respite, resource, and rejuvenation where basic needs are met and hope can flourish. The grant will help with the cost of developing the space and installing needed plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems that will give neighbors access to showers, laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, computer access, and more.

Congratulations again to the 2023 Faith & Action Grant Recipients. For a listing of past recipients and details about their work, click here.