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Faith & Action Project Celebrates Five Years

In response to the alarming rates of poverty in Indianapolis, which remain far above the national averages, CTS’s Faith & Action Project launched in 2015 to ignite a collaborative, interfaith, and inclusive movement for well-being and justice in the Indianapolis community. This year, the Project celebrates five years of impactful and transformative work as it looks ahead to the future.

Over the past five years, Faith & Action Project Director Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch said a significant lesson learned is “that solutions to poverty require a multi-sector, holistic and collaborative approach.” She explained, “individuals facing poverty have many obstacles that can only be overcome with a network of support and access to affordable and safe housing, reliable and affordable nutrition, a livable wage, affordable healthcare, and a quality education.”

The Faith & Action Project is designed around an annual grant cycle and two annual public events. Through its grant program, the Project seeks to support and accelerate the most effective local poverty-fighting organizations and initiatives. While poverty relief efforts are critically important to meet the immediate needs of so many in our communities, the Faith & Action Project seeks to lift up those who are implementing solutions that help move individuals and families out of poverty entirely.

Five years in, the Project has distributed more than $400,000 in grants as a part of this annual program. A list of past recipients can be found here. These grants have supported wide-ranging efforts that include the construction of affordable senior and inter-generational facilities, a multi-pronged plan for affordable housing and economic opportunity, and job training and trade apprenticeships. Learn more about of the recent grant recipients:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Faith & Action Project also recently provided $75,000 in emergency relief grants to seven organizations whose poverty mitigation work includes mental health services and family stability measures. Read more about these unique grants and their recipients here.

Alongside its grant program, the Faith & Action Project hosts more than 2,000 community members at its annual events each fall and spring. Through these events, the Project works to elevate the conversation about poverty in Central Indiana so that it gains and holds a consistent spot on the radar of policy makers, elected officials, and community leaders. These events also serve to raise awareness about the root causes of generational poverty and force our community to take a harder look at the impact that structural and institutional racism has on it.

Past fall events have featured a number of inspiring and renowned public figures, including David Brooks and Tavis Smiley, author Michelle Alexander, and commentator Van Jones. The 2020 Fall Event took place on September 30 and featured award-winning journalist and documentarian Soledad O’Brien and a conversation with local community leaders discussing Central Indiana antipoverty efforts and the barriers that must be overcome to free people trapped in poverty in our city.

The 2021 Faith & Action Fall Event will take place in Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall on October 5, 2021, and will feature Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

The Faith & Action Project hosts a spring conference each year continuing with themes from the fall events but goes deeper by providing evidence-based models and empirical data, and by highlighting efforts that have shown impact in moving families to stability and a pathway out of poverty. Spring conferences have featured nationally recognized scholars and practitioners such as Robert Lupton, author of Toxic Charity, and Father Greg Boyle, Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.

The 2021 Faith & Action Spring Conference will feature a conversation with economic-mobility innovator Nisha Patel, who works with national and community organizations to generate big ideas and move them into action. This conference will be augmented by a facilitated conversation with area clergy who seek to engage their faith communities more effectively in poverty mitigation. Registration information will be available soon.

Looking ahead, Rabinowitch said, “the Faith & Action Project will continue to inspire and empower our community to shift its focus to poverty mitigation and adopt evidenced based approaches that have shown to be effective in removing barriers and providing a pathway to economic mobility.”

CTS’s Faith & Action Project has been made possible by the generosity of the Mike and Sue Smith Family Fund, and with support by the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) and Lumina Foundation.

Learn more about CTS’s Faith & Action Project here.



Also included in the October 2020 Christian Theological Seminary Connection

 

  • The 2020 Fall Semester is Underway - Check out this video celebrating the fall semester!
  • Faith & Action Project October 2020 Newsletter - Read the newest edition of the Faith & Action Project’s monthly newsletter!
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