April 2021

Driving Transformation

Unacceptable Fact of the Month:

While the Federal Poverty Level for a family of four in 2018 was $25,100, United Way’s 2020 Alice Report notes that an Indiana family of four actually needed $60,756 to survive.

Alice in Indiana:
A Financial Hardship Study

When the Faith & Action Project was launched, its founders recognized there was extraordinary work already underway in our community, and it needed to be further amplified and accelerated. They were not interested in creating new organizations. Instead, they sought to connect, inspire and convene those organizations and faith communities actively working to reduce poverty.

The real need they saw in Indianapolis, they reasoned, was a means to drive transformation and to inspire faith communities to play a galvanizing role in reducing poverty.

To that end, the Faith & Action founders decided to provide grants to organizations and initiatives that demonstrate the potential to move people out of poverty for the long term.

Now into our fifth year, we see glimpses of transformation all around us. We see it in the Faith & Action Grant recipients who are making a difference in the lives of youth and adults. We see the response from Lilly Endowment investing more than $93M in grants to address poverty in Indianapolis. We see it the faith communities taking strategic steps to provide support that empowers their neighbors confronting poverty. Much remains to be done, but much is happening.

While our grants are just a part of the resources making those initiatives work, we know we could not have participated in that kind of impact in such a short time if we had decided to create our own organization. Instead, we sought out local organizations, local leaders and others to share their wisdom with us on what it takes to truly move a family out of poverty. If we had decided to construct the infrastructure necessary to drive real change on our own, we would still be on the sidelines.

So, as we prepare for our Spring Conference on April 15, which will bring together so many of you who are actively engaged in the effort to push back poverty in Indianapolis, we say, thank you. Thank you for embracing our vision, for helping us learn and engage, and for allowing us to be a part of your good work.

Together, we are confident we can transform the community for those living in poverty, and we are honored to be in this effort alongside all of you.


Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Director, Faith & Action Project

In Their Words

Each year, the Faith & Action Project provides grants to local organizations and congregations with ideas for combating poverty that seem to be in a position to make a bigger difference if they had additional resources. The 2020 grant recipients – Faith in Indiana, Englewood Community Development Corporation, Public Advocates in Community Re-Entry (PACE), and Hovey Street Church of Christ Evolve Ministry – address issues such as challenges for men re-entering the community after incarceration, the need for mentors for young Black males, the opportunity to strengthen educational outcomes by strengthening schools’ connections to the community, and alternatives to incarceration. Learn more about their efforts – and the inspiring people working with and affected by them – by watching the video created to highlight their work.

Data-driven and heart-led

To eliminate poverty, we must use our heads to assess data, best practices, failures and more, and we must use our hearts to align with those who know poverty best: people who have lived in poverty. Join us in this head-and-heart campaign on April 15, as we welcome faith communities, nonprofit organizations, concerned individuals and people living in poverty to gather virtually for the Faith & Action Spring Conference, sponsored by Lumina Foundation. Our keynote speaker will be poverty-mitigation leader Nisha Patel, an originator of the “data-driven and heart-led” approach. Patel’s insights will be complemented by conversations with Faith & Action Grant recipients and local residents who have lived in poverty. Click here to register for the Conference. (And see our “Worth Reading” for more of Patel’s perspectives on poverty mitigation.)

Apply for a Faith & Action Grant

Does your group have an initiative that you believe makes a meaningful impact on poverty, and could be accelerated with more resources? A Faith & Action Grant might be your opportunity to obtain those resources. Faith & Action Grants provide funds to initiatives that show success in breaking the cycle of poverty and moving families out of poverty for the long term. As you consider applying for a grant, we encourage you to think about faith communities, nonprofits, or agencies with which you could collaborate. To create the best applications, organizations should highlight approaches that are replicable and scale-able, aimed at measurable outcomes and built on partnerships and collaboration, and those that have a plan for ongoing sustainability. Click here to learn more.

Worth Reading

The Babies in the River: Creating Equitable Safety Nets and Springboards to Opportunity,” by Nisha Patel. Prepare for Patel’s remarks at the Faith & Action Spring Conference by reading a recent post she penned for the Social Policy Institute of Washington University in St. Louis, where she is a senior fellow. Making the case that we need to address both immediate needs and root causes if we are to make a difference for those who live in poverty, Patel says, “… we must acknowledge the disparities our systems have perpetuated, and create equitable safety nets and springboards to opportunity.” 


Find us here:/faithactionindy @FaithActionIndy

Mark your calendar 
April 6, 2021, 1 PM: “Using Data to Design Solutions and Measure Impact” webinar
April 15, 2021. 1 PM:
Faith & Action Online Spring Conference
October 5, 2021, 7 PM: Faith & Action Fall Event

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