The Hard Conversations
Fact of the MonthIn 2015, life expectancy in the 46225 zip code (in south central Indianapolis) was found to be 69.4 years, a full 14 years lower than life expectancy in Hamilton County’s 46033 zip code (and slightly lower than life expectancy in Iran and Bangladesh). (SAVI’s “Worlds Apart” report)
In my January note, I highlighted the “three-legged stool” that guides the Faith & Action Project. Consisting of our annual fall event, spring conference and grant program, this three-part approach allows us, respectively, to consider big ideas and major issues affecting poverty; share practical ideas and best practices; and provide resources to initiatives we believe have the potential to make a long-lasting difference.
In October, we will launch this sequence for the third time with a Clowes Hall conversation that will probe into root causes of poverty. (Learn more about the fall event below.) The discussion, featuring New York Times bestselling author Michelle Alexander and local business and faith leaders, likely will be challenging and might even prove to be controversial. And that is exactly why we must have it. We will not disrupt poverty’s growth unless we are willing to tackle difficult issues. We will not overcome poverty’s spread unless we ask hard questions.
Even as we have these hard discussions, we also will celebrate progress. Part of our fall event will be a recognition of the organizations that received 2018 Faith & Action grants (learn more about those organizations below). We hope you’ll join us at 7 p.m. on October 23 for this important evening, and help us continue the annual cycle to curb poverty’s momentum in Central Indiana.
Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project
Fall Event Coming Oct. 23
The author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Alexander has spoken widely about the socioeconomic impact of racial discrimination and specifically the way it affects African-American males. She will offer a keynote address before joining in a conversation with Michael Huber of the Indy Chamber, Angela Carr Klitzsch of EmployIndy, and the Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas, a professor of African American preaching at Christian Theological Seminary.New York Times best-selling author Michelle Alexander will join a panel of local leaders to examine poverty’s root causes and call the community to action at the Faith & Action Project’s Oct. 23 fall event.
The Faith & Action Project is supported by the Mike and Sue Smith Family Fund and Lumina Foundation.
What: “Poverty: Examining Roots, Working Toward Solutions”
When: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University, 4602 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis
The event is free and open to the public, no tickets are required. Please register!
2018 Faith & Action Grant Recipients
In its second annual round of grants, the Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary has awarded a total of $100,000 for three projects aimed at reducing poverty in Indianapolis.
The 2018 grant recipients:
- We received 36 applications for consideration for its 2018 grants. The jury chose 13 finalists, which provided full project summaries, and then these three initiatives rose to the top and received grants.$50,000 to the ROCK Initiative at Eastern Star Church in partnership with IndianapolisNeighborhood Housing Partnership, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and RecycleForce. The Double Forward Initiative seeks to disrupt the cycle of recidivism and housing eviction in the 46218 zip code. With new housing options, a grocery store and counseling services already being developed, this grant will create avenues to second-chance opportunities by helping project participants gain financial stability and integrate educational and life-skills attainment, assisting with housing placement and educating participants about smart rental practices.
- $30,000 to Heart Change Ministries. Heart Change provides ongoing, daily support to vulnerable families in the Brookside neighborhood who are working to achieve stability through formal and informal counseling. Heart Change staff and volunteers develop deep personal relationships with individual moms with a goal of helping them make lasting changes. Heart Change will use the grant to finish renovations at the house that will serve as home for its Gift of Work initiative called Heart Felt Soaps. The new space will allow Heart Change to employ more women and sell more soaps, thus helping moms break the cycle of generational poverty.
- $20,000 to Outreach Inc. Outreach provides homeless youth with a safe refuge from the unrelenting pressures of homelessness. During drop-in hours at the near eastside facility, youth have access to laundry facilities, computer labs, a food pantry, shower facilities, and family-style warm meals. Additionally, homeless youth are supported on their journey by case managers who help the youth navigate a path to sustainable independence and growth.
We received 36 applications for consideration for its 2018 grants. The jury chose 13 finalists, which provided full project summaries, and then these three initiatives rose to the top and received grants.
The Business Community Takes on Poverty
Advocates for years have argued that poverty is bad for business, and business owners often have been leaders in the fight against poverty. Recently, three institutions of the business community also got into the fight.
Last spring the Indy Chamber unveiled “Rebuilding the Dream,” a study undertaken by the Chamber, the Brookings Institution and the IU Public Policy Institute that examines the topic of “inclusive growth” in the Central Indiana. Pointing out disparities between Indy’s haves and have-nots, the study makes the case that continued regional prosperity requires that the haves finds ways to bring the have-nots along in ongoing growth.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis Business Journal has been publishing the occasional series, “One City Worlds Apart,” which takes a variety of looks at the poverty throughout the city.
At the same time, the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) has reshaped its mission to tackle the disparities in our community, especially those defined by race. Despite its definition as a community foundation, CICF has for years been recognized as an important voice in the local business community and a key influencer of collective vision. The organization’s new mission reads, “To mobilize people, ideas and investment to make this a community where every individual has equitable opportunity to reach their full potential – no matter their place, race or identity.”
Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, by Peter Edelman. A longtime champion of the rights of the poor, Edelman is a former aide to Robert Kennedy who resigned from the Clinton administration over the push for welfare reform. In this book, he describes how the poverty has essentially been criminalized and exacerbated by the nation’s justice system.
Mark your calendar for these important dates.
August — Grant recipients announced
Oct. 23 — Faith & Action fall event at Clowes Memorial Hall