Fact of the Month
A child born into the bottom fifth of the Indianapolis population in terms of income has less than a 5 percent chance of reaching the top fifth by adulthood.
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 programs or organizations. Instead, they sought to connect and convene those organizations actively working to reduce poverty.
The real need they saw in Indianapolis, they reasoned, was a means to drive transformation.
To that end, the Faith & Action founders decided to offer resources to initiatives that had the potential to transform our community but perhaps lacked the resources to “scale up.”
Now into our fourth year, we see glimpses of transformation all around us. We see it in the neighborhood surrounding Eastern Star Church, for example, where the ROCK Initiative is bringing housing and services to an area of concentrated poverty. We see it in the Brookside neighborhood, where Heart Change Ministries is helping moms break the cycle of poverty. And we see it in the neighborhoods where Outreach is reaching homeless teens, equipping and empowering them to reach stability. Faith & Action Grant recipients are making a difference. 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 May 2 Spring Conference, 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
Project Director, Faith & Action Project
Grants Process Kicks Off
Although Faith & Action Grant Letters of Intent aren’t due until May 8, organizations are encouraged to begin the application process now by developing ideas, identifying partners and establishing goals and objectives. As you do, bear in mind that collaboration is highly valued in the assessment process. The Faith & Action Project seeks to give a boost to existing programs that can make a greater impact with additional resources, and we want to support sustainable programs that will have a long-term impact, not just address an urgent need. Begin the process of developing your story of impact and opportunity now. Information on preparing a letter of intent can be found here.
Candidates’ Poverty Plans
Democratic Party candidates line up for the party’s presidential nomination, some are offering concrete policy ideas, including poverty-reduction plans. “So far, rumored and announced candidates have outlined at least five formal proposals designed to direct additional cash to low-income households,” according to an article on Vox.com. Those proposals, which are projected to cut poverty by between 2.1 percent and 3 percent, employ a range of devices, including tax credits, supplemental payments to low-income people and rental assistance. To learn more, read the article here.
Lean and Quality-Focused
As more business leaders acknowledge that poverty is a problem for everyone – not just the poor – some organizations are employing business models to combat poverty. For example, Oakland-based Family Independence Initiative uses principles that parallel industrial “lean” approaches, and Minnesota-based Circles USA (which has affiliates in 70 North American communities, including Indianapolis) embraces continuous-quality-improvement training and coaching. Do such approaches work? A recent case study from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement suggests that Northeast Wisconsin’s POINT Initiative’s quality-improvement methods are making a difference.
The Missing Class, by Katherine S. Newman and Victor Tan Chen. The acronym “ALICE” (asset-limited, income-constrained and employed) has become increasingly familiar as a descriptor for those working families who live in or on the cusp of poverty. In The Missing Class, Newman and Chen looked at such families before ALICE was coined. Telling the stories of nine families living in New York City, the authors assert that there is a “missing class” between what has traditionally been known as the middle and lower classes. Their stories offer a sense of what it’s like to work but never have enough.
Mark your calendar for these important dates.
March 14, 10:00 to 11:30 AM: Faith & Action Grant Information Session, Englewood Christian Church, 57 N Rural St, Indianapolis
May 2, 8:30 AM to noon: Faith & Action Project Spring Conference, featuring Father Gregory Boyle, at Eastern Star Church, 5750 30th Street, Indianapolis
May 8: Faith & Action Grant letters of intent due
May 15: Applicants will be notified
June 4: Final grant applications due