A Three-Legged Stool
Unacceptable Fact of the Month
Median income in Indy declined 3% from 2010 to 2015, as the national inflation rate grew by 10%. The net impact: The value of a dollar earned in Indianapolis declined by 30%.
While the rest of the world celebrated the new year at the beginning of this month, the Faith & Action Project effectively celebrated its new year back in November, when we held our second annual fall event. Our first fall event launched the Project in 2016.
As such, we’re well into our annual cycle, and are looking forward to the second component of the Faith & Action Project, our spring conference, which will take place in April. It will be followed closely by the third component, our grant program.
Our vision is that these three components will work in concert to support our effort to mitigate poverty.
- The fall event allows the community to listen in as national experts discuss the big issues, helping to frame the challenges we face and inspire big ideas.
- The spring conference highlights local initiatives that are making a difference, offers practical information and promotes networking and collaboration among organizations fighting poverty.
- The grant program makes resources available to initiatives and collaborations with effective approaches to addressing poverty in Central Indiana.
This year’s spring conference will feature a number of local content experts, innovators, leaders, dreamers and doers who are making a difference in the lives of people living in poverty. It will serve as a leadership summit for people who desire real transformation, and it will reaffirm the principles we see as integral to this effort: a bias toward action, collaboration, faith-based solutions, inclusiveness, a belief that everyone has something to offer, and the desire not just to address the effects of poverty, but to attack its roots.
As we move through each aspect of our three-part program, we do it with this fact always in our minds: The poverty rate in Indianapolis is well above the national average, and it has been climbing. That’s unacceptable, that’s got to change, and we believe that, working together, we can make that change happen.
Registration for the spring conference is coming soon!
Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project
A Two-Generation Strategy
As some anti-poverty programs struggle with whether it’s better to focus services on children or adults, other organizations say the answer is, “All of the above.” Two-generation programs provide services to children and their parents, addressing pressing problems while also preparing families for long-term economic recovery. One key to the efforts seems to be collaborative, wrap-around services. Do these programs work? They’re too new for definitive evidence, but early indications are promising. For example, after one year, 61% of participants in Oklahoma’s CareerAdvance earned a post-secondary credential, compared to just 3% of members in a control group. Pacific Standard magazine recently highlighted two-generation programs. Read the story here.
Lumina Boosts Project
In December, Indianapolis’ Lumina Foundation awarded the Faith & Action Project $200,000 to aid its efforts to attack the roots of poverty. Aimed at helping the Project to address social justice and racial equity in Indianapolis, the award is part of a $2.5 million Lumina grant program that Lumina President and CEO Jamie Merisotis described as his organization’s response to recent racial incidents and ongoing racial injustice. “We’re honored to receive this grant and appreciate all that the Lumina Foundation does in matters of racial and economic equity,” said Faith & Action Director Lindsey Rabinowitch. To learn more about the award, read Lumina’s release here.
No Single Path
No single factor determines whether or not a family will end up living in poverty, or whether a community will see increases in poverty. Similarly, no one approach has been proven singularly effective in addressing poverty. However, in an effort to understand what does work, a recent paper from the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty – a project of the Urban Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – identifies six basic strategies most commonly used. Learn more here.
Tattoos on the Heart, Gregory Boyle. A Jesuit priest in one of LA’s most gang-ridden and poverty-stricken neighborhoods, Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in 1992 in an effort to give gang members an alternative to the street life that too often seems like their only option. In Tattoos on the Heart, he shares stories from his efforts to help gang members reveal their strengths and build their futures. Founded on the slogan, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job,” Homeboy Industries has grown into a multi-faceted, $16.6 million program with a bakery, catering service, silk screening operation and more.
Mark your calendar for these important dates
April — Spring Conference details to be announced soon
Early May — Grant program letters of intent due