A $100 million investment to improve the quality of life of Black persons in Indianapolis is underway. Those involved in the initiative spoke about work during WFYI’s All IN program this week.
The African American Quality of Life initiative was announced last summer with significant investment from the Lilly Endowment. The effort aims to address five areas where Black residents face disparity -- education, housing, employment, business and mental health.
Indianapolis Urban League President Tony Mason said partners are essential to the project.
“The challenges and the needs, barriers and obstacles are so large, so substantial that it’s going to take all of us in order to find solutions to address the challenges facing African Americans,” Mason said.
To date, the initiative has been able to gather information about challenges and issues facing residents, and build partnerships to direct efforts. The next step will be planning to administer grants for local groups working on these issues.
Mason said part of the process will focus on changing policy.
“We know that there are many instances where there is policy that is impacting the quality of living and the access and opportunities for people in our city,” Mason said.
The Indianapolis Urban League, the National Urban League and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis are leading the effort.
Indianapolis is home to about 250,000 Black residents and an estimated 30 percent are living at or below the poverty level.