October 3, 2022

Program makes more support available for smaller, diverse grassroots groups in Indianapolis

The city of Indianapolis has also committed more funding to grassroots groups this year. - Jill Sheridan/WFYI

The city of Indianapolis has also committed more funding to grassroots groups this year.

Jill Sheridan/WFYI

Grassroots groups that work to improve community wellbeing will have a chance to add funding and education through an expanded effort from the Indianapolis Foundation.

The Neighborhood Empowerment Pathways program offers funds and training for nonprofits and other community groups.  This year the program is boosted by $3 million from the city of Indianapolis, Cummins and the foundation.

Indianapolis Foundation Vice President of Community Leadership and Equitable Initiatives, Pamela Ross said smaller groups may have challenges connecting with resources.

“They’re doing the work, they have the trusted relationships but they haven’t had the opportunity to create the kind of infrastructure that’s necessary to sustain,” Ross said.

The effort provides training and workshops for groups to build organizational skills. It also gives mini-grants that could improve websites, data collection or close other gaps. 

It is geared toward groups that have an operational budget of $250,000 or less and are led by Black, Indigenous and other people of color.

Ross said the program aims to meet organizations where they are.

“We look at it as an opportunity for us to learn what’s really going on versus what we believe to be the best way,” she said.

The Indianapolis Foundation, which is part of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, has been able to reach an increased number of grassroots groups in recent years. Ross said that opens up opportunities to think differently about community solutions.

“Bring innovation into this, bring inclusivity into this and see what happens,” she said.

A cross section of organizations and addressing gaps in areas like food access, mental health, skills training and quality of life may be eligible for the program.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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