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2019 Prosperity Indiana Annual Awards

04 Feb 2019 8:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

On January 30, Prosperity Indiana announced the winners of its annual leadership and program awards at its annual Summit. The Prosperity Indiana Summit was an occasion to celebrate the leaders and innovators in the community economic development field. The 2019 winners come from a pool of committed community leaders and innovative programs across Indiana. Winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by a judging committee based on criteria established for each award.

Prosperity Indiana Executive Director Jessica Love said, “We’re so proud of the work of all of our members, who are dedicated to strengthening our communities. That’s why we take an opportunity each year to recognize a few of the people and programs that stand out for their excellence. We are proud to honor such an amazing group this year. Congrats to the 2019 winners of the Prosperity Indiana awards.”

Award winners include: Indiana Supportive Housing Institute; George Okantey, Purdue Extension Community Development; David Miller, Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation; Tom Fodor, Morning Light Inc.


Key Award for Program of the Year - Sponsored by Merchants Bank of Indiana

Presented to Indiana Supportive Housing Institute

The Program of the Year Award honors excellence and innovation in a service-oriented community development initiative. This award recognizes a unique program model that leads in the area of service provision and/or volunteerism.

IHCDA and CSH’s Institute for Supportive Housing builds the capacity of supportive housing providers to develop and implement service plans that are based on national best practices and Supportive Housing Dimensions of Quality. The program is unique in that it requires participation from service providers, developers, advocates, and other local partners from the very early stages of project concept, creating cross-collaboration and building partnerships for long-term success.

Over the last nine years, 58 teams have completed the Institute, resulting in the creation of 44 developments containing 1,035 units of supportive housing with an additional 14 developments in the pipeline for funding.

Other Key Award nominees:

  • Holding Hands with Our Future

Photo by Al Bracken Photography. From Left to Right: Carol Gassen of Merchants Bank of Indiana, Jessica Love of Prosperity Indiana, Lori Phillips-Steele of CSH and Matt Rayburn and Jacob Sipe, both of IHCDA.


Robert O. Zdenek Staff Member of the Year Award - Sponsored by Brightpoint

Presented to George Okantey, Purdue Extension Community Development

The Staff Member of the Year Award honors an extraordinary individual who contributes to his or her organization and to the community economic development field as a whole. This person shows leadership, personal initiative and is a public servant.

George Okantey has been a Community Development Extension Educator for 20 years. He is passionate about convening diverse audiences across the state and increasing the capacity of local people, organizations and institutions to come together for the purpose of acting on current and future opportunities and challenges. Okantey is a coveted speaker, facilitator and trainer who makes an impact wherever he goes. In 2018 alone, he traveled widely across the state delivering more than 150 hours of instruction to nearly 550 adult learners.

Other Staff Member of the Year Award Nominees:

  • Judith Essex, Old Southside Neighborhood Association
  • Leigh Riley Evans, Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation
  • Erin Macey, Indiana Institute for Working Families
  • Stephanie Roland, Old National Bank
  • Jeffrey Sparks, Sagamore Institute
  • Christal Stephenson, New Albany Housing Authority
  • Evan Tester, King Park Development Corporation


Photo by
Al Bracken Photography. George Okantey of Purdue Extension


John Niederman Rural Development Leadership Award - Sponsored by First Financial Bank

Presented to David Miller, Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation

The Rural Development Leadership Award honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in improving the quality of life, influencing policies, and fostering opportunities for growth and development for the betterment of rural Indiana.

David Miller is said to spend every day striving to drive the mission of Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation, and his commitment to innovation can be seen in the services, changes and overall impact that he and the organization continue to make every year. Under his leadership, Hoosier Uplands has been able to support other local organizations with mini grants to improve, create and sustain their services. They also assisted over 550 patients in their home health and hospice programs and over 1,400 in their Serenity Now clinic in Bedford. They continue to serve as an Area Agency on Aging, Community Action Agency, licensed Home Health Care, and a Community Housing Development Organization, as well as oversee Head Start programs.

Other Rural Development Leadership Award Nominees:

  • Brenda Myers, Hamilton County Tourism


Photo by Al Bracken Photography. From Left to Right: Jessica Love of Prosperity Indiana, John Niederman of Pathfinder Services (accepting on behalf of David Miller of Hoosier Uplands), Angela Byer of First Financial Bank


Image result for fifth third bankMichael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award - Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank

Presented to Tom Fodor, Morning Light Inc.

This Leadership Award, jointly presented by Prosperity Indiana and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, honors an individual who has exhibited exceptional advocacy to further support the community economic development field.

Since his hire as Executive Director and CEO of Morning Light Inc. in 2012, Tom Fodor has focused his leadership on improving staff quality and retention, increasing hospice house occupancy, developing affordable housing programming and activities, and developing partnerships with other prominent programs in the community. Fodor continues to lead in the realm of health and housing, including national recognition and awards for health system innovation and policy. Morning Light has also led successful pilot projects to expand the field’s approach to addressing terminally ill homeless individuals.

In addition to national advocacy on behalf of affordable housing, Fodor served on the Indiana CHIP Continuum of Care Planning and Investment Committee for two years. He also served as an advocate for family shelters through his leadership of two programs at the American Red Cross Chapter in Dayton, OH.

Other Leadership Award nominees:

  • John Franklin Hay, Near East Area Renewal
  • Michael Howe, Community Alliance of the Far Eastside
  • Sister Dorothy Rasche, The Connecting Link


Photo by Al Bracken Photography. Tom Fodor of Morning Light Inc.

Prosperity Indiana
1099 N. Meridian Street, Suite 170
Indianapolis, IN 46204 
Phone // 317.222.1221 
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