• 23 Jan 2017 2:00 PM | Deleted user

    This morning, Kathleen Lara, Prosperity Indiana's Policy Director testified before the Indiana Senate's Family and Children Services Committee in support of SB 154, a key state priority bill removing the asset limit test for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits.  The committee considered testimony, but did not take a vote on the measure.  Read her full testimony below.  Another priority bill supported in the Committee by Prosperity Indiana passed with a vote of 8-1, in favor of dropping the ban on individuals with certain drug offenses from receiving SNAP benefits.  Read more coverage on that bill by clicking here.

    JANUARY 23, 2017

    Chairman Grooms and members of the committee,

    Thank you for the opportunity to speak this morning.   My name is Kathleen Lara and I am the Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana, a network of 230 non-profit organizations, units of local government, private companies and institutions dedicated to building vibrant communities and resilient families. I am also here today on behalf of the partners of the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network.

    Working to advance policies that respond to urgent human needs, help expand economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in communities of all sizes throughout the state is essential to our members and partners.  That is why I come before the committee today urging strong support for SB 154, a bill that will help financially vulnerable, food-insecure Hoosiers reach and maintain economic sufficiency.

    Our members and partners work diligently to help those with few assets and few economic opportunities access financial literacy education, open savings accounts, find workforce development training, attain higher education, and achieve housing stability.  Our networks have helped launch community loan centers to cut down on payday loan reliance.  They have helped to train non-profit organizations on best practices in helping low-income clients manage money successfully.  They help operate Individual Development Account programs that allow low-wealth consumers to receive financial education and open matched-savings accounts to afford higher education, open a business or buy a home.

    So, our member networks know that consumers are eager to access these opportunities and work hard to advance their financial goals.  Unfortunately, we find that too often, low-income consumers are in a system where they are set up to fail or held back from their full potential. Too often we hear that low-income Hoosiers should receive a hand up, but not a hand out and yet the very nature of the certain program rules contradicts that philosophy.  The SNAP asset limit test is among those rules.

    Despite member efforts underway to help break through generational poverty and thus, decrease reliance on public assistance, rules such as the asset limit test can have the unintended consequence of training beneficiaries to stay dependent – to keep their assets low or risk losing essential food assistance during tenuous times.

    Program beneficiaries are not eligible if they make more than 130% of the federal poverty level, roughly $31,600 annually for a family of four and the program constrains assets to below $2,250.  That may sound like a generous asset limit, but when you consider that our network partners teach clients that they need three months’ worth of income savings survive a financial emergency, the three months’ worth of savings even at this low-income level exceeds program allowances. 

    Logically, if we want Hoosiers to be economically sufficient, we cannot penalize them for saving funds and forcing them to spend down savings, retirement accounts, or selling off assets to become SNAP eligible.  That is important when you consider that SNAP benefits were designed to temporarily help individuals and families maintain food access as they weather financial turmoil, especially since benefit is not even their primary source of income for food.  It is, as the title indicates, supplemental. The program already deducts the amount they expect a household to pay towards food - 30% of net income. 

    The revisions in SB 154 make economic sense in supporting the financial independence of low-income Hoosiers.  The Urban Institute reported just last June that more flexible SNAP policies increase the likelihood that lower income adults live in a household where at least one member has a bank account and there is at least $500 in the account.  Entering the financial mainstream by opening bank accounts is in line with what our network case managers repeatedly recommend to clients.

    Removing the asset limit test not only makes economic sense for consumers, it makes economic sense for the state.  We know from other states that eliminating the asset test reduces administrative costs. For example, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health Services announced that the 2015 elimination of its asset limit test for SNAP was estimated to save the state $3.5 million annually.

    Prosperity Indiana members believe in asset-building strategies that help lift Hoosiers out of poverty permanently. We believe compassionate, common sense policy updates like those contained in SB 154 are essential to building strong families and communities.  We urge your support for the measure and thank you for your time today.

  • 20 Jan 2017 3:27 PM | Jessica Love (Administrator)

    After almost a year of working alongside the City of Michigan City and the residents of Michigan City’s Eastport neighborhood, the quality of life planning process that Prosperity Indiana guided for that community is completed. Now in the implementation phase, the plan was presented to the City Council by Director of Capacity Building Rose Scovel on January 17.

    Using a comprehensive community development model, Prosperity Indiana helped residents and stakeholders in the Eastport neighborhood develop a plan for the future of the area. Taking into account insightsfrom formal and informal leaders, the plan addresses what the public, private and philanthropic sectors can do in collaboration with residents and stakeholders to make Eastport a better place to live, work, and play.                                                                                                                                                                            

    With the project now completed, Rose said, “The most rewarding part of doing this work is becoming part of the neighborhood, having people get to know one another and want to work together. That, and bringing resources to the community that they weren't familiar with.”

    Rose Scovel 

    The neighborhood planning process included focus group meetings, listening sessions, surveys, a visioning session, and goals and action planning meetings. The culmination of the planning process is a neighborhood level plan for improving their quality of life. In Eastport, the five key topic areas for the plan, around which there were individual working groups, are Business, Housing, Walkability, Civic Infrastructure, and Engagement/Pride.

    While Prosperity Indiana has a well-defined process that can be adapted to every community, each neighborhood has its own unique set of opportunities and challenges that come to bear, many of which will take months or years after completing the plan to fully take advantage of or otherwise address. While this makes the work more difficult, it is also what makes it so important.

    Rose said, “The most challenging part is that there are issues facing the neighborhood (like food access) that there isn't the capacity to resolve in a time frame that is meaningful to the neighborhood.”

    That is why helping neighbors establish a unifying force to work together is vital to their future. For many communities, the planning process is just as crucial to their success as the actual plan. Often neighbors meet for the first time and find common interests and concerns during this endeavor to create their shared vision for the future of the area. Finding this connection with their neighbors sets them up for greater success when they move to implementation.

    Rose noted, “The most exciting outcome in Eastport is that the neighborhood resident group is reforming and developing their capacity to lead change in the neighborhood.”

    And positive change is exactly what Prosperity Indiana is in the business of helping people and places create across the state. 

    For more about this project, see the following press releases and media briefs from AprilJune, JulyAugust/August (FAQ) 2016 and January 2017.

  • 18 Jan 2017 9:08 AM | Deleted user

    Prosperity Indiana supports a network of organizations from all sectors and a variety of fields. That network includes many talented and effective leaders, several of whom were highlighted on our blog in a series that began last October to mark our 30th anniversary. Through our services, we strive to support all Prosperity Indiana members in becoming leaders who make an impact on their communities. Last fall, we launched the Expert Directory Survey to ask members to identify their level of experience on a variety of subjects. This tool is helping us understand our members better and providing us new ways to connect members to opportunities within the network. The below chart provides a summary of responses on several leadership characteristics from the first 70 people to complete the survey.

    Those who identified themselves as an “expert” have incorporated these skills into their work to a significant degree and are comfortable sharing their knowledge with others.

    We’re excited to announce a new member service to use this data to grow leaders in our network. Members may now request to be matched with a mentor to help them tackle a challenge or learn a new skill. Mentors are people with significant experience in the field who have volunteered to assist their peers by spending one to two hours meeting or speaking with them one-on-one to address particular topics.

    If you’re setting resolutions for 2017 and are looking for support in developing strong goals and action plans or if your resolutions include strengthening your command of finances or your ability to facilitate difficult conversations, request a mentor to receive tips, resources, and guidance for reaching your goals. Below is a list of some of the areas in which mentors have agreed to serve; but there are many others—use the Mentor Request Form to let us know what topic you’re interested in.

    If you’d like to exercise your own leadership potential and be a mentor, please complete our Expert Directory Survey. In this survey (accessible exclusively to members through our Member Directory page), you’ll identify your level of experience on a variety of topics. You can also indicate your willingness to provide training, technical assistance, and/or mentorship to other members. As more people join the Directory, its potential as a tool for connecting with other professionals grows. So, please share it with other network members.

    Be a mentor. Ask a mentor. Become a leader. 

  • 17 Jan 2017 11:52 AM | Deleted user

    In addition to the Lilly Endowment’s regular support of human service organizations this year, the Endowment is granting a total of $100 million dollars to 15 organizations to invest in their sustainability plans. These grants seek to strengthen the financial infrastructure of vital but under-capitalized organizations and build their capacity for the long-term. Included among the grantees are Prosperity Indiana members, Edna Martin Christian Center, John H. Boner Community Center, and 2014 member, Horizon House. Congratulations to each grant recipient for the well-deserved recognition and support of the important work they do in building vibrant communities and resilient families. 

    Read the official press release for more details of this initiative from the Lilly Endowment and the full list of award recipients.

  • 13 Jan 2017 8:59 AM | Deleted user

    This Spring, Purdue Extension is offering a course on preparing grant proposals in eight communities around the state.  The 2-day workshop, Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing, will give grant writers of all skill levels the information and resources they need to submit proposals with confidence.  

    The two-day interactive workshops take place from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM local time on both days listed below:

    Floyd County, New Albany Floyd County Public Library, 180 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN 47150, Wednesday, February 8 and Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

    Hendricks County, 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Center, 1900 E. Main Street, Danville, IN 46122, Tuesday, February 21 and Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

    Allen County, 4001 Crescent Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46815, Thursday, February 23 and Thursday, March 23, 2017.

    Putnam County, Putnam County Fairgrounds,191 US-231, Greencastle, IN 46135, Wednesday, March 8 and Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

    Marion County, 1202 East 38th Street, Discovery Hall Suite 201, Indianapolis, IN 46205, Friday, March 10 and Friday, April 14, 2017.

    Tipton County, 1200 S. Main Street, Tipton, IN 46072, Thursday, March 16 and Thursday, April 20, 2017.

    Harrison County, 247 Atwood Street, Corydon, IN 47122, Tuesday, April 11 and Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

    Tippecanoe County, 3150 Sagamore Parkway South, Lafayette, IN 47905, Thursday, April 20 and Thursday, May 18, 2017.

    During the workshop, participants develop their ideas into written proposals. They learn how to find funders as well as strategies for successful grant implementation.

     "Over the years, participants of the Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing workshop have gone on to win millions of dollars in grant funding, bringing vital programs and services, equipment, infrastructure, and amenities to communities all across Indiana," said Kris Parker, Regional Community Development Educator with Purdue Extension.

    Registration is $175 per person and includes a workbook, reference materials and lunch both days. Professional review of a draft proposal is also included.

    Additional information and a registration form are available by going to http://bit.ly/2gdgXFu. Or, by contacting Kym Schwinkendorf at 219-386-5232, or kschwink@purdue.edu.

  • 11 Jan 2017 7:58 PM | Deleted user
    Prosperity Indiana's policy team is already hard at work in the halls of the Statehouse trying to advance critical priorities. To read our 2017 policy agenda and state policy priorities, click here.  We hope our members will join our advocacy efforts by attending our Statehouse Day on Tuesday, Jan. 31st. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

    This blog will elaborate on progress already underway in working towards our 2017 state advocacy goals below, but as we referenced in our 30th Anniversary and Prosperity Indiana Summit policy sessions, it is important to understand the context of broader policy priorities dominating legislators’ attention.

    Top General Assembly Priorities from Legislative Leaders

    House Agenda:
    House leaders unveiled their top priorities for this session during Organization Day last November.  The plans were elaborated on in the House Republican’s “Investing In Our Future Plan.”  Speaker Brian Bosma has outlined the following as the key focus for House leadership:

    • Passing a balanced state budget
    • Passing a 20-year infrastructure plan, including a gas tax increase, new special fuel and motor carrier surcharges, and a new annual fee on all vehicles to address the more than $1 billion in additional funding per year needed to maintain roads and bridges
    • Expanding education opportunities – while not favoring a universal expansion of pre-k, the Speaker did express support for expanding Indiana’s existing pre-k pilot program and for improving testing in the state’s classrooms
    • Expanding job creation and workforce development- the Speaker referenced the Department of Workforce Development’s estimate that the state will need to fill 1 million jobs by 2022. He pledged that House members will advance policies to meet the training and educational needs to fit employee/employer needs.
    • Addressing the opioid and heroin epidemic and public safety needs- Speaker Bosma committed to focusing on “efforts to expand substance abuse and treatment options.”  He also called for an increase in Indiana State Police salaries.

    Senate Agenda:
    January 10, Senate leadership unveiled their agenda, which largely mirrors priorities of their House counterparts with some minor additions and some differences in their approach.  Senate President Pro Tem David Long listed the following as specific priorities:

    • Passing another balanced, two-year state budget
    • Creating a long-term road funding plan – Sen. Long would not commit to a specific figure on how much taxes should be increased to pay for roads, but did indicate the Senate would start to work with the House blueprint and identify new sources of funding.
    • Passing a balanced budget amendment that would “prohibit state spending from exceeding state revenue unless two-thirds of the General Assembly deems it necessary to use emergency spending measures”
    • Fighting opioid abuse through prevention, enforcement, treatment and data collection measures
    • Addressing educational needs by replacing the ISTEP exam, improving career and technical education in the school funding formula, and fixing the overall structure of workforce development
    • Fixing Indiana’s e-liquids law by reforming regulations for e-liquids manufacturers

    Top Administrative Priorities

    On Monday January 9, Governor Eric Holcomb and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch were sworn in during inaugural ceremonies.  Last week, however, on January 5, then Governor-elect Holcomb and Lt. Governor-elect Crouch unveiled their Next Level 2017 Agenda. The proposals referenced a number of the key legislative priorities put forth by legislative leaders and include some additional ideas.  Those proposals include:

    • Investing $1 Billion to make Indiana an innovation hub over the next 10 years through investments in high-growth early stage and mid-cap Indiana companies, continue resources for the Regional Cities program, and creating entrepreneurship grants to support programs and partnerships with Indiana higher education institutions and communities
    • Creating  a 20-year plan to fund roads and bridges, mirroring on legislative leaders’ plans
    • Improving workforce readiness, which includes an appointed Secretary of Education beginning in 2021 to replace the Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as doubling the state’s investment in pre-kindergarten
    • Addressing the drug epidemic by creating the position of Executive Director for Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement in the Governor’s office,  giving local officials the authority to establish syringe exchange programs, limiting controlled substance prescriptions and refills, and enhancing penalties for pharmacy robberies
    • Improving government service by modernizing the state Department of Revenue computer system, raising pay for Indiana State Police, upgrading Indiana State Police labs, analyzing waste, fraud and abuse in Indiana’s Medicaid and unemployment insurance programs, exempting military pensions from the state income tax, and expanding the nurse-family partnership to combat infant mortality.

    Top Prosperity Indiana Priorities

    As referenced above, the Prosperity Indiana public policy team, which includes Kathleen Lara, Andy Fraizer, Steve Hoffman (the President Prosperity Indiana’s Board of Directors and the Public Policy Committee Chair), and Ice Miller, LLP representatives (Prosperity Indiana's lobbying partners), is already tracking and analyzing a number of bills to support and oppose in this legislative session and accordingly, meeting with legislators to advance and oppose a variety of legislative proposals. 

    For Prosperity Indiana’s comprehensive bill tracking list and link to more information about legislation, click here [Member Access]. This list is exhaustive of all introduced legislation that pertains to any Prosperity Indiana member issue area.  

    For a more refined review of key legislation in critical areas for members, review Prosperity Indiana’s top priority bill tracker by clicking here [Member Access]. The identified bills on that list are most likely to proceed at the State House or of greatest concern to Prosperity Indiana’s policy team.  Please keep in mind that the deadline bill filing is Thursday, January 12, so our tracker information will be updated as additional bill information becomes available.

    Prosperity Indiana has four key affirmative priorities for the 2016 Indiana General Assembly and one key area of defense thus far.

    Affirmative Priorities:

    • Clarifying Charitable Affordable Housing Property Tax Exemption:  
      SB 559 PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING (Eckerty, D) - Provides a property tax exemption for affordable rental housing property when the property does not otherwise qualify for a property tax exemption. Provides that, in order to qualify for the exemption, the owner must meet the criteria applied by the Internal Revenue Service in determining if an organization that provides low income housing is considered charitable because it relieves the poor and distressed.  Clarifying state code on property tax exemption for non-profit owned affordable housing. For background on this issue and a summary of the proposal to be introduced this session, click on the following one-pager summaries below.
      Background on Property Tax Exemption Issue
      Summary of Current Proposal

    • Protecting Consumers, Promoting Economic Stability Through the Extension of the Foreclosure Filing Fee:
      We have worked with two legislative leaders to introduce bills to extend the Foreclosure Filing Fee, which helps fund statewide foreclosure counseling training, extensive counseling services and court coordinator-assisted mortgage workouts for Indiana borrowers at risk of losing their homes.  Those bills include:
      • SB 227 FORECLOSURE COUNSELING AND EDUCATION FEE (Merritt, J) - Removes a provision providing for the July 1, 2017, expiration of the $50 mortgage foreclosure counseling and education fee that must be paid by a party filing an action to foreclose a mortgage.
      • HB 1097 FORECLOSURE COUNSELING AND EDUCATION FEE (Burton, W) - Extends from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2019, the date for the expiration of the $50 mortgage foreclosure counseling and education fee that must be paid by a party filing an action to foreclose a mortgage.
    • Empowering Low-Income Hoosier Families Through the Removal of the Asset Limit Test for SNAP Eligibility:
      SB 154 REMOVAL OF ASSET LIMITS FOR SNAP ELIGIBILITY (Merritt, J) - Requires the division of family resources to: (1) implement within the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) an expanded eligibility category, which does not consider an individual's value of assets in determining SNAP eligibility; and (2) notify the United States Department of Agriculture of the implementation of expanded categorical eligibility under SNAP.
      This is critical to help low-income families as the current asset limit test disincentivizes savings, which is a critical step toward self-sufficiency.

    • Empowering Low-Income Hoosier Families Through the Expansion of Pre-K Educational Opportunities:
      One of our top state legislative priorities in 2017 is expanding economic opportunities for Hoosier families, including childcare resources and pre-k expansion for low-income households.  As part of that effort, we are partnering with the All IN 4 Pre-K campaign.  A number of bills have been introduced this session aimed at pre-k expansion and are included in our bill trackers, but Prosperity Indiana’s policy team is still examining those proposals before endorsing a specific approach.  Stay tuned to this blog post for important updates.

    Defensive Priorities:

    • Protecting Consumers, Promoting Economic Stability Through Opposition to Predatory Lending Expansion:
      SB 245: LONG TERM SMALL LOANS (Holdman, T) - Provides that a lender that is licensed by the department of financial institutions to engage in small loans may enter into a transaction for a long term small loan with a borrower. Defines a long term small loan as a loan that: (1) is entered into by a licensed small loan lender and a borrower; (2) has a principal amount of at least $605 and not more than $2,500; and (3) is payable in installments over a term of not more than 24 months. Provides that with respect to a long term small loan, a lender may contract for and receive a monthly loan finance charge that: (1) does not exceed 20% of the principal; and (2) is earned by the lender on a daily basis using the simple interest method.
      One of Prosperity Indiana’s central 2017 advocacy priorities is preventing the predatory loan products and practices that disproportionately affect low-income consumers.  That is precisely what SB 245 would do.  The proposal offers a longer-term installment loan carrying interest rates rate exceeding 200% APR.  For example, a $1,000 loan due in 6 months will carry a 230% APR and on a $2,500 loan due in 24 months, a borrower will pay back over $12,000.  These rates are significantly higher than other installment loans already offered in Indiana and would hurt vulnerable consumers. Click on the summary one-pager below to learn more about the detrimental impact the proposal will have on low-income consumers.
      SB 245, By the Numbers

    Please stay tuned to our blog for critical action alerts and legislative updates as the 120th General Assembly session continues.  Prosperity Indiana is grateful to our members for their work, advocacy, and partnership!

  • 05 Jan 2017 12:58 PM | Deleted user

    Riley Area Development Corporation (RADC) is a non-profit community development corporation that has used affordable housing to transform urban neighborhoods in and near downtown Indianapolis.

    RADC is currently hiring for these two positions:

    Mass Avenue/Brookside Industrial Corridor Program Manager

    The Program Manager is responsible for the development, facilitation, execution and administrative support of the Mass Avenue/Brookside Industrial Corridor Program. The Program Manager must be professional, entrepreneurial, energetic, imaginative, well organized and capable of functioning effectively in independent situations. The Program Manager is the primary contact person responsible for coordinating all Program activities and Program implementation, coordination of select projects and any other responsibilities deemed appropriate.

    See full job description for more details.

    Development Project Manager

    The Development Project manager is responsible for project development and implementation and communications; shaping, managing and driving the implementation of community development projects and directing the implementation of an effective outreach and communication campaign to educate and cultivate support for projects. The Development Project Manager is a full-time professional position. However, if an outstanding candidate requires a part-time position, the Executive Director may negotiate a reduced scope of responsibilities. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

    See full job description for more details.

    If you are interested in either position please submit your resume including attached letters of recommendations to the following email address: strickland@rileyarea.org

  • 04 Jan 2017 1:08 PM | Deleted user

    Prosperity Indiana is seeking a part-time Administrative Assistant. The position of Administrative Assistant reports to the Associate Executive Director and supports the Prosperity Indiana staff with tasks that build the capacity of Prosperity Indiana, its members, and partners. The position will provide administrative support for the organization and Prosperity Indiana’s training program. The successful candidate will be customer service-oriented, write well and communicate effectively, and understand bookkeeping. Attention to detail and accuracy are a must in order to successfully juggle and accomplish multiple tasks. 

    For more details, click to see the full job description.

    Interested in joining our team?

    E-mail and/or mail resume, cover letter, and recommendations to

    Jessica Love, Associate Executive Director, jlove@prosperityindiana.org
    Prosperity Indiana
    202 East Market Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

  • 21 Dec 2016 12:48 PM | Deleted user

    Year-end is timely to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and survey the coming year. Having celebrated Prosperity Indiana’s 30th Anniversary in November, reflection also includes the many years of impact. If you missed the celebration and Prosperity Indiana Summit, where we unveiled the new brand identity, I invite you to watch the commemorative video.

    For 30 years, the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development has focused on the assets of local people, mobilizing collective action to advance Indiana’s communities. Now doing business under a new name, Prosperity Indiana, our mission hasn’t changed; we are still dedicated to supporting a network of organizations that build resilient families and vital communities. The new brand embodies a more authentic and approachable way to convey our vision and comprehensive work to strengthen Indiana communities.

    As you think about the highlights below, remember Prosperity Indiana delivers services in four ways to members: advocate, community builder and connector, capacity builder, and funder.

    As an advocate, the Prosperity Indiana policy team was a coalition partner to improve Indiana’s Individual Development Accounts (IDA) program. With member engagement, including diligent efforts by the TRI-CAP staff, policymakers added vehicle purchase as an eligible use of savings in the IDA program. Partnering with the City of Gary Redevelopment Commission, the policy team also advocated for experimental tools for Lake County to better address the issues of vacancy and abandonment, including challenges of 1) serial tax delinquency, 2) the tax sale process, and 3) disposition of redevelopment commission owned properties.

    Again in coalition, the policy team stopped the expansion of predatory payday lending. As the policy team looks ahead, 2017 will again require mobilization on this issue of payday lending. Other priority issues for the year ahead include uniform property tax assessment for mission-based affordable housing and continuation of the mortgage foreclosure filing fee as a source of funding for housing counseling and mortgage foreclosure prevention. At the federal and state administrative policy junction, the policy team worked with the National Low Income Housing Coalition to deliver a webinar and generate member feedback to inform Indiana’s use of the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF).

    As a connector, we delivered the Prosperity Indiana Summit. Over 200 people attended with 36 percent attending the placemaking sessions, 26 percent participating in the policymaking sessions and the balance attending some of each track. Sixty-six (66) percent of attendees reported extreme satisfaction with the content and logistics. The annual awards luncheon honored leadership and program impact in the following winners:

    • John Niederman Rural Development Leadership Award
      Charles Heintzelman, Milestone Ventures
    • Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award
      James Taylor, John Boner Neighborhood Centers
    • Robert O. Zdenek Staff Member of the Year Award
      Gladys Muhammad, South Bend Heritage Foundation
    • Key Award for Services Program of the Year
      Back Home in Indiana Alliance, Indianapolis

    Another connecting strategy is our role in providing staff support for the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network. In 2016, the Network was selected to participate in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Your Money, Your Goals cohort and trained 98 organizations and 150 people on this financial capabilities curriculum. Thanks to generous support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network also built partner capacity for asset-building strategies in Northwest Indiana (NWI) with the Porter County United Way.

    We also convene communities of practice, or affinity groups, to provide members opportunities to exchange resources, information, and ideas to bolster each other’s work. The details and discussion notes from the various affinity groups are documented on the forum pages.

    As a community builder, Prosperity Indiana continued work with the Legacy Foundation in Lake County to advance comprehensive community development through the Neighborhood Spotlight program. This year’s Neighborhood Spotlight communities were Gary’s Emerson neighborhood and Griffith, where Prosperity Indiana provided collective impact planning and capacity building support to residents and local leaders throughout the year.

    Other community building strategies included a partnership with member the Indiana Cooperative Development Center to deliver a one-day conference on worker cooperatives as a community economic development tool for financial empowerment and a similar conference on Cooperatives and Communities of Color. The conference on worker cooperatives highlighted them as a business succession strategy to generate local wealth and revitalized downtowns. The Cooperatives and Communities of Color conference focused on strategies for equity and social justice from community ownership. Lastly, with support from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), Prosperity Indiana worked with member Fifth Third Bank to shape a community benefits agreement, which was announced last month to great acclaim for a robust and collaborative process.

    Capacity building strategies included another year of robust training and technical assistance consulting. Trainings this year included Housing Counseling, Foreclosure Basics, Developing an Affordable Housing Project from the Ground Up, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Certified Green Professional, Effective Non-Profit Boards for Real Estate Development, Abandoned Housing Strategies, and Placemaking Basics. For 2016, the capacity building team delivered these courses in a series of "mini-institutes" that allowed participants to encounter more professionals in the community economic development field, learn from others through affinity groups and receive technical assistance from the training team in some cases. Training benefitted 123 participants across these classes, reporting high satisfaction. We also expanded our webinar offerings, covering a variety of topics and archived on the member portal. Looking ahead to 2017, the capacity building team is planning the training calendar now with our partner and funder, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The team is also working with the board of directors to plan and implement a comprehensive community development institute, as outlined in Prosperity Indiana’s strategic plan. You will hear more about this in the weeks ahead.

    Consulting work with members this year has included projects in organizational development, project and program development, and community and strategic planning. With a grant from member Vectren Foundation, Prosperity Indiana is supporting quality of life planning and convening in a neighborhood in Anderson. Through a partnership with the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, the capacity building team supported leadership development in Sheridan in partnership with member Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development. In Huntingburg, the local public housing authority worked with the team to increase their housing development capacity through a non-profit development strategy.

    Alongside member City of Michigan City, the team has supported neighborhood planning activity using a comprehensive community development strategy. Members also engaged the capacity building team for grantwriting and grant review, including Terramark and Pass the Torch for Women Foundation. Early in the year, Hope of Evansville engaged the team for strategic planning. Prosperity Indiana staff also assisted United North East Community Development Corp. with updating their housing strategy and providing data analysis services. In collaboration with member KW Consultants, the team is working on a housing needs assessment for the Town of Speedway. The capacity building team has also been working with Coburn Place to develop a housing strategy in light of changing funding.

    As a funder, Prosperity Indiana continues to support members in local communities with a desire to collaborate in fundraising through Homeward Bound. Another 2016 accomplishment was our role in helping community development financial institution (CDFI) members Brightpoint and HomesteadCS establish Community Loan CentersTM upon receiving grant funding from JP Morgan Chase PRO Neighborhoods to create an alternative to payday lending.

    In 2017, the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network will make grants and provide technical assistance to five organizations participating in a learning cluster integrating financial capability. The Network has found lack of access to financial planning resources to be an obstacle to achieving financial stability. Research indicates that integrating financial capability – understood as knowledge plus skills plus resources – into existing  programs is the best strategy for focusing on the family balance sheet. The following organizations are participating in the learning cluster: Dress for Success empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools. Connected by 25 creates paths of success for young people aging out of foster care. Families First delivers family and individual counseling services. Coburn Place provides transitional housing for those who have experienced domestic violence. EmployIndy provides workforce development. Participating organizations will develop theory of change, resource assessment, and planning logic models for intended financial capability strategies. The Network will develop case studies from organizations to understand lessons learned and promote achievements.

    Prosperity Indiana will also reprise an updated version of its Solar Uniting Neighbors (SUN) grant program to fund solar photovoltaic projects and create community discussions about sustainability. Thank you to member Citizens Action Coalition, which has been a champion of the program and helped secure investment from Duke Energy. Prosperity Indiana recently hired Allyson Mitchell as Director of Sustainability to implement this program and build a portfolio of sustainability strategy support with members.

    If you think there is a way Prosperity Indiana can aid your work and strengthen our communities, do not hesitate to call us at 317.454.8533 or email us at info@prosperityindiana.org.

  • 20 Dec 2016 10:25 AM | Deleted user

    The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) recently presented a webinar, The Changing Post-Election Landscape for Affordable Housing, focusing on the work needed to move affordable housing policy in this new political landscape. 

    The webinar recording and PowerPoint slides are now available on their website. 

    Click here to read more of NLIHC's outlook on the political landscape for affordable housing policy under the new Administration.

    Interested in other webinars from NLIHC? Click here to view their webinar offerings.

Policy News

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