Prosperity Indiana has recently begun working with the City of Rushville and Ginn Farms on two different, and exciting, technical assistance projects. The work on both projects is financially supported by the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) using US Department of Housing and Urban Development Rural Technical Assistance grants.
The City of Rushville participated in a creative placemaking workshop in June 2017 hosted by the Indiana Arts Commission and other partners including Prosperity Indiana and member Harrison Center for the Arts. Municipalities that participated in the workshop were eligible to apply for an arts consultancy through the Indiana Arts Commission, and Rushville applied for assistance in developing an Arts Council and an Arts Master Plan to facilitate arts as a community economic development strategy. The community, already a Stellar Community, is ready for such a project and would benefit from technical assistance, but it was a more intense project than the arts consultancy was intended to address. That's where the NALCAB HUD Rural TA program stepped in, funding Prosperity Indiana to work with the city on development of the Arts Council and the Arts Master Plan. The work includes key stakeholder interviews, focus groups, leadership development workshops, a community visioning session, and supporting working groups as they develop SMAART goals and action plans for achieving the vision. It also includes development of resource guides for the Arts Council as it begins work in the community. The project began in January and will continue through August.
Founded in 2015, GinnFarms is a small Agricultural Education Nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation seeking to expand its programs into other rural Indiana counties. The organization’s missions is to protect the honey bee by encouraging new farmers to engage in self-reliant and natural farming practices. With one staff person, 3 board members, 12 volunteers, a variety of supporting partnerships, and recent grant awards from the US Department of Agriculture and the United Way, GinnFarms is in a prime position to receive capacity building services for sustainable growth and effective program impact.
Prosperity Indiana will work with GinnFarms to assess their organizational capacity through the CapMap tool during the first quarter of 2018. The tool will provide GinnFarms with an organizational baseline, identify areas of improvements, and provide strategies for the organization to build its capacity.
Prosperity Indiana will also assist GinnFarms in a strategic planning process that incorporating feedback from interviews with staff board members, and other potential community stakeholders and results in follow-up guidance and support.
After the assessment and strategic planning work, Prosperity Indiana will support Ginn Farms with needed capacity building in the areas of resource development, program development, leadership development, partnership and coalition building, community and stakeholder development, grant management, outcome measurement, and real estate acquisition.
Are you serving a rural area in Indiana? Are there projects where you could use technical assistance to advance your work? You could be eligible for participation in the HUD Rural TA program through NALCAB and Prosperity Indiana. Contact Director of Planning Services Rose Scovel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Director of Sustainability Allyson Mitchell (email@example.com) for more information.
At Prosperity Indiana, we recognize that the success of our members’ work requires the vision and leadership of policymakers and administrators who understand housing, education, human services, workforce and business development, transportation, and health to advance strategies that address community needs.
Prosperity Indiana has more than 30 years of experience successfully working with policymakers and advocating for strong, innovative policies that support the work of our members. Prosperity Indiana members influence our policy priorities and play an important role in our advocacy work. Prosperity Indiana's advocacy priorities are outlined in our State, Federal, and Administrative Policy Agendas.
Here are some more ways Prosperity Indiana makes it easy for members to engage:
If you have questions or would like to know more about how Prosperity Indiana’s advocacy supports your work, contact Kathleen Lara, Policy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation (MFCDC) is seeking an AmeriCorps Financial Empowerment member to perform activities that will stabilize and enhance MFCDC’s capacity to deliver financial education services for individuals seeking resident development services including MFCDC and Mapleton Properties rental residents, MFCDC Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) participants and other interested residents living in the Mid-North community.
Qualified applicants will have a high school diploma, have strong communication skills, be dedicated to completing the full six (6) months of service, and have experience interacting with diverse communities and the ability to integrate into an existing community. View the full position description here.
Interested applicants can contact MFCDC's Housing Director Courtney Goodwyn at email@example.com or (317) 800-6609.
On January 24, Prosperity Indiana announced the winners of its annual leadership and program awards. The Prosperity Indiana Summit, held on January 24, 2018, was an occasion to celebrate the leaders and innovators in the community economic development field. The 2018 award winners come from a pool of committed community leaders and innovative programs across Indiana.
Prosperity Indiana Executive Director Andy Fraizer said, “It is my honor to congratulate the 2018 award winners and thank them for their work to strengthen Indiana’s communities.”
“Community economic development is executed and supported by nonprofit, private and public organizations. Impactful work is only possible because of the energy, passion and leadership of practitioners and local neighbors. It is their civic service that makes Indiana prosper.”
Award winners include: Building Better Neighborhoods, Muncie; Mark Gould, 1st Source Bank, South Bend; Larry Gautsche, LaCasa, Goshen; Pat Gamble-Moore, PNC Bank, Indianapolis.
Key Award for Program of the YearSponsored by Ice Miller, LLPPresented to Building Better Neighborhoods, Muncie
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.
Building Better Neighborhoods, a program of Ball State University’s Office of Community Engagement, works to empower Muncie residents to identify and solve community challenges. The program acts as a bridge between the resources of Ball State University and the needs of Muncie neighborhood associations.
Over the past four years, the program has resulted in multiple immersive learning partnerships, customized training programs for neighborhood leaders, an online resource guide and an annual conference tailored to neighborhood associations. In the last academic year, Building Better Neighborhoods supported nine projects in seven neighborhoods, impacting over 12,000 residents and engaging 99 university students.
Other Key Award Nominees:
Robert O. Zdenek Staff Member of the Year AwardSponsored by BrightpointPresented to Mark Gould, 1st Source Bank, South Bend
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.
Mark Gould has spent more than 20 years supporting community organizations and initiatives. He has been active and committed to numerous civic and professional organizations in Indiana where his experience and leadership have earned him the respect of many across the state. His extensive relationships with community economic development and nonprofit organizations throughout Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan, along with his passion and deep knowledge of the area, have raised the bar and set an example for his colleagues. Gould’s passion and tenacity for the field of economic development are apparent in his leadership of community development efforts.
Other Staff Member of the Year Award Nominees:
John Niederman Rural Development Leadership AwardSponsored by Merchants Bank of IndianaPresented to Larry Gautsche, LaCasa, Inc., Goshen
The Rural Development Leadership Award honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in improving the quality of life, influencing the policies, and fostering opportunities for growth and development for the betterment of rural Indiana.
Larry Gautsche has spent his career serving the needs of disadvantaged and disabled individuals and families. During his tenure at LaCasa, the agency has grown exponentially from a small, local agency that primarily focused on improving one property at a time to a highly respected, financially resilient community development corporation that operates 324 units of affordable housing. Gautsche will retire in August, leaving behind a lasting legacy of economic vitality and hope in the communities where he has provided dedicated service.
Other Rural Development Leadership Award Nominees:
Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership AwardSponsored by PNC BankPresented to Pat Gamble-Moore, PNC Bank
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.
Over the course of the last 30 years, Gamble-Moore has become known for her professionalism, wide range of skills, dedication to quality, commitment to excellence, and, above all, commitment to communities and to the people she serves. With her broad experience ranging from corporate to nonprofit sectors, she displays the strengths of dynamic leadership with an exceptional ability to adapt to changing and challenging circumstances. She brings thoughtful and insightful contributions to any endeavor she joins, and her enthusiasm and expertise are highly valued.
Fraizer said, “Pat’s leadership distinguishes a commitment to community-led revitalization efforts across Indiana. Her advocacy for community economic development and understanding of adaptive change and transactional expertise are distinguishing factors for her award.”
Other Leadership Award Nominees:
Small businesses are an integral part of a vibrant community. These local shops, restaurants, and service providers contribute to the character of a place, turning it into a community. Recognizing this, FHLBank Indianapolis has announced a new grant program specifically designed to support these small businesses.
This grant will provide FHLBI members' customers with the tools they need to succeed and create economic opportunities that may not have existed before.
To learn more about how this and other FHLBI programs can help your community, plan on attending one of the Affordable Housing and Community Investment Program Workshops this spring.
March 7 – Evansville, IN
March 8 – Indianapolis, IN
March 15 – South Bend, IN
Know an outstanding individual working in affordable housing and community economic development? FHLBank Indianapolis is seeking nominations for the Community Spirit Award! Nominees must be employed by an FHLBI member financial institution and work in a community lending, Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), or other housing or economic development capacity within the institution.
Deadline for Indiana nominations is June 1, 2018.
Click here for more information
Do you serve low-income residents? Are you looking for strategies to improve your clients’ financial success? Consider joining the Indiana Financial Capability Corps (IFCC)!
Through the IFCC, Prosperity Indiana will place AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to strengthen their capacity for improving the financial capability of their clients. Members will assist their sites with assessing clients’ current financial capacity and assessing the capacity of the organization and its partners to meet client needs. These assessments will allow the member and service site staff to identify gaps in programming and opportunities for improving intake, referrals, and other operational practices to connect residents with appropriate services.
Current IFCC members are assisting their organizations with a wide range of activities, including
Your organization does not have to offer financial services to participate in the IFCC. If you serve low-income clients and are interested in connecting them with resources to improve their financial literacy and capacity, you can benefit from this program!
The IFCC is now recruiting service sites interested in hosting AmeriCorps members completing 24 weeks of service before August 10. Looking for a shorter-term member placement? Contact Rachel Mattingly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your program goals, as shorter terms may be available. Interested organizations should fill our our service site application form.
As session filing deadlines passed and bill lists completed, Prosperity Indiana’s Policy Team has been hard at work tracking legislation and pushing forward key bills on behalf of our members and in line with our 2018 State Priorities. Please review the key bills and updates highlighted below and take action where indicated. Also, please visit our member legislation tracker page for full priority bill lists.
Ask your Senator to Co-sponsor/Support SB 213, to protect access to affordable rental housing for low-income individuals and families (Sponsored by Senator Doug Eckerty)
Prosperity Indiana worked again to introduce this measure to provide clarity for non-profit organizations with Senator Eckerty. The bill has been referred to the Senate Tax and Fiscal Committee and we urgently need your help trying to secure a hearing! Please contact Chairman Holdman and share details of why you support the measure and ask him to hear the bill.
Background: Currently in Indiana, we have a significant lack of affordable rental housing options for low-income individuals and families. Non-profits statewide that wholly own properties and use them to provide safe, affordable housing options for low-income renters help meet this critical need and reduce reliance on emergency shelters. Unfortunately, they have no way of knowing from county to county whether or not their clearly charitable purpose will be recognized for property tax exemption due to vague language in state code. SB 213 establishes a narrow, clear definition, preserving these critical housing options for vulnerable Hoosiers.
Ask your SEnator to co-sponsor/support SB 325 TO PUT A 36% CAP ON PAYDAY LOANS AND CUT DOWN ON PREDATORY LENDING THAT TRAPS LOW-INCOME CONSUMERS IN DEBT (Sponsored by Senator Greg walker)
In recent years, Prosperity Indiana and numerous other advocacy organizations have pushed back against legislative efforts to expand payday lending products, but we had not had legislation we could support to cut down on these predatory products that devastate our communities. This year, we worked to find a legislator willing to introduce a bill to empower low-income borrowers by cutting down on the predatory rates lenders can charge on short-term loans and Senator Greg Walker introduced SB 325. So far, we have had difficulties trying to secure a hearing date, so please help us build support and tell Chairman Perfect why you think it is critical to hear the bill and move this legislation forward.
Background: Predatory loans, offered at triple digit interest rates, destabilize Hoosier families and communities because this debt trap can lead to bankruptcy and housing instability. SB 325 would cap these loans at 36 percent interest, which is the most effective way to stop the cycle of high-cost debt intentionally created by payday lenders. This is the rate the U.S. Department of Defense secured to protect active duty military members and 15 other states have implemented caps of 36 percent or less to protect borrowers. It is a rate that allows wide access to credit without creating an incentive for a lender to seek out distressed borrowers who are unable to repay. Additionally, a new poll shows 88 percent of Hoosiers support a 36 percent rate cap on annual interest for payday loans and seventy-five percent indicated they would be more likely to vote for a legislative candidate who favors lowering the rate to 36 percent.
Ask your Representative to oppose HB 1319 A BILL THAT WOULD AUTHORIZE INSTALLMENT LOANS AT EXTREMELY HIGH INTEREST RATES
(Sponsored by representative martin carbaugh)
Please help us oppose the following measure by finding your State Representative and asking him/her to oppose this bill that will likely be heard in Committee on Wendesday, January 24.
This proposal would authorize a new, longer-term installment loan product from payday lenders that would carry interest rates rate exceeding 200% APR. These rates are significantly higher than other installment loans already offered in Indiana and would hurt vulnerable consumers, trapping them in a cycle of debt and increasing their dependency on food stamps and delaying on medical care and rent, and increasing their likelihood of bankruptcy.
Specifically, the bill:
· Adds a new three-18 month installment loan product, called an “unsecured consumer loan,” to be offered by payday lenders that conservatively would produce loans at around 200 percent APR, but could reach higher depending on how fees and interest are applied;
· Allows all consumer loans up to $54,600 charge up to a 36 percent interest rate. Currently only loans of $2000 or less can charge 36 percent;
· Exempts the finance charge on installment loans from the current felony criminal loan sharking standard of 72 percent APR to allow these loans to reach triple-digit APRs.
Ask Your SEnator to co-sponsor/support SB 422 TO EXPAND RESOURCES AND TOOLS FOR COMMUNITIES TO COMBAT BLIGHT (Sponsored by SEnator Vaneta Becker)
Abandoned properties threaten the safety and stability of Hoosier communities. While the Indiana General Assembly has made significant incremental legislative progress to empower local responses over the past few years, existing tools and resources are unfortunately not equal to the challenges that continue to exist. That is why we seek legislative changes to further empower community redevelopment through acquisition, disposition, and adequate funding for neighborhood revitalization strategies. SB 422, authored by Senator Becker, is based on national best practices and would help improve processes for land banks and/or redevelopment commissions to help them more effectively acquire properties and fund efforts to combat blight.
On Wednesday, January 3, the General Assembly convened for the first day of the 2018 session. Prosperity Indiana’s policy team continued working with legislators to introduce measures that support community development efforts in Indiana, as outlined in our 2018 State Policy Priorities below. Additionally, we are tracking and analyzing bill filings to review measures we will advocate for or against on behalf of our members in this legislative session.
While it is a short session, our network is pushing for some ambitious priorities and we hope our members will join our advocacy efforts by attending our Statehouse Day on Tuesday, January 23. For more information and to RSVP, click here. Stay posted to our blog as we will post our bill tracker lists and details next week.
Prosperity Indiana works diligently to collaborate with state legislators in developing 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. Further, our network supports inclusive communities that allow all Hoosiers prosper, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin or ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender. In 2018, our state policy advocacy will be focused on four critical areas in support of resilient families and vibrant communities.
1. Clarifying Charitable Affordable Housing Property Tax Exemption
Enacting legislation to provide clarity and certainty around tax exemption for 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that own and operate affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families is essential to preserving and expanding quality affordable housing options, which our state currently lacks. Prosperity Indiana will work to establish a uniform, objective standard to ensure that these non-profit organizations receive property tax exemption throughout all of Indiana’s 92 counties.
2. Defending Key Programs that Spur Economic Opportunity
Prosperity Indiana remains committed to ensuring that incentive credit reform proposals do not adversely affect the opportunities for economic success of individuals and families.
3. developing new resources to support community development work
In 2018, Prosperity Indiana will work to build support for sustainable funding sources for community development work. This will include promoting affordable housing production through local affordable housing local housing trust funds, working to establish new partnerships among nonprofit, public and private entities to improve economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income households, such as a community investment tax credit program, as well as identifying resources for communities to effectively combat blight and abandoned property.
4. Protecting consumers, Promoting economic stability
Prosperity Indiana will continue active advocacy to encourage asset building for low-wealth individuals and families, such as working to curtail predatory lending products and practices that disproportionately impact low-income consumers, including payday lending, debt garnishment, and attempts to undermine the judicial foreclosure process in place in Indiana.
Additionally, as we share our key priorities, it is important to highlight for our members key legislative and administrative priorities for the year.
House Agenda: On Thursday, January 4, Speaker Brian Bosma has outlined the following priorities as the key areas of focus for House leadership:
· supporting a funding boost for K-12 schools
· strengthening Indiana’s workforce
· attacking the opioid epidemic
· increasing government efficiency.
Click here to read more.
Senate Agenda: On Monday, January 8, members of the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus will announce their 2018 legislative agenda. For more details on the unveiling, click here.
On November 8, Governor Eric Holcomb released his Next Level Agenda for 2018. Click here for the agenda handout. The proposals are mirrored in some the House leadership priorities for this session and include:
· Cultivating a strong and diverse economy (attracting new talent, supporting the tech sector, preparing for next generation technologies and opportunities, and encouraging sustainable regional development)
· Maintaining and build the state’s infrastructure (better managing the state’s water resources, expanding Indiana’s global economic presence with a fourth port, and improving broadband access, speed and affordability)
· Developing a 21st Century skilled and ready workforce (providing every Hoosier child an effective baseline education infused with skills and attributes that prepare them for life after high school, ensure students graduate from high school set on a pathway that prepares them for college, career training or a quality job, and connecting working-age adults to education and training that leads them directly to employment aligned with industry needs)
Prosperity Indiana is pleased to announce that we have partnered with the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) to provide technical assistance to the City of Rushville using a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rural Technical Assistance grant. Prosperity Indiana will work closely with Brian Sheehan, Director of Special Projects and Mayor Mike Pavey on the project to provide capacity building, leadership development, and facilitate development of an arts council & arts master plan.
“This is a great opportunity for our community. The opportunity to partner with experts in the field of art and leadership development to build greater capacity in our community is something I am very excited to be a part of.” – Brian Sheehan
This technical assistance grant pairs with the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) consultancy the City of Rushville received through the IAC’s program “Open Scene”, available to those that attended their summer creative placemaking workshop. When the City of Rushville applied for an arts consultancy through the Indiana Arts Commission they dreamed big and applied for assistance with an arts master plan for their community. Lewis Ricci, Executive Director of the Indiana Arts Commission said “It’s been really exciting to work with Rushville’s energetic and innovative leaders. This match with Prosperity Indiana will give Rushville more tools to keep building quality of place while celebrating their community’s creativity.” The city wants to build on the Stellar Communities program success and look toward arts as a means of advancing community economic development in their area.
Prosperity Indiana Director of Planning Services, Rose Scovel, was on the consultant team for the Indiana Arts Commission and believed that what Rushville was seeking was a good potential match for the HUD Rural Technical Assistance Program that Prosperity Indiana is connected to through their partner, NALCAB. She encouraged the City of Rushville to apply for technical assistance for an arts master plan, capacity building for a new arts council, and leadership development.
The project work began in early January and will continue through June. The project has four components that will engage residents of the Rushville community: 1) creation of an arts commission and capacity building for the arts commission; 2) leadership development workshops; 3) a resource guide for the arts council; and, 4) an arts master plan. Early in the year Prosperity Indiana will begin interviewing key stakeholders connected to the arts in Rushville and conduct focus groups to advise the development of an arts council. Once an arts council has been appointed, Prosperity Indiana will provide board training. The leadership development component will include workshops on community organizing and civic engagement, and conclude with a community resource fair. Residents are encouraged to attend these workshops, which will be held in February, March, and April.
The process for the arts master plan will include a community survey, focus groups, a visioning workshop, working groups to develop the action plans, and a public rollout of the plan. Residents will be welcome (and encouraged) to participate in all aspects of developing the master plan.
For this project the arts are being construed broadly, including visual arts, performing arts, writing and storytelling, and culinary arts.
For more information about the project contact Rose Scovel, Director of Planning Services at email@example.com or Brian Sheehan firstname.lastname@example.org, Director of Special Projects at the City of Rushville.
A message from Prosperity Indiana's newest staff member:
"Hello, my name is Tierra Jones, and I am the AmeriCorps Program Manager with Prosperity Indiana. I recently graduated from IWU with a Masters in Organizational Leadership. I have experience in the social services field, training and leadership development, recruitment, skills development, and diversity and inclusion. I am an AmeriCorps Alum which truly excites me about the role I am in at Prosperity Indiana. As the AmeriCorps Program Manager, I will oversee AmeriCorps program activities, ensure compliance, manage AmeriCorps members and services, assist in supervision and performance evaluation and much more. I have a wonderful husband, (Jason) and two little girls, Xaniyah (7) Olivia (1)."
We are excited to welcome Tierra to the Prosperity Indiana team! You can contact her at email@example.com.