FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2023
Contact: Rita O’Donohue | (317) 222-1221 x405 | email@example.com
Announcing Prosperity Indiana’s 2023 Award Winners!
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Prosperity Indiana announced the winners of its annual leadership and program awards at the 2023 Prosperity Indiana Summit on February 1. The Summit Awards Ceremony was an occasion to celebrate the leaders and innovators in the community economic development field. Winners were nominated by a nominating committee and chosen by a selection committee based on criteria established for each award.
"I couldn't imagine a room full of more passionate and driven people who make it their business every day to strengthen our communities. The nominees for this year's Prosperity Indiana awards were incredibly impressive," said Jessica Love, Executive Director for Prosperity Indiana. "While many individuals and programs are worthy of recognition, we are proud to celebrate a few of the top leaders and innovators in our field."
Award winners include George Guy, Bo Beaulieu, Anthony Bridgeman, and the Master It Series for Inmates at Lacasa, Inc.
The Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award, sponsored by First Financial Bank and co-presented with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, distinguishes an individual who has consistently provided excellent leadership, advocacy, support, and innovation in community economic development for many years.
Presented to: George Guy, Fort Wayne Housing Authority
Having spent the past 25 years developing solutions to improve the quality of life for families in underserved communities, George Guy oversees a portfolio of over 4,000 public housing units, vouchers, and affordable housing units and has remained steadfast in his commitment to building programs that will lift families from poverty.
Guy has helped residents overcome barriers to self-sufficiency by creating a transportation readiness employment and training program to overcome his city's public transportation limitations, developed partnerships with local school districts to offer tutoring and resources that will ensure children in the community are reading at grade level, and provided critical support for families dealing with unique needs, such as AIDS, aging out of foster care, homelessness, and victims of domestic violence.
Under Guy's innovative leadership, the housing authority partnered on a new affordable housing development, Posterity Scholar House. This development is an energy-efficient and technologically innovative, multi-family development that features an ecological and comprehensive education center of community-based programs and services for low-income and underserved single-parent families. He is also working to grow the next generation of housing leaders and activists through the creation of a Leadership Academy.
Other Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award nominees include:
The John Niederman Rural Development Leadership Award, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, is designed to celebrate outstanding leaders in the field of rural community economic development.
Presented to: Bo Beaulieu, Purdue University
A sociologist focused on low-income and minority populations by trade, Bo Beaulieu has spent more than 40 years developing and implementing capacity building programming in rural Indiana through Purdue Extension and Purdue Center for Regional Development.
Beaulieu created the Hometown Collaboration Initiative and has worked with Auburn and Corydon to establish key stakeholder groups within each community to work exclusively with a site coach to support growth opportunities. As a result of these growth opportunities, these communities were able to build on the strengths of their key stakeholder group to implement programs and projects to improve their rural community.
Beaulieu also created the Rural Opportunity Zone Initiative (ROZI), allowing rural communities to partner with Purdue to leverage funding to create a plan to attract private investment. Washington, Newton, and DeKalb Counties all had an economic development prospectus developed for them through ROZI to attract investment in housing, small business, and industrial sites in their communities.
Other Rural Development Leadership Award nominees include:
The Robert O. Zdenek Staff Member of the Year Award, sponsored by Brightpoint, recognizes the outstanding professional leadership and commitment of a staff person working for a community economic development organization.
Presented to: Anthony Bridgeman, PNC Bank
Anthony Bridgeman is passionate about real estate finance, urban planning, government relations, and event management. His career includes roles in large neighborhood improvement projects, convening coalitions, community outreach, case management, educational support services, and post-secondary education scholarships.
Having previously been a Multifamily Housing Tax Credit Analyst at IHCDA and a Loan Specialist at Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Bridgeman's current role is said to require “patience, unique insights and understanding of a broad range of community development tools like HOME, CDBG, New Market Tax Credits, Opportunity Zones, and more to serve client’s needs.”
Bridgeman serves on a variety of boards and speaks regularly on an array of topics thanks to vast expertise related to education, community development, and human services. Additionally, he was instrumental in building momentum to highlight an unsung Black American in his community, Marshall "Major" Taylor.
Other Staff Member of the Year nominees include:
The Key Award for Supportive Services Program of the Year, sponsored by Merchants Bank of Indiana, honors excellence and innovation in a service-oriented community development initiative.
Presented to: Master It Series for Inmates, Lacasa, Inc.
Through partnerships with local agencies and employers, the Master It Series for Inmates connects Lacasa with people who would normally have been out of the organization's reach. The program involved collaboration between more than 25 partners to benefit nearly 200 participants over the past year. Volunteers include bankers, loan originators, realtors, and other housing and financial industry professionals.
The program provides financial education courses paired with low-barrier banking and credit-building opportunities, including free checking and savings accounts as well as credit builder loans for those who complete the coursework. While originally adapted to educate inmates in the men's ward of the local jail, three of the courses have been modified and are being taught to female inmates as well.
Other Key Award nominees include:
Garvin Lofts, ECHO Housing Corporation
HomePower, Intend Indiana
Triumph Senior Care
Special Olympics, Hamilton County
Brown Faces Green Spaces, Gary Community Partnership Corporation
Level Up Program, United Way Northwest Indiana
Housing Hub Initiative, Horizon House
About Prosperity Indiana
The Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources, and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana’s network has grown to nearly 200 organizations, representing thousands of practitioners statewide from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.