• 17 Mar 2017 5:30 PM | Deleted user

    On Thursday, March 16, a draft of President Trump’s proposed FY18 Budget was released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf).  While the budget was not comprehensive in program-by-program specifics, it confirms earlier fears of deep cuts to critical community development programs Hoosiers rely on.  Below are some of the key findings that affect the diverse programs and interests of Prosperity Indiana members.  In light of the dramatic and damaging impact this proposal would across our state, please stay tuned to our blog for updates and be sure to respond to our action alert to be sent via email next week.

    Department of Housing and Urban Development

    • Eliminates funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, which the OMB claims is a program that “is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results.” The President’s budget would, as the draft states, “devolve community and economic development activities to the State and local level.”  In FY16, Indiana’s entitlement and non-entitlement communities received a combined total of $60,833,178 in federal investment in, among other activities:
      • acquisition, demolition, and sale of real property
      • construction of public facilities
      • housing counseling
      • housing rehabilitation and repair
      • housing counseling
      • homeownership assistance
      • lead abatement programs
      • public services
      • historic preservation
      • energy conservation
      • provision of assistance to entities in support of private-sector job creation
    • Eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which the administration claims is ineffective as well.  In FY16, Indiana’s entitlement and non-entitlement communities received a combined total of $18,963,083 178 in federal investment in:
      • homeownership-occupied rehabilitation
      • homebuyer assistance
      • acquisition, rehabilitation, or construction of rental housing
      • tenant-based rental assistance
    • Eliminates funding for the Choice Neighborhoods Program, designed to support the development of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans
    • Eliminates funding for the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, which awards grant funds to non-profit organizations to purchase home sites and develop or improve the infrastructure needed to set the stage for sweat equity and volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families.
    • Eliminates funding for Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing, which helps build the capacity of community development corporations (CDCs) and community housing development organizations (CHDOs) making an impact in our communities statewide
    • The proposal’s only substantial increase includes an increase of $20 million for the lead-safe homes program, budgeting $130 million for this effort

    Department of Education

    • The proposal would eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before and after-school programs as well as summer programs that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

    Department of Energy

    • The draft calls for the elimination of the Department’s weatherization assistance program, which provides grants to states to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. States, which then provide the funds to local governments and nonprofit agencies, to provide weatherization services to those in need using the latest technologies for home energy upgrades.  

    Department of Health and Human Services

    • Here again, the budget proposal makes sweeping cuts, eliminating all discretionary programs within the Department’s Office of Community Services.  These critical programs aimed at supporting low-income individuals and families include:
      • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) The administration claims in the budget proposal that “LIHEAP is a lower-impact program and is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.” Indiana's LIHEAP provides financial assistance to low-income households at up to 150% Federal Poverty Level.  The program help prevent utility companies from shutting off home heating service to low-income families in cold months provides limited funds for the purchase of fans during summer months
      • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).  The administration claims in the budget proposal that, “CSBG funds services that are duplicative of other Federal programs, such as emergency food assistance and employment services, and is also a limited-impact program.”   The CSBG program provides funds Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities by: 
        • helping individuals and families secure and retain meaningful employment
        • attain an adequate education, improve the use of available income
        • obtain adequate housing
        • obtain emergency assistance, including health and nutrition service
        • remove obstacles which block the achievement of self-sufficiency
        • achieve greater participation in the affairs of the community
      • The only bright spot identified for this program budget would be a $500 million increase above 2016 enacted levels to “expand opioid misuse prevention efforts and to increase access to treatment and recovery services to help Americans who are misusing opioids get the help they need,” according to the draft

    Department of Labor

    • The proposal would eliminate grants, such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), claiming they are “ineffective, duplicative, and peripheral job training grants”
    • It would also cut funding by eliminating funds for underperforming Job Corps centers
    • Federal support for job training and employment service formula grants would also be cut
    • Lastly, the plan eliminates the Department’s technical assistance grants within the Office of Disability Employment Policy, choosing instead to launch an early intervention demonstration project to “allow States to test and evaluate methods that help individuals with disabilities remain attached to or reconnect to the labor market”

    Department of Transportation

    • The plan would limit funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program (New Starts) to projects with existing full funding grant agreements only
    • It would also eliminates funding the TIGER discretionary grant program that provides capital for projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural

    Department of Treasury

    • The proposal would eliminates funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund grants, claiming it would save $210 million not that the industry is now 20 years old and “private institutions have ready access to the capital needed to extend credit and provide financial services to underserved communities”

    Environmental Protection Agency

    • President Trump’s budget proposes to “rein in Superfund administrative costs and emphasizes efficiency efforts by funding the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account at $762 million, $330 million below the 2017” level. This is particularly concerning in light of the lead housing crisis in East Chicago and other areas of the country and our state that may have been

    Small Business Administration

    • The proposal would eliminate PRIME technical assistance grants, Regional Innovation Clusters, and Growth Accelerators. The Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) provides assistance to various organizations. These organizations help low-income entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and education to gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

    Legal Services

    • The Trump budget would also target the Legal Services Corp., an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The agency promotes equal access to justice by providing funding to 134 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state to address cases of wrongful eviction, custody disputes, child support, domestic violence, among many others.

    How Can I Stand Up for Critical Community Development Programs?

    Stay tuned for our Action Alert to go to out to our members via email next week urging Indiana’s congressional delegation next week to oppose these damaging proposed cuts.

    Join the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and other leaders of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) for a webinar on Monday, March 20, entitled “How Advocates Can Help Stop President Trump’s $7 Billion Cut to HUD In Its Tracks,” by clicking on this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/712995188908614659

    Further Reading:

  • 15 Mar 2017 11:33 AM | Deleted user

    accessABILITY is currently seeking individuals to serve on their Board of Directors. accessABILITY is a 501(c)3 organization committed to helping individuals make the most out of life and the least out of disability.  They execute their mission by providing education and advocacy to all members of the community; by increasing awareness of the rights, needs and freedom of choice of individuals with disabilities; and by eliminating barriers that impede inclusion and equity.   All services are provided free of charge.

    The center is located in Indianapolis and serves the counties of:  Marion, Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson and Shelby. 

    Job Overview:

    The accessABILITY Board of Directors governs the overall execution of the organization’s mission.  Principally, the Board manages organizational finances and sets long term priorities for programs and services.  Additionally, the Board oversees the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is responsible for the day-to-day management of accessABILITY.  Overall, the members of the Board contribute the educational, management, legal, and financial skills needed to ensure long term organizational stability and ensure year-to-year excellence for accessABILITY’s services. 

    Finally, Fifty-one percent (51%) of the Board of Directors must be individuals with disabilities. 

    The Board of Directors currently has no maximum number of directors.  Terms are for three years. 


    Building advocacy and inclusive communities with, and for, people who have disabilities.

    accessABILITY’s mission is reflected in the following beliefs:

    • Consumer-controlled organizations ensure that the will and needs of people with disabilities are foremost—thus no less than 51% of our staff and governing board are persons with a disability.
    • Accessible communities benefit everyone.
    • Disability is a natural part of life.
    • Full inclusion in community life is the desired outcome for all people.

    Interested parties should contact Tammy Themel, CEO & Executive Director, at tthemel@abilityindiana.org

    For more information about accessABILITY, visit www.abilityindiana.org.

  • 14 Mar 2017 10:43 AM | Jessica Love

    Prosperity Indiana is still seeking funds to drive down the costs associated with roll-out of a new member benefit this year, the Outcomes Platform. But we've been talking about it with potential partners and already have organizations committed to a pilot of the program. So, we wanted to more broadly communicate the intent of the endeavor. We outlined the need for the new data collection, tracking and outcomes reporting solution in the article below, recently published by Charitable Advisors: 

    Meeting a Need No Longer Enough

    Generally, nonprofits are established to make a difference for the people or places they serve. As a result, the impact and outcomes are inherent in the work.

    But these days, meeting an individual or community need is generally not good enough for a nonprofit to thrive, or even survive, in a world “competing” for donations, sponsorships and grants. Nonprofits must prove they are doing the good they set out to accomplish – and that they’re about outcomes as much or more than they are about outputs.

    The National Council of Nonprofits cites this same challenge in an article, titled Impact and Evaluation of Outcomes. The article highlights concepts from Leap of Reason (2011). Of note is that measuring outcomes is not just about attracting resources to your nonprofit, but about mission. A nonprofit will only know that it is indeed helping individuals, solving problems in communities, and protecting the environment, etc., if it is evaluating its performance and then communicating the impact. The article also provides helpful links to numerous resources to improve outcome measurement.

    Unfortunately, tracking outcomes is often disjointed from one organization to another and from one funder to another. Additionally, outcomes are often just tracked to meet external requirements or cite specific accomplishments, and may not tell the larger story of the organization’s or program’s success.

    According to Andrew Means, co-founder of the Impact Lab and founder of Data Analysts for Social Good, technology is one example. The nonprofit sector often doesn’t see technology as a set of tools created to make jobs better. Means suggested that nonprofits, acting as partners in creating a social sector powered by information, have a huge opportunity “to actually use data and data technology to inform the way that we program.”

    He also suggested that nonprofits beginning to use data to measure impact should first start “where they are.” As their work advances, they should seek to invest wisely and align themselves with data experts so as to not waste time with bad data. It is critical, according to Means that nonprofits work together to take advantage of the data.

    “No nonprofit has the market concentration of Amazon, or Netflix, or Google. We need to come together, and share our data, work more collaboratively with one another to really understand and identify ways of increasing our impact. If you want to do really great data work, you have to do it collaboratively with other organizations,” he said.

    That’s where a new initiative of Prosperity Indiana – the Outcomes Platform – will support its members in a more meaningful way.

    In a survey of the membership, 90 percent of respondents said they use data to support their programs and to document and demonstrate success. More than half of all respondents indicated Excel is the tracking tool of choice.

    Prosperity Indiana values the importance of developing specific, measureable, aggressive yet achievable, realistic and time-bound goals, but realizes that without a dynamic system for collecting, measuring and tracking goals, strategies, actions and accomplishments, it’s difficult to determine whether those aspirations were achieved.

    Because limitations are inherent across the field and clearly identified by Prosperity Indiana’s member survey, Prosperity Indiana wants to provide a way to overcome the challenges of time, staff and financial resources and training.

    Providing/developing a cloud-based system for use across the membership to collectively measure impact by tracking of organizational outcomes and planning initiatives against community-level indicators, Prosperity Indiana’s new data collection system will give a clearer picture of impact through a tool that creates visual representations of the data with a web embed option.

    Through an evolving relationship with an award-winning online database developer, Insightformation, Prosperity Indiana hopes to provide access to this cloud-based tool for at least 100 nonprofit members with the specific goal of meeting the community economic development sector’s diverse data needs.

    And according to the authors of the Stanford Social Innovation Review article in July 2015, Architecting for Data, we are right on track.

    Prosperity Indiana seeks to provide a system that meets four criteria: “organized (stored in a consistent structure), well described (documented formally or informally so folks know what it is and where it came from), accessible (easy available for folks to find and use), and usable (stored in a format people in your organization know how to wrangle).”

    The initiative

    Goals of Prosperity Indiana’s initiative include providing the system at low- or no-cost, reducing the amount of staff time it takes to track outcomes while providing a better system for doing so, and developing in-house capacity to provide training and technical assistance to members on the data collection, measurement and reporting processes. Prosperity Indiana is also seeking collaboration with other associations and funders to develop a system that meets the needs of the field in such an all-encompassing way that reporting redundancies can be eliminated.

    Those interested in learning more about Prosperity Indiana’s Outcomes Platform may contact Jessica Love, Associate Executive Director, at jlove@prosperityindiana.org.

  • 09 Mar 2017 10:05 AM | Deleted user

    Prosperity Indiana is excited to announce our 2017 Training Calendar! See below for training topics, dates, and links to register. All trainings are $50 for members, $100 for non-members.

    Universal Design/Build

    April 4-5, Indianapolis

    Universal Design/Build, a course through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), presents a shift in the approach to residential design and construction. Comfort and convenience regardless of age, stature or ability is the hallmark of inclusive design. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) courses are not a pre-requisite and CAPS graduates will find benefit by expanding into the broader spectrum of universal design that offers a much wider target audience.

    Certified Green Building Professional

    June 5-6, Indianapolis

    Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) from Build It Green introduces participants to the overarching principles of green building and the systems approach to the design, construction, and operation of residential buildings. Participants will develop an understanding of energy efficiency, resource conservation, water conservation, and indoor air quality, and how they can effectively convey the importance of these building principles to homeowners.

    Affordable Housing Development for Homeownership

    July 25-26, Indianapolis (tentative)

    This training will explore the challenges to developing affordable housing for homeownership, including predevelopment work such as land acquisition, subdivision, and construction finance. Trainers will address the differences between development of scattered sites and subdivisions. They'll also address finance requirements often associated with funding for homeownership development and the potential ramifications of these requirements for developers.

    Abandoned Housing Strategies 201

    August 22-23, Indianapolis

    The Center for Community Progress will lead this training, working with participants to identify key strategic issues in their communities and to understand appropriate tools and interventions. As a national leader on solutions for vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties, the Center for Community Progress serves as the leading resource for local, state, and federal policies and best practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization, from blight prevention and strategic code enforcement through the acquisition and management of problem properties to their productive reuse.

    Comprehensive Rural Development

    September 13-14, Indianapolis (tentative)

    Practitioners in rural areas often wear multiple hats, addressing the interrelated issues of housing, infrastructure, transportation, brownfield redevelopment, and economic development in an agricultural community. This training will address successful strategies for rural development.

    Comparing Residential Green Building Certifications

    September 13-14, Indianapolis

    The Green Home Institute supports homeowners and builders in making healthier and more sustainable choices in housing renovation and construction. This course will introduce participants to several green building certification programs which offer points on Indiana's QAP. After this training, participants will walk away better prepared to make decisions about how to ensure sustainability of their projects.

    Community Engagement

    October 25-26, Indianapolis (tentative)

    This training will provide practical tools and strategies for engaging the community. The first day will include a general overview of engagement strategies and situations. The second day of training will include sessions for how to target community engagement strategies for particular populations. Trainers will discuss common misperceptions, cultural differences, and effective strategies for ensuring that all voices in the community are heard.

    Thank you to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, which underwrites our training program.

    Interested in presenting at a Prosperity Indiana training? Respond to one of our RFPs.

    If you have any questions about training with Prosperity Indiana, please contact Rachel Mattingly at rmattingly@prosperityindiana.org.

  • 08 Mar 2017 9:00 AM | Jessica Love

    Prosperity Indiana partner InsightFormation is hosting a free, 3-part webinar series on battling opioid abuse, a growing problem in Indiana. Part 1 was held in February, and Part 2 will be held at 11 am (EDT) on March 14.

    Over 100 people attended Part 1, Developing and Implementing a Comprehensive Strategy, of The NOpioid Series. If you missed it, you can access it on-demand here.   (Hover over the bottom of the screen to access the link for the recording.)

    To participate in the second webinar, Using New Technologies, register here. This session features two leading technologies that can streamline and accelerate teamwork and information sharing across a large coalition.

    The approach and tools provided through The NOpioid Series are meant to present high-impact ways to address both the urgency and complexity of the issue. Two recent editorials in the Indiana Economic Digest underscore concerns around this community issue:

    Indiana needs to get serious about opioids

    Attacking opioid epidemic a complex task

    More on Part 2 of The NOpioid Series - In this LIVE 60-minute session, you'll learn:

    1. Specific ways your community can build on a shared strategy framework to dramatically improve collaboration and proactively address many facets of the opioid/heroin crisis

    2. How InsightVision, an online strategy management platform, can align, monitor, and manage cross-sector, multi-stakeholder teamwork across the three key components of addressing the opioid/heroin crisis--prevention, treatment, and recovery

    3. How XCare Community streamlines and enhances care coordination to support a community wide effort to engage community resources to work with individuals at risk, dealing with prevention, addiction, or in recovery 

  • 07 Mar 2017 1:05 PM | Jessica Love

    Prosperity Indiana member Harrison Center for the Arts is now one of four Indiana groups to meet a crowdfunding goal that earns them matching funds from the state's CreatINg Places program. 

    The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) launched its crowdgranting program utilizing the civic crowdfunding platform, Patronicity, to host the projects online. Up to $1 million will be awarded by IHCDA through the CreatINg Places initiative, by investing in projects ranging in cost from $10,000 to $100,000. 

    For more on the Harrison Center's Pre-Enactment Theater project, which will receive $50,000 from IHCDA, read this blog. To see the status of other Indiana projects on Patronity, check this page. To learn more about the CreatINg Places program through a webinar Prosperity Indiana hosted with Patronicity, go to Learn on our website, click "Webinars" and log-in for member-only access. 

    The Indiana Economic Digest article on this topic is here

  • 03 Mar 2017 9:12 AM | Deleted user

    Community Leadership is essential to the work of Community Foundations.  But what core skills, basic strategies, and critical tools are needed to maximize the potential of place and catalyze resources for your community?

    Community Foundation members & partners: Reserve a limited seat at the Council’s Community and Economic Development for Community Foundations in Indianapolis on April 6, 2017.  Or forward to a staff or board member this unique training!

    Co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  Speakers and participants will include experts from the Council on Foundations, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and several philanthropic and economic development institutions. Our very own Andy Fraizer, Executive Director of Prosperity Indiana, will be presenting in two of the sessions to share how comprehensive community development is really the work of collective impact and the role of adaptive leadership. 

    Do you see complexity in your work and seek strategies to adapt yourself, organization and community for the difficult work of social change?    

    • Explore adaptive community leadership and impact investing
    • Dive into grantmaking for economic development
    • Enhance core competency skills to effectively exercise leadership
    • Take Community Leadership to the next level for your Foundation

    Attend this workshop to voice your assumptions, create energy for the important work you do with your colleagues, and explore practical tools for mobilizing people, clarifying what matters most, and creating impact.

    Learn more online and Register Today.

  • 02 Mar 2017 11:21 AM | Deleted user

    The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI), a member of Prosperity Indiana, recently announced that it has been awarded a $125,000 “Communities Against Hate” rapid-response grant by the Open Society Foundations. This funding initiative was a national competition awarding a total of $3 million in funds nationwide.

    “Although we are disheartened at the escalation of hate directed at Hoosiers in recent months, we are incredibly appreciative that the Open Society Foundations offered this opportunity and chose the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana for receipt of funds to attempt to confront this hate,” stated Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the FHCCI. “We look forward to using these needed funds to help those in our community take a stand against hate and provide needed resources and training.”

    The Communities Against Hate rapid-response initiative aims to respond to what communities believe is of greatest value to support, protect, and empower those who are targets of hateful acts and rhetoric. The grants are awarded to organizations that are well positioned to provide an array of responses to acts of hate.

    Click here to read the full press release and learn more about FHCCI's plans.

  • 28 Feb 2017 9:30 PM | Deleted user

    Today, the Senate voted to advance another critical Prosperity Indiana proposal, SB 154, a bill that address asset limits for SNAP benefits.  While the bill was amended to increase the asset limit from it's current level of $2,250 to $10,000, instead of eliminated the test altogether, this still represents a significant improvement to help vulnerable Hoosiers in need of food assistance attain economic sufficiency.  For more details on the bill, click here to read our blog coverage.

  • 28 Feb 2017 9:00 PM | Deleted user

    Today, the Senate approved SB 227, a bill Prosperity Indiana worked to introduce and shepherd to extend foreclosure counseling resources in the form of the foreclosure filing fee by a vote of 39-10.  For details on the legislation and our advocacy, click here to read our blog post.

Policy News

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