• 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.

  • 06 Dec 2016 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    Member organizations of Prosperity Indiana are on the frontline in local communities tackling the causes and effects of poverty. In consultation with current member Indiana Legal Services Inc. and partner the Community Development Clinic at University of Notre Dame, we believe the support of a legal aid organization to support these member organizations is a missing resource that Prosperity Indiana may be able to support. 

    We need data to better understand what legal needs exist in our membership and partnership networks and how Prosperity Indiana may address these needs as part of a comprehensive bundle of services. Please complete this five-minute survey on how your organization and your community partners use legal services in pursuit of community economic development and poverty eradication. 


    We understand strategies for tackling poverty, creating assets and investment for low wealth communities, and meeting local needs can utilize a variety of incorporation strategies—nonprofit, cooperative, b-corps, and other social impact organizations and corporations. Please share this survey widely.

    Prosperity Indiana is exploring a multi-pronged strategy. Hire a staff attorney able to meet the specific legal needs at a particular time on a discounted fee for service basis for member organizations. Also, identify a statewide pro bono pool of attorneys to meet the needs of community development organizations serving people and places experiencing poverty. We could coordinate and track volunteer attorneys to ensure the timely delivery of services. We envision recruiting lawyers across a diversity of practice areas (real estate, business, intellectual property, nonprofit, tax, finance, labor, etc.) to provide legal assistance to community-based organizations. Lastly, share information and model documents among attorneys. 

    Thank you in advance for your participation.

  • 29 Nov 2016 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Prosperity Indiana's partners at the Indiana Institute for Working Families are hiring a Legislative and Communications Assistant for the 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly. Do you know someone with a commitment to Indiana's working families who'd like to gain experience learning the policy process in the Statehouse? This could be the job for them. The Institute is accepting applications through December 9, 2016. 

    Download the PDF job description here.

  • 29 Nov 2016 9:48 AM | Anonymous

    Prosperity Indiana is the state partner and member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed cutting federal spending for everything but defense over the next ten years—a plan that could decimate affordable housing programs and increase housing poverty and homelessness.

    NLIHC and the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) are preparing a national report on the broad, positive impacts of Department of Housing and Urban Development and US Department of Agriculture (USDA)  affordable housing programs to share with Members of Congress. As the state partner, we are helping to collect a wide range of success stories to demonstrate how these programs have helped low income families living in rural, suburban, and urban communities nationwide.

    It is important that we collect Indiana success stories. Senator-elect Young, Represenatives Brooks, Bucshon, and Messer are key Members of Congress for messaging.  Submit a success story here. The deadline to submit a success story is December 15, 2016. The report is slated for publication in early 2017.

  • 28 Nov 2016 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Prosperity Indiana announces Allyson Mitchell as the organization’s Director of Sustainability. Mitchell will lead the organization’s strategies to integrate environmental sustainability into the network of nonprofit, government, and other community and business leaders committed to comprehensive community development. Andy Fraizer, Prosperity Indiana’s Executive Director, said “Allyson joining the team brings additional perspective and expertise to our work. Prosperous communities are socially just, environmentally sustainable, and transformed by local initiative.”

    The Director of Sustainability develops programming that engages, coordinates, and convenes members to help them integrate sustainability principles and practices into their communities and organizations. The position is a technical assistance resource on sustainability, including energy systems, green infrastructure, community resiliency, building sciences, food systems, and waste management.

    Allyson Mitchell

    Before joining the staff of Prosperity Indiana, Mitchell owned a sustainability planning and consulting company and worked with Prosperity Indiana on the development and implementation of the first phase of the Solar Uniting Neighbors Program. She has an extensive background in environmental sustainability, public policy, design, and law. Mitchell has worked in the fields of landscape architecture, commercial real estate development, nonprofit management, and higher education. Formerly, she was a founding member of the City of Indianapolis’ Office of Sustainability. 

    Mitchell graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Landscape Horticulture & Design and immediately went on to graduate studies at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment to complete a Master of Landscape Architecture degree. In 2012, she graduated from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. In her spare time, Mitchell teaches a graduate-level course, Sustainability Assessment, at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Mitchell is from Greensburg, Ind. and lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two young sons.

  • 25 Nov 2016 5:52 PM | Deleted user

    Status of the Appointment:

    Despite a confirmation reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Dr. Ben Carson had accepted the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the paper issued a correction statement quoting Alonso Williams, Carson’s spokesman, as saying “President-elect Donald Trump is considering Ben Carson to be the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A previous version of this article incorrectly said that he was offered and accepted the post, citing Mr. Carson’s spokesman. (Nov. 23)

    The premature announcement follows a Nov. 22 tweet from President-elect Trump, “I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD. I've gotten to know him well--he's a greatly talented person who loves people!”

    That tweet was unexpected as many earlier articles speculated that candidates for the position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) featured well-known names in the housing field such as Pam Patenaude, the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America's Families and Bob Woodson, the founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.

    One day later, Carson posted the following message on his Facebook account, fueling rumors he was likely to accept the post.

    “Winning the presidential election was only the first step for those who love traditional America and do not wish to fundamentally change it. Now the hard work begins of restoring the values that made us great. We must bring back the compassion and the unity that empowers us and banish the divisiveness that weakens us. After serious discussions with the Trump transition team, I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone. We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical infrastructure and our spiritual infrastructure is solid. An announcement is forthcoming about my role in helping to make America great again.”

    It now seems the candidate for the position will be taking the long Thanksgiving weekend to mull the decision, as he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that he would be “thinking and praying over it seriously over the holiday. Our inner cities are in terrible shape. They definitely need some real attention. There have been so many promises made and nothing has been done. So it certainly is something that has been a long-term interest of mine.”

    If accepted, this would put Carson at the helm of the 50-year-old agency, charged with overseeing housing programs that affect over 5 million low-income households, through managing the Federal Housing Administration, public housing, low-income rental assistance, and homelessness programs, to name a few.  

    This offer under consideration by Carson poses a number of questions for housing and community development advocates as little is known about what the former presidential candidate’s specific positions on federal housing policies. 


    According to Carson’s autobiography, he was raised in a single-parent, low-income household in Detroit and later in life, became a renowned in the pediatric neurosurgery department at Johns Hopkins Hospital before eventually entering the political arena.  In 2015, he entered the race to become the Republican nominee for President and after failing to secure the nomination, he became a highly visible surrogate for President-elect Trump.

    Carson’s upbringing seems to have influenced a number of his social policy positions that may shed light on his views on federal programs designed to support low-income households.  A 2015 article from the Washington Post quoted Carson as saying, “I don’t want to get rid of any safety net programs. I want to create an environment where they won’t be needed.”

    A 2014 article from Politico provided additional detail on this stance, quoting Carson in a conversation surrounding education issues as saying:

     “What I prefer is to create mechanisms whereby all people can move upward. If you happen to be in an affluent community, there’s a lot more money for the schools, better facilities, everything. All that does is perpetuate the situation. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the money in a pot and redistribute it throughout the country so that public schools are equal, whether you’re in a poor area or a wealthy area?”

    In yet another article regarding his economic policy positions from the Baltimore Sun in 2015, then candidate Carson was quoted as saying, "Most of the people that I have heard from in the political arena, they say, 'one of the big solutions to our problems is we have to remove the entitlements,'" Carson said. "And I say, no, what you have to do is fix the economy. ... When people have viable options, that's when you start pulling entitlements."

    Beyond those references to economic mobility and federal social programs, the most specific information to be gleaned regarding his stance on housing programs is from a 2015 op-ed Carson wrote for the Washington Times on the Obama Administration’s efforts to address housing discrimination through the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule.  AFFH is a federal rule stating that local governments and states that receive Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), as well as public housing agencies (PHAs) are required to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act.  The regulation is aimed at strengthening local jurisdictions’ and public housing agencies’ fair housing obligations, through an improved structure and process whereby HUD provides program participants with guidance, data, and an assessment template from which they would complete an assessment of fair housing (the AFH). 

    Previous blog posts from Prosperity Indiana (formerly IACED) explaining AFFH can be found below:

    From Carson’s op-ed stance, his appointment to the HUD post would be concerning for Prosperity Indiana, as our organization advocates to uphold AFFH on the grounds it better 

    provides fair housing choice, reduces ethnic and racial concentrations of poverty, improves access to transportation, and improves quality of life for all Hoosiers regardless of race, color, religion, disability, or familial status.  

     In that op-ed, Carson characterized the AFFH effort the following way:

    “Undaunted by the failed socialist experiments of the 1980s, the Obama administration has recently implemented a new Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule designed to “desegregate” housing by withholding funds from communities that fail to demonstrate their projects “affirmatively further” fair housing.”

    He went on to compare it to other seemingly well-intended efforts to decrease desegregation, such as busing to reduce segregation in schools as exacerbating the issues instead of improving them.  Carson does point out that segregation and wealth disparity in the country’s communities were not entirely the result of forced integration, stating, “Other private and public housing policies such as redlining, restrictive covenants, discriminatory steering by real estate agents, and restricted access to private capital — all attempts at social engineering — exacerbated the suburban segregation in the 1970s and ‘80s.”  It is clear in the article, however, that he views the AFFH rule as a government overstep that will not achieve its intended aims.

    “It is true that the Fair Housing Act and other laws have greatly reduced explicit discrimination in housing, but significant disparities in housing availability and quality persist. To address them, The Obama administration’s new agency rules rely on a tortured reading of the Fair Housing laws to empower the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “affirmatively promote” fair housing, even in the absence of explicit discrimination.  The new rule would not only condition the grant of HUD funds to municipalities on building affordable housing as is the case today, but would require that such affordable housing be built primarily in wealthier neighborhoods with few current minority residents and that the new housing be aggressively marketed to minorities. In practice, the rule would fundamentally change the nature of some communities from primarily single-family to largely apartment-based areas by encouraging municipalities to strike down housing ordinances that have no overtly (or even intended) discriminatory purpose — including race-neutral zoning restrictions on lot sizes and limits on multi-unit dwellings, all in the name of promoting diversity… There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous.”

    Prosperity Indiana’s policy team will continue to follow any new statements from Carson regarding this position and any revealing statements on a potential housing and community development agenda should he accept the role to lead HUD. Stay tuned next week for updates on this announcement and additional coverage of cabinet appointments likely to impact the work of Prosperity Indiana members.

    What Our Partners Are Saying:

    National partners of Prosperity Indiana have begun to weigh in on the announcement, given the President-elect’s stated strong consideration of Carson for the role.  The following press release was issued Wednesday, Nov. 23, by Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/7316. Read speculation on additional candidates for the HUD Secretary from Rooflines, blog of Shelterforce.

  • 18 Nov 2016 3:41 PM | Jessica Love

    The following is part of a special feature series to commemorate IACED’s 30th anniversary by highlighting past community development award winners. Mark Lindenlaub was the 2012 recipient of the Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award. IACED’s 30th Anniversary Celebration was held November 16, 2016 during the Prosperity Indiana Summit. During that celebration, IACED officially launched its new brand, Prosperity Indiana. 

    Mark Lindenlaub’s career may have taken some twists and turns – from landscape architecture to affordable housing to senior services. But there’s a common thread that has lured him to all of the work he’s done: finding problems needing a solution. And over the years, managing nonprofits has provided plenty of opportunities to do just that. Armed with degrees in environmental design, landscape architecture, and an MBA, Lindenlaub thought he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his career.

    “I think everybody, when they’re in college, has a vision of what kind of change they want to make in the world and the impact that they want to have,” Lindenlaub said.

    But the realities of the field and external influences, like the economy, made him think twice about his direction. So, he ultimately “traded in wingtips for work boots” and went to work in Columbus.

    “The economy was not great in the early ’90s. It was a slow time. A lot of practitioners went into teaching. That was a turning point,” Lindenlaub said. “I really had made a decision to find something that would be personally fulfilling to me. And that was housing. It was an opportunity, I felt, to do work that would impact people in a positive way.”

    But it was landscape architecture that first brought the West Lafayette native to Columbus, where the entirety of his career in affordable housing has played out. He worked on the Mill Race Park project in Columbus, which received two landscape architecture awards for its unique design that is accommodating to the annual flooding that the area experiences. When that work was winding down, he became aware of the opportunity at Housing Partnerships, Inc.

    While he didn’t have a resume that touted experience in managing a nonprofit or affordable housing, he certainly had transferable skills that made him a good fit. He was hired as the executive director of HPI in 1993.

    “You’ve got to be organized, read in detail, follow directions, and be a good problem solver. Depending on the role, those are all business management skills that go with running a small nonprofit. I didn’t have exact training,” Lindenlaub said. “But I think the design life I had before was helpful. Design is about solving problems. I think that background has been helpful in doing the work I’ve been involved with.”

    The very first problem he had to solve when hired by HPI was to find funding. Describing the climate as being much different than today, his first order of business was to “find some grants to build some housing or you’ll be out of a job.”

    Over the years, HPI did just that – found money and built housing.

    Lindenlaub said, “Once we got good at it, we were pretty successful. At a time, we were getting $1 million in grants every year and were instrumental in Bartholomew County being really successful.”

    But even in light of the organization’s successes in that regard, Lindenlaub and his board realized as HPI was approaching its 20th anniversary that, while they had great organizational success stories and wonderful volunteer experiences, they “hadn’t really had as much community change as [they] would have liked.”

    “We wanted to orchestrate neighborhood change and improvements. But when you look at housing development funding, it doesn’t really provide the flexibility to do that. It encourages it, but it’s not providing a lot of funding to do it, which resulted in a failure to execute change in our communities,” Lindenlaub said.

    For HPI, the solution for addressing their concerns around funding for small housing projects and the desire to address the needs of the community beyond their housing concerns led to the merger of HPI with Aging and Community Services of South Central Indiana, Inc. to become Thrive Alliance. Lindenlaub said that several broader external factors also made the merger essential – the country’s economic collapse in 2008, growth of the federal debt, and an aging society, especially the ratio of retirees versus those in the workforce.

    “It really impacts our industry and community that we may not have good solutions to address those issues. It gets back to the problem solving aspect. We have to reinvent how we do our work because there is not going to be enough money to do our work how we’ve been doing it.” He said, “How are we going to facilitate that change to make our mission more successful in the community?”

    The combined services of the two groups Lindenlaub merged in Columbus address both the individual services and housing needs of their respective clients. In fact, Lindenlaub said that one-third to one-half of Thrive’s housing clients are also aging clients. So, although the consolidation of 12 HPI employees with the 115 staff of the area agency on aging took a couple of years and involved a steep learning curve, and Lindenlaub now “know[s] a lot more about Medicaid than [he] ever wanted to know,” he said it was the right decision.

    “We had some overlap. But in terms of being intentional with connecting those services, we weren’t doing any of that previous to coming together. The main thing driving us now is: how do we integrate even more fully?”

    Part of that integration plan is to determine what housing projects best line up with the organization’s primary client-base. Thrive is specifically looking to do more senior housing projects, but Lindenlaub knows they will face a funding challenge because the projects are generally too small for tax credits but too large to be entirely grant-funded. Lindenlaub said the organization is also working with clients now who seem to have additional barriers to improving their lives.

    Thinking about concerns like the Cliff Effect, Lindenlaub said, “It seems like there is a systemically rooted set of barriers that make it really hard for families to move up the socioeconomic ladder. We’re seeing more families that are two or three generations stuck in poverty.”

    And while Lindenlaub does not believe that housing is enough to create the community- or even family-level change they are seeking, two housing projects are what stand out to Lindenlaub as being some of his proudest moments of his career. One was a four-house infill project in the downtown Columbus area. He said, “It was pretty exciting to see something of that scale. For an organization that took 18 months to build its first house, that was a pretty big leap forward for the organization.”

    Another project that gave HPI “some prominence and more respect in the community” was the adaptive reuse of an old armory, which is a project with only 25 units but made a big difference in the community and to its residents.

    “In today’s world, we wouldn’t do tax credits for that project. We were too dumb to know it wouldn’t work. We actually found the investors ourselves and syndicated to local banks and general contracted it ourselves to make the budget work. We turned it into housing instead of a parking lot. It is a highlight and feather in our cap – we actually won an award for that. That was a neat project for us,” Lindenlaub said. “In terms of career high points, those are definitely two that helped set the foundation for achieving bigger impact and reaching more families.”

    And at the end of the day, it’s going deep with families to address all of their needs that means the most to Lindenlaub. In fact, that’s exactly why he received the Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Organization in 2012. His personal reflection around HPI’s level of impact in Columbus had led him and his board to change the organization’s mission. Then through his role as a member, and past president, of IACED’s board, HPI’s local discussion ultimately fed into a larger conversation about addressing community development work more comprehensively across the state.

    Similarly, his personal fight against losing property tax exemption for HPI’s affordable housing properties in Bartholomew County has led him to testify time and again on behalf of IACED’s membership to see that a single interpretation affirming the charitable purpose of affordable housing created by nonprofits is prescribed statewide. Still an issue to deal with during the upcoming legislative session, Lindenlaub said that what “started out of economic self-interest” is now “a community moral issue.” But for a problem solver by nature, it’s just another aspect of the work.

    Lindenlaub said, “There are always new and growing challenges to address. It has always been what drives me. It’s kind of how my brain is wired. I like finding solutions.”

    By Jessica Love, Associate Executive Director

    Jessica Love is the Associate Executive Director for Prosperity Indiana, formerly known as the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development. She works with the Executive Director to provide team leadership for staff and is responsible for developing and managing organizational systems for Prosperity Indiana to ensure effective management and control. She also provides one-on-one technical assistance to Prosperity Indiana members, informed by her media and grants management background. With nearly 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, Jessica’s consulting work focuses primarily on resource development and creating processes and tools for effective management and program compliance. 

Policy News

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