United Way Funding to Cast Wide Net

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Ann Murtlow is the CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana. Ann Murtlow is the CEO of the United Way of Central Indiana.

The United Way of Central Indiana says it will reach out to organizations throughout the region to compete for a piece of the $7 million grant it received from the Corporation for National and Community Service. With matching funds from the United Way and groups selected for the sub-grants, the investment in the Great Families 2020 effort is expected to top $20 million. The initiative aims to increase family stability by bringing resources to high-poverty, underserved neighborhoods.

UWCI is anticipating awarding sub-grants to six-to-eight community organizations. Vice President of Community Impact Christie Gillespie says applicants do not need to be linked with the United Way. UWCI will hold an open competition in the next several months to select organizations to receive sub-grants of at least $100,000.

"One of the challenges we always have in the human services sector is to be able to serve at scale in a way that really makes change for a lot of people, because we're always asset-limited," says UWCI Chief Executive Officer Ann Murtlow. "In this case, we're able to bring a lot of money to this particular initiative, so we're very excited about the opportunity it presents."

As part of the grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund, United Way of Central Indiana must match the federal funds dollar-for-dollar. Those funds must be matched again by the organizations chosen by UWCI to receive sub-grants. Under that model, the $7 million grant will leverage an additional $13.6 million in public and private funds, resulting in an investment of more than $20 million in Great Families 2020.

Great Families 2020 is modeled after a framework developed by Ascend at the Aspen Institute called the Two Generation approach. It focuses on serving the whole family, aiming to ensure more children are prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn and more parents acquire skills needed for career opportunities. The organization will also leverage community development and neighborhood improvement plans that are part of Indianapolis' Great Places 2020 project with a goal of families remaining in neighborhoods that offer a high quality of life.

"What happens often is families in these neighborhoods, once they become stable, then they want to move, because the neighborhood has not improved with them," said Gillespie. "And so wouldn't it be great if they become stable and they look around the neighborhood has become stable too and they want to stay."

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says the funding is another example of public-private partnership in the city, which he says "has built up our downtown and actualized some of our city's most iconic projects." In a release, he said, "With this significant investment, the goal of creating the next great Indianapolis neighborhoods, in time for our city's bicentennial, is well on its way to becoming a reality."

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