Indianapolis selected to pilot first Community Innovation Lab of its kind

National EmcArts’ program to focus on creating inclusive economies for Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS – After a rigorous national search process, Indianapolis has been selected as the first U.S. city to pilot EmcArts’ first Community Innovation Lab focused on economic inclusion. The winning proposal, submitted by Spirit & Place, Groundwork Indy, and Kheprw Institute, is aimed at creating inclusive and sustainable economies for formerly incarcerated individuals, youth aging out of the foster care system, and others who are too frequently pushed aside by traditional economic systems. Core funding is being provided by MetLife Foundation. A minimum of $100,000 in matching funds will need to be raised by June 30 to finalize Indianapolis’s eligibility.

“In the midst of growing poverty and inequity in Indianapolis, we hope that our involvement with this project can contribute to creative ideas and solutions,” said Imhotep Adisa, executive director of Kheprw Institute. “The current social and economic crisis requires cross-sector communication, collaboration, and engaging the community in ‘from-the-ground-up’ solutions and decision-making.”

The Community Innovation Lab’s 20-month process represents an unconventional approach that brings cross-sector viewpoints together to address complex social challenges in new ways. The Lab will use artistic processes to build trust, curiosity and persistence; to explore new possibilities; to test experimental approaches; to build local capacity to address self-determined challenges, and to prompt systemic change. Other local project partners currently include the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Edna Martin Christian Center, IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, New Life Development Ministries, Marian University, and Recycle Force, among others.

“We are deeply honored to be selected by EmcArts for this amazing initiative,” said Pam Blevins Hinkle, director of Spirit & Place. “It’s a testament to Indianapolis’s successful history of private-public partnerships, collective impact projects, and creative place-making efforts, as well as the ingenuity and tenacity of community-centric organizations such as Groundwork Indy, Kheprw Institute, and Spirit & Place. We look forward to working together to make a tangible difference in the lives of people who face challenges that are, quite frankly, unimaginable and invisible to many of us.”

For more information about this initiative or to contribute by the June 30 deadline, visit spiritandplace.org or contact Spirit & Place Director Pam Blevins Hinkle at pbhinkle@iupui.edu. To learn more about the EmcArts Community Innovation Lab, visit http://www.EmcArts.org.

ABOUT SPIRIT & PLACE
Celebrating the theme of POWER in 2017, Spirit & Place honors the role the arts, humanities, and religion play in shaping individual and community life. Through its November festival, people-centered community engagement, trainings, and year-round activities, Spirit & Place encourages radical collaboration, catalyzes civic innovation, and reveals invisible stories. Spirit & Place is a legacy project The Polis Center, part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Major partners include Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.; Bohlsen Group; The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; IUPUI; IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; The Polis Center at IUPUI; WFYI Public Media; and more than 200 other community partners and donors. For more information, call The Polis Center at (317) 274-2455 or visit http://www.spiritandplace.org.

ABOUT KHEPRW INSTITUTE
Kheprw Institute is a community organization run by a diverse staff of young adults and seniors who are innovative, passionate and dedicated to creating a more just, equitable, human-centered, environmentally sustainable world. They are community members, artist, engineers, activists, entrepreneurs, critical thinkers, leaders, students, parents, and youth. They believe in community empowerment through self-mastery. Self-Mastery — a commitment to self to continually develop attitudes and behaviors that allow one to positively impact self and community. KI and Spirit & Place are in their third year of collaborative programming.

ABOUT GROUNDWORK INDY
Groundwork Indy’s mission is to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being. Groundwork Indy engages in community-based strategies for revitalizing neighborhoods with initiatives in youth development, greenways and parks, brownfields and vacant land, and healthy communities.

ABOUT EMCARTS
Inspired by the arts, driven by a world in transition, EmcArts works alongside people, organizations, and communities as they take on their most complex challenges. Through advancing practices of innovation and adaptive change, EmcArts strengthens the resilience of individuals and organizations in the arts and social sectors. Through rigorously designed and facilitated workshops, coaching, and labs, we create space and conditions to navigate uncertainty, test innovative strategies, and build adaptive cultures. Our current programs are: Community Innovation Labs, New Pathways, Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators (ALACI), tailored Services for Single Organizations, and our resource-sharing and storytelling web platform, ArtsFwd. To learn more, visit http://www.EmcArts.org.

ABOUT METLIFE FOUNDATION
MetLife was founded on a simple, powerful insight: Everyone needs access to the right financial tools to achieve their goals. In 2013, this understanding inspired MetLife Foundation to refocus its grantmaking toward financial inclusion. To support its vision and mission, the Foundation has committed $200 million over five years to help low-income individuals and families get access to safe and affordable financial products and services. As we enter the second half of our five-year strategic plan, MetLife Foundation is right on track, disbursing more than $100 million against that goal. Since its creation in 1976, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $700 million in grants to make a positive difference for the people, families and communities we serve.

 

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