Indianapolis is a volunteer’s town, this much I’ve learned. It seems there is no end to reading, learning, interacting with, and experiencing philanthropic endeavors in our city. I do so love my town. I’ve learned local charities are great at swapping great ideas, but every once in a while, you run into something so new…so novel…it stops you in your tracks.
And so it was when my friend Lily Pai (of Lily Pai Designs) talked to me about a new initiative at the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana. They are a CICF Fund (Central Indiana Community Fund ), which is known for transformative philanthropy. Much like their parent organization, not only do they serve fish, but they also teach people to fish, teach them how to find water, how to build a pole and a boat, and then how to turn fishing into a sustainable business thereby changing the trajectory of a community. But what makes the Women’s Fund so intriguing is their focus on not just teaching people to fish, but in teaching others how to become better fishing instructors.
They don’t just create philanthropy…they create philanthropists. And that could be anyone. I think most people have the heart to serve, but find it’s hard to know where to start, or how to make their contribution matter. It never crossed my mind to seek out an education on volunteerism. Education’s usefulness knows no end, does it?
But the Women’s Fund didn’t stop there. They thought BIGGER. I had to read it a few times just to get my head around it. What is bigger than changing EVERYONE? The Women’s Fund of Central Indiana is kicking off a 10 year initiative known as “NEXT”. What’s BIGGER is NEXT. They identified Indianapolis has a service gap for women aged 18-24; women transitioning out of youth programs, foster care, high school, etc. To quote from their website, “NEXT is a 10-year initiative to attract talented, visionary entrepreneurs who can develop solutions to help emerging adult women move toward economic stability. With your support, these innovators will create viable solutions, and Women’s Fund will invest in their transformative ideas.”
If it has been your dream to start an organization which will provide innovative services to women in this late adolescent through early adulthood age bracket, transitioning them into a lifetime of economic stability, but you weren’t sure where to start with funding…you should start HERE. The Women’s Fund of Central Indiana is taking Statements of Intent through September, and they will be holding a Webinar on June 25th. Statements of intent applicants will be notified in December, and full applications are due in the Spring. Accepted applications will receive full funding for their initiatives and salary. It’s bold. It’s impressive. It’s quite real. And with a 10 year timeline, NEXT has the ability to change the face of the services available to an entire sector of women in our community.
Like I said. BIGGER. TRANSFORMATIVE. By impacting women ages 18-24, you impact the nexus. You create Mothers, Providers, and Families. And from there, you create stable GENERATIONS, and that is the end of poverty. There are those with the road map to change the entire face of need, if we’re only willing to join the journey. If you’re interested in giving to this initiative and/or the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, you can start HERE.
Thank you to Lily for sharing this story with me, and allowing me to share it with you. Goodness is everywhere, and spreading it is my sunshine. Godspeed to you all.