Black Expo making pitch for lost CIB grant

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Indiana Black Expo Inc. is lobbying the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board to restore an annual $150,000 grant it lost last year when the CIB encountered financial difficulties.

Leaders of the local not-for-profit are scheduled to make their pitch to CIB members at their monthly meeting Monday afternoon.

CIB, which operates Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse, Victory Field and the Indiana Convention Center, typically helps fund IBE, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and city arts organizations.

But it stopped supporting the groups after running into money problems and spending much of last year making cuts to close a projected $47 million deficit for 2010. Annually, CICP also received $150,000 from CIB, while the arts community got $1 million. Neither of those grants has been restored, either.

For IBE, which operates on a $5 million annual budget, the $150,000 gift has hindered the association’s ability to promote itself effectively, Chief Operating Officer Perry Hines said.

“I don’t care who you are, that’s a pretty significant portion,” he said. “That, coupled with the economy, has posed a pretty serious challenge to us.”

Hines said IBE is “cautiously optimistic” CIB members will recognize the value the organization brings to the city. IBE presents the annual Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration, held in July, and now has taken the Circle City Classic under its wing, making the CIB funding even more critical.

IBE announced in December that it assumed management responsibilities for the Classic, the annual October event in Indianapolis featuring a parade and football game between two historically black colleges.

But prying the $150,000 it lost from the CIB could prove to be difficult.

CIB President Ann Lathrop said members will discuss the proposal, but she doubted they’ll make a decision at Monday’s meeting.

“Having just gotten through February,” she said, “we’re going to watch our revenue streams before we make commitments.”

CIB’s financial woes partly stem from a provision that allows the Indiana Pacers to break its lease after 10 years, triggering a possible $15 million in additional Fieldhouse operating costs. An agreement has yet to be reached with the Pacers, although CIB officials continue to negotiate with the team.

Additional expenses involved in operating Lucas Oil Stadium also led to the deficit.

Cost-cutting moves last year have helped the CIB reduce its operating budget from $78 million at the beginning of 2009 to a proposed $63 million in 2010, although the organization anticipates spending as little as $52 million.


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  1. The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

  2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

  3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

  4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

  5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).