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CIB agrees to help Black Expo, but not with grant

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The Capital Improvement Board will not restore a $150,000 grant to Indiana Black Expo Inc. but instead will provide the local not-for-profit with in-kind services equaling the amount.

The agreement, proposed by CIB member Doug Brown at the organization’s monthly meeting Monday, has the CIB contributing $75,000 in cash to the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association to promote IBE events. The other $75,000 will come in the form of facility rental discounts.

IBE presents the annual Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration in July and this year is taking the Circle City Classic under its wing, making the CIB's help even more important.

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

The arrangement the CIB struck with IBE is similar to other deals given to organizations that agree to host events and conventions in Indianapolis, Brown said.

Brown made his pitch for support by citing figures that show the Summer Celebration and Circle City Classic together attract 480,000 visitors to the city, which translates to a $40 million economic impact.

“That’s our mission, to get them here,” he said. “This is a marquee, world-class organization that hosts two major events every year that bring almost a half-million people downtown.”

IBE Board Chairman John Thompson told CIB members that “we will continue to gain your confidence.”

Board  President Ann Lathrop said the CIB should be able to afford the contributions despite its financial struggles.

“In the end, I feel more comfortable supporting the organization this way instead of [with] a grant,” she said.

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 in 2009 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.
 

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