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MORRIS: Celebrate city’s philanthropy scene

April 6, 2013
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MorrisGood things are happening in the philanthropic community. On April 2, the United Way of Central Indiana held its annual meeting luncheon. On the same day, IUPUI recognized more than 30 individuals and organizations during its annual Spirit of Philanthropy awards luncheon. And on April 9, IU will hold the inaugural ceremony for its newly formed School of Philanthropy on the IUPUI campus—the first school of its kind in the country.

United Way celebrated raising a projected $41 million from the 2012 campaign co-chaired by the dynamic duo of Steve Schenck and Marianne Glick. This record result was especially impressive considering the sluggish economy.

A highlight of the United Way meeting was the recognition of four new Spirit United honorees—Duke Realty Corp., Ice Miller, Indianapolis Power & Light, and Roche Diagnostics. These companies provided financial support and resources above and beyond successful workplace campaigns and provided significant volunteer support for United Way’s mission. They join 16 previous honorees.

United Way honored 22 top contributors and six distinguished campaigns. It also awarded a total of more than $743,000 in grants to three public elementary schools in some of the region’s neediest areas—Sunnyside Elementary in Lawrence Township, Snacks Crossing in Pike Township, and the Center for Inquiry III in Indianapolis Public Schools’ School 27. United Way’s focus on education ties to its mission of helping people learn more, enabling them to earn more and lead safe and healthy lives.

The annual meeting served as the final farewell for 23-year UWCI veteran Ellen Annala. She passed the CEO’s baton to Ann Murtlow, the former head of Indianapolis Power & Light. I can’t say enough about the enormous contributions Ellen made to this community during her tenure at United Way. So many individuals and families have been touched as a result of her dedication and hard work. Good luck, Ellen, and thanks for all you’ve done.

The community has every reason to be excited about Murtlow as her successor. I’m confident Ann and board chairman Sam Odle and 2013 campaign chairman Andy Mohr will provide great leadership as United Way transitions to handle the even larger challenges that lie ahead.

The Spirit of Philanthropy Awards—sponsored by IUPUI, IU Foundation and the IU School of Philanthropy at IUPUI—was a similarly uplifting event. This is the 24th year for the awards program, which recognizes those who’ve had a profound impact on IUPUI’s growth and development through their gifts and volunteerism.

Finally, how exciting is it for the future of philanthropy that IU will be celebrating the inauguration of its brand new School of Philanthropy on the IUPUI campus this week? The Indiana Commission for Higher Education last September signed off on IU’s proposal to start the school. And here we are seven months later with the inauguration. The genesis of the new school was IU’s Center on Philanthropy on the IUPUI campus, the leading research center of its kind, which has been in existence for about 25 years.

Why create a school of philanthropy? The world we live in is complex. The rules are changing as you read this. It’s always been tough to raise enough money to meet the needs of our communities, but it’s even tougher today.

Operating a not-for-profit or foundation requires greater sophistication. The new school will be an enormous asset to our community, our state and beyond. It will produce highly trained and educated people to navigate this difficult landscape. Who wins? We all do—the neediest of our population and the community at large.

Keep reading IBJ as Andrea Davis reports on philanthropy in central Indiana. Please contact Andrea if you have anything of note in this area, at adavis@ibj.com.

And as always, thanks for reading IBJ in print, online, in your inbox, and on your mobile device.•

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Morris is publisher of IBJ. His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to gmorris@ibj.com.

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  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?

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