United Way of Central Indiana to receive $7M federal grant

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The United Way of Central Indiana is set to receive a $7 million federal grant that is expected to result in more than $20 million being invested to help unstable families in specific Indianapolis neighborhoods.

The $7 million grant—to be distributed over a three-year period—comes from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which announced the recipients of its Social Innovation Fund on Wednesday.

The federal agency awarded a total of $21 million to four organizations to support youth development, economic opportunity and healthy outcomes for youth and low-income families.

“United Way of Central Indiana has a proven track record for finding solutions that work, and CNCS is thrilled to award them a Social Innovation Fund grant,” Lois Nembhard, acting director of the Social Innovation Fund at CNCS, said in a written statement. “The competition process is highly selective, and we are eager to have the opportunity to work with UWCI to expand their high-impact work to serve more people in need.”

United Way of Central Indiana will match the grant, adding another $7 million to the total, and the sub-recipients of the grant are expected to contribute $6.6 million. The total of $20.6 million will be used to address family instability by providing services to at least 1,000 families living on the city’s west side, northwest/midtown area, near-east side and far-east side.

As part of what’s known as the “Great Families 2020” initiative, networks that provide services in postsecondary education, early childhood education, financial support, health and workforce development will be established in each of the neighborhoods.

According to UWCI, about 40 percent of families in the targeted areas live below the federal poverty level, 25 percent of adults don’t have a high school diploma and 25 percent or fewer elementary students passed the state’s standardized tests in reading and math.

United Way estimates that the Great Families 2020 initiative will result in 80 percent of children participating in the early childhood education services will be prepared for kindergarten and 60 percent of participating adults will achieve financial stability.

“We’re thrilled to be able to put this significant grant into the neighborhoods with the most need, in order to drive transformational change in our community,” Ann Murtlow, CEO and president of UWCI, said in a written statement. “Funds from SIF will help more children enter kindergarten ready to learn, help more parents acquire the skills needed to be successful in the workforce and make more support available to families who are trying to achieve self-sufficiency.”

During the next several months, United Way will conduct a competition for community-based organizations to apply to receive at least $100,000 for periods of three to five years. Up to eight subrecipients will be selected.

“Everyone deserves to live in an Indianapolis filled with safe, thriving neighborhoods where families have opportunities for success,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said in written comments. “With this significant investment, the goal of creating the next great Indianapolis neighborhoods, in time for our city’s bicentennial, is well on its way to becoming a reality.”

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