An anniversary is usually a time to take stock of changes, and in the 15 years that the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center has been in operation, Anne-Marie Taylor, Executive Director, says there’s a noticeable “paradigm shift” in the community.
The work of INRC supports grassroots leadership and collaboration city-wide, mobilizing existing community assets through activities like resident leadership training, capacity building, and grassroots grant making.
As INRC and community members gathered recently to celebrate their accomplishments, Taylor could see that all of the pieces had added up to some significant changes in Indianapolis. “The system that operates in funding neighborhood development has changed the way people are looking at applying a service – it has changed the way people work to be more sustainable, and to recognize their dreams, skills, and talents so they can contribute.”
Taylor says that INRC’s grassroots grants program – known as IMAGINE – has helped contribute to this shift. The program, on a three year grant, is set to end this year, but the impacts have been significant.
IMAGINE was modeled after a Seattle neighborhood matching grant program, designed to promote sustainable neighborhood development.
INRC has administered the grants, with a group of residents and business partners making the decisions as to who receives them.
The process they used, Taylor says, has been “comprehensive,” and designed to “engage all stake holders and partners.” Applicants were required to work collaboratively and with a community focus, developing a strong action plan, working with a tracking entity, and enlisting the support of local business for matching support.
But it’s more than just the mechanics of the process that have had an impact, and Taylor says that the 15th anniversary of INRC’s work really gave Indianapolis a chance to take stock of the personal stories that evolved from programs like IMAGINE. They’re stories, she says, which reflect a more subtle power around the process of sustainable community change, where “people come together to think about how to support one another.”