April 5, 2022
How a local nonprofit is taking a different road to sustainable community development
by Shari Finnell, editor/writer

More often than not, when Indianapolis neighborhoods like Riverside, United Northwest and Clifton Place are mentioned, the conversation is likely to veer toward what needs to be fixed. Or what’s wrong with them, according to De’Amon Harges, the co-founder of The Learning Tree, a nonprofit focused on using asset based community development (ABCD) to change that narrative about many low-income neighborhoods.

This approach to sustainable community development avoids a focus on handouts — or outside solutions — for challenges like food insecurity, food deserts, high unemployment, vandalism and crime. . Instead it explores the strengths, skills, resources and experience among the members of the community and finds ways to mobilize them into action to address those challenges. For The Learning Tree team, this work begins with one-on-one conversations with people in the communities they support.

Harges, who also consults with organizations globally about ABCD, offered an example on how it can differ from prevailing approaches used by many well-meaning organizations and government agencies.

When a beautification project was launched to enhance Indianapolis urban communities, including the ones served by The Learning Tree, artists were called upon to apply for a grant for the project. “There was probably $150,000 on the table to pay someone else from outside to do the work,” Harges recalled.

Because of their previous interactions with residents throughout the communities of Riverside, United Northwest and Clifton Place, The Learning Tree team already had identified 45 artists who were capable of producing the artistic pieces.

“We ended up getting that grant, putting that money into the hands of people with talent right here in the neighborhood,” Harges said.

Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Jeff Bennett, who became aware of Harges’ impact more than 15 years ago, said the relationship-driven approach to community building has numerous advantages. “There is more to community development than just dollars in, dollars out,” Bennett said.

“As much, if not more, impact can be made at the human level through relationship building. So, often at the government level, we can be so top down. We devise and fund programs that we think communities want or need without listening to what a neighborhood says it could use in order to direct their own future."

Can you remove a board member?: Tips from a nonprofit attorney
Submitted by Charitable Allies

Depending on your role within a nonprofit, it is possible to remove a board member, but it’s crucial to handle the situation carefully to protect the nonprofit from liability. Let’s dive into why a board member (also referred to as a director) might step down voluntarily or be removed. Then, let’s examine what that process looks like, whether you’re a fellow board member, an executive director, or a group of members.

Why would you ask a board member to leave the board? 

There are a variety of reasons a nonprofit executive could want to remove a board member, but we’ve split the reasons into four basic categories:

  1. The board member has not completed their basic responsibilities (through negligence or blatant recklessness). When a board member doesn’t fulfill their basic duties as a director, they can cause the nonprofit to incur unnecessary liability. Rather than putting the entire organization at risk, it can be best to part ways with a willfully negligent or reckless board member. An ineffective board can impact the ability of the nonprofit to perform its programs as well, potentially hurting your charitable mission.
  2. The board member has violated policies of the organization or acted unethically or criminally. If a board member commits an ethical violation, sometimes the solution is to remove the board member from the board. Depending on the action of the board member, and whether it was done knowingly or unwittingly, there can be other steps taken to rein in a rogue board member. But if a board member has committed a serious ethical violation knowingly, many nonprofits find it best to part ways with that board member. 

8 reasons to meet with a financial expert at tax time
by Dave Voris, vice president, regional treasury management officer, Horizon Bank

No matter your income as a nonprofit employee, tax time is a great time to meet with a financial services expert.

As all necessary tax information is gathered for income taxes, it is also valuable information for your trusted financial services specialist, who can guide you on the best financial products to meet your goals or your current needs.

When it comes to wealth creation, it can be difficult to keep track of all your sources of revenue and manage your money effectively to hit the short- and long-term financial goals you have identified.

To make wealth creation a smoother process for you and your family, developing a custom financial plan tailored to your situation and needs is vital. Below are some of the reasons to create a financial plan, if you haven’t done so already:

  1. Develop a values-based, multi-generational financial plan
  2. Analyze your entire financial picture for missed resources and opportunities
  3. Benefit from sensible advice from financial advisors, legal counsel, and tax accountants of your choosing

CORRECTION: The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has named Kyle Ingram as division of disability and rehabilitative services director of policy and strategic initiatives. Ingram previously was VR policy and compliance manager at FSSA.
A Kid Again has hired as Katie Demas development coordinator for the Indiana Chapter. Demas is currently completing a degree in nonprofit management at Indiana University.
Renew Indianapolis has invested more than $2.6 million in the Indy Affordable Modification Program to support individuals from low-income households in Marion County. Read more

The Indiana Canine Assistance Network has received $1.5 million from Mike and Judy Harrington. The gift will help expand the organization’s ability to place service dogs within Indiana. Read more

16 Tech Community Corporation has announced $300,000 in grant awards to 11 resident-endorsed projects that directly benefit the vitality of nearby neighborhoods. See recipients

Brooke's Place for Grieving Young People has received a $7,500 grant from the J. E. Fehsenfeld Family Foundation to support their ongoing grief support programs.

The Nora Roberts Foundation has awarded Indy Reads a $4,000 grant to support the organization’s high school equivalency curriculum transition from the TASC certification exam to the HiSET certification exam. Read more

The Nexus Impact Center, in partnership with the National Center for Racial Equity and Inclusion at Martin University, is launching their first Powerhouse Cohort: Inclusivity and Equity for Diverse Boards Cohort with 19 individuals and nine nonprofit boards participating. Read more

The Journey is initiating a new fellowship program called Journey Explorers in Youth Work, targeting people interested in pursuing careers in youth work, including students, interns, volunteers and part-time youth workers. Applications are due April 19.
The 5 Ps of circular advocacy: Politics, policy, purchase power, people, and philanthropy webinar on April 8 at noon. Learn the basics of communicating with your elected leaders, how your spending habits matter, and why your sphere of influence is bigger than you think. Cost: Free. Presented by Circular Indiana. Register

Data-driven HR strategies on April 12 at noon. Learn how to develop an HR data strategy, how to select the metrics that matter and how to adopt data as part of your culture. Presented by Purple Ink. Cost: Free. Register

Is it time to revisit your vision, mission & values? webinar on April 27 from noon-1 p.m. Gain clarity on whether your organization’s vision, mission, and values is empowering your work or holding you back. Cost: Free. Presented by National Bank of Indianapolis and Hedges. Register

Advancing equity summit on April 26. Engage in a series of discussions with national experts, including keynote speaker Nic Stone, as they address barriers to equity while providing actionable tools and models. Presented by Indiana Youth Institute. Cost: $25. Register

Find existing data webinar on April 28 from 9-11 a.m. Understand the strengths, weaknesses, and costs of readily available data sets. Presented by SAVI Data Literacy. Cost: Free. Register

Internal controls: Best practices for your nonprofit organization webinar on May 5 at 3 p.m. Learn the differences between processes, procedures, and internal controls. In addition, learn best practices for your nonprofit organization. Earn 1.5 CPE credit. Presented by BKD. Cost: Free. Register
Pass the Torch for Women Foundation is looking for mentors to guide women at all stages in their careers: female college students, developing professionals and those at the cusp of leadership, and executive leaders. The commitment is one-hour per month in-person or virtual over a five-month period. Learn more

Volunteers needed at the 10th Annual Republic Airways Plane Pull on April 23 from 9 a.m.- noon. Opportunities include serving in the kid’s zone, directing traffic and serving food, and more. Proceeds benefit A Kid Again, Indiana Wish, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent and Riley Children’s Foundation. Register
Review input from 875 nonprofits about governance, finance, operations and how they are being affected by workforce shortages.
Learn to push your nonprofit from a stagnant phase into one that allows you to better serve your purpose.
VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm Understanding nonprofit gifts
Our sponsor marketplace serves to further connect our readers with our advertisers who are focused on serving nonprofits. To learn about each sponsor's nonprofit services, click on its logo.

Co-working and office spaces are available for nonprofits and small businesses at Nexus Impact Center, near Interstate 465 and N. Michigan Road. Monthly rates start at $393 for micro-offices, $59 for co-working spaces, and $149 for dedicated cubicles. Learn more https://www.nexusimpactcenter.org/coworking
Downtown suites for lease with onsite parking
The Sol Center, located at 708 E. Michigan St. near the Bottleworks District in downtown Indianapolis, has affordable rental suites and collaborative spaces for nonprofit organizations. Leases include the use of a full kitchen, café style seating, meeting spaces, onsite parking and WiFi access. Contact Christian Page charold@mealsonwheelsindy.org
For thirty years, Madison County Community Foundation has been a faithful steward and effective conduit for charitable giving. The foundation works with donors to create funds that reflect donors' charitable goals. These generous givers, past and present, have enabled the foundation to provide financial support across all sectors of our communities, including social services, youth, senior citizens, education, recreation, arts, culture, animal welfare, and community development. Madison County Community Foundation has awarded millions of dollars in grants and scholarships since inception, including over $1 million in 2021. Current assets are approximately $30 million.

Do you want to make a lasting impact on the Indianapolis business community? Are you driven to see young professionals succeed? Orr Fellowship is seeking an enthusiastic, fast-paced leader to help develop and implement our next chapter of growth and impact. For twenty years, Orr Fellowship has encouraged entrepreneurial spirit, strong leadership, and continued learning by connecting high-performing new college graduates with top employers in central Indiana for an immersive two-year experience. Outside of work, Fellows learn and grow alongside each other as part of a comprehensive program and activity schedule. This experience equips Fellows to thrive professionally and personally and encourages them to grow their careers in central Indiana, cultivating talented leaders and further strengthening Indianapolis' entrepreneurial ecosystem. The 2022-2023 cohort will engage and support over 170 Fellows and more than 80 partner companies.

Are you an attorney who wants to create more community impact and not just more billable hours? Are you a community or social services leader looking for a platform that tangibly removes obstacles to success and defends the rights of the most vulnerable? Apply your leadership experience in a legal venue and make a difference every day in central Indiana and across the state. Join an organization dedicated to promoting justice for low-income families and individuals as a way of demonstrating Christ's love. The Clinic is a United Way community partner and IRS-designated low-income tax clinic. The Clinic provides legal solutions focused on serving homeless veterans, immigrants and refugees, families facing foreclosure and other housing crises, victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault, ex-offenders, and family law matters.
To view all jobs, visit the Not-for-profit News jobs' board.

President / CEO - Fathers & Families Center

Executive Director - Indianapolis Propylaeum

Executive Director / CEO - Lupus Foundation Of America, Indiana Chapter

Chief Executive Officer - Choices Coordinated Care Solutions


Advancement Manager, Events and Social Media - Brooke's Place for Grieving Young People

Major Gifts Representative - American Legion NHQ

Fundraising & Special Event Manager - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana

Program and Grant Coordinator - John Boner Neighborhood Centers

Donor Engagement Director - Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana


District Manager - Fountain Fletcher District Association

Service Leadership Programs Manager - Kiwanis International

Member Services Representative - Kiwanis International

Church Operations Administrator (Part-Time) - Northminster Presbyterian Church

Administrative Manager - Dress for Success Indianapolis

Director of Operations - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana (RMHCCIN)

Technical Assistance Project Director - Shine Early Learning

Instructional Designer – EmployIndy


Communications Analyst - Kiwanis International

Membership Engagement Coordinator - Building Owners and Managers Association of Indiana (BOMA)

Marketing Manager - Children's Organ Transplant Association


Community Programs Fiscal Monitor - Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority/ Division of Community Programs

Finance and Operations Manager - Indianapolis Ballet

Chief Financial Officer - The Orchard School


Fundraising Data Analyst - Riley Children's Foundation


Director of Programs - 100 Black Men of Indianapolis

Director of Anti-Trafficking Initiatives - IN Coalition to End Sexual Assault Programs

340B Program Manager - Damien Center

Dean of Counseling and Culture - International School of Indiana, Inc.

Program Director - Sheltering Wings

Case Management Manager - Sheltering Wings

Mental Health Therapist - Sheltering Wings

Community School Coordinator - John Boner Neighborhood Centers

School Site Manager (IEAZ) - John Boner Neighborhood Centers


Youth Development Leader - At Your School (AYS)