June 15, 2021
Pandemic reveals the challenges in eliminating inequities among Hoosier students
Local nonprofit leaders predict a complex journey in addressing underlying issues
by Shari Finnell, editor/writer, Not for Profit News

Like many other nonprofit organizations, the team at Christel House Indianapolis had to quickly assess how to carry out its mission in spite of COVID-19 restrictions in early 2020 — an endeavor that revealed many of the challenges facing the students they serve.

“When the pandemic hit last March, our board members and our entire team came together and realized that the pandemic was not just going to last for a couple of weeks,” said Dr. Sarah Weimer, executive director of Christel House Indianapolis.

It was a critical undertaking as they considered the potential for educational setbacks among Christel House students living in some of the most under-resourced communities in Indianapolis. The closing of school buildings for 2,300 K-12 students and 750 adult learners would require addressing any challenges in their home environments.

Technology was identified as a priority, and the team implemented a plan to distribute devices to each of their students at their Indianapolis schools. However, that plan only addressed part of the equation. “They had the device but couldn't access the Internet to download their assignments,” Weimer said. “We discovered that over 50 percent of our students in Indianapolis did not have access to WiFi.”

Although telecommunications companies offered discounted and free internet service for students in low-income households during the pandemic, more challenges came their way. “Providers were having deals for families to get free internet, but they had barriers,” Weimer said. “If you owed a bill, you couldn’t get free access. If you didn’t have a social security number, you couldn’t get access.” Through a partnership with the Indianapolis Mayor's Office and a fundraising initiative, Christel House was able to purchase data packages totaling $10,000 a month to support their students.

In looking back, Weimer said the pandemic further revealed the inequities that already existed based on demographics and neighborhoods. “The inequity question is one that we’re going to be grappling with for years to come,” Weimer said. “We don't have a good grasp of how impoverished communities and communities of color were impacted by the pandemic. We know statistically but we don’t have an understanding of the toll, including the emotional and mental toll.

“There’s going to be a lot to unpack for the kids,” she added. “Besides academic and learning loss, the students we serve come from backgrounds where they need additional mental health services, food insecurity and childhood trauma, all of which were exacerbated by the pandemic,”

Dennis E. Bland, president of the Center for Leadership Development, an organization that equips African American youth with education, business and community leadership opportunities, including scholarships, said that the pandemic highlighted varying mindsets about the value of an education — a gap that must be addressed to ensure that equity is achieved.

Public Support Test: 33.3% is the magic number and here’s why
by Jamie Koglin, senior tax accountant, Alerding CPA Group
Whether your public charity is in the early years of formation or has operated for decades, there is one particular mathematical calculation that should always remain at the forefront of your decision making — the public support test. It is a small but mighty calculation that is vital to maintaining status as a public charity. On the Form 990, Schedule A is used to provide detail about sources of support, types of support and, ultimately, to calculate the public support percentage.

According to the IRS, there are two methods in which a non-profit may qualify as a publicly supported charity:

  1. Under IRC Section 509(a)(1): The organization is primarily supported by contributions from governmental units, publicly supported organizations, and/or the general public. 
  2. Under IRC Section 509(a)(2): The organization receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and more than one-third of its support from contributions, membership fees, and gross receipts from activities related to its exempt function. 

An organization’s reason for public charity status determines which of the tests apply to calculate the public support percentage. For sake of simplicity, this article focuses on the testing under IRC Section 509(a)(1).

The 509(a)(1) Public Support Test

Organizations claiming public charity status under this section must receive at least 33.3% of its support from the public, or from governmental units over a 5-year period — the current year plus the prior four years. At a high level, public support/total support = public support %. Sounds simple right? Wrong. There are several factors used to determine this calculation, therefore, we will break it down further.

The numerator

The public support portion, or the numerator, consists of four important line items. The first three lines include gifts, grants, contributions, membership fees, tax revenues levied and the value of services or facilities furnished by a governmental unit to the organization at no charge. Unusual grants are not to be included.

Youth Mentoring Initiative has hired Brittany Rayburn as executive director. Rayburn previously served as a director for the Hamilton County Community Foundation.
The Damien Center has hired Daniel Stec as clinic director of Damien Care Clinics. Stec previously served as a director for HealthNet Community Health Centers.
Christel House International has hired Kate Hayward as major gifts officer. Hayward previously served as regional philanthropy officer for the American Red Cross.
Girl Scouts of Central Indiana has hired Laura Baltz as vice president of fund development. Baltz previously served as executive director for Christian Youth Theater.
Hamilton County Community Foundation, an affiliate of CICF, has announced grants totaling $152,500 to organizations focusing on racial equity, mental health, family and youth empowerment, and inclusive economic growth. Read

Women's Fund of Central Indiana president, Jennifer Pope Baker, has been honored with the inaugural Forty Under 40 Alumni Award. The recognition honors a previous honoree who has continued to make significant contributions to the community. Pope Baker and former Indiana Sports Corp. president Ryan Vaughn, also a recipient, were recognized for their work in bringing the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to Indianapolis. Read

Under Indiana’s Youth Employment System (YES), schools will no longer issue work permits for minor employees. Instead, employers who employ five or more minor employees will now be required to track and report minor-employee information via the new registry system, starting July 1. Failure to comply may result in penalties. Read

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Build, Learn, Grow initiative, has made 50,000 scholarships available to support children from families working in essential industries, regardless of income. The scholarship will cover enrollment for early care, education, summer learning or out-of-school care programs. Scholarships run through October 2021, and will cover up to 80% of tuition for each child, age 12 and younger. Learn

The Indiana Canine Assistant Network in Zionsville has received a $13,000 grant from The General Mills Foundation Hometown Grantmaking Program to support its work in placing well-trained service dogs with individuals living with a disability. Read

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation is awarding $1.2 million in implementation grants to existing Prevention Matters grantees. The foundation announced it is extending the initiative for another year, due to the impact of COVID-19 on schools. Read
St. Vincent de Paul has opportunities at its Food Pantry and Distribution Center, including baristas at its new Holy Grounds coffee shop. Learn. Contact Darlene Sweeney.

A Kid Again needs volunteers for the RUN (317) race on July 15 at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Volunteers are needed to help with packets, check-in, course marshal, water stations, ID checks, and serving drinks. A 3-hour commitments suggested. Register or contact amyp@akidagain.org
How nonprofit finance leaders can drive strategy and performance with data-driven decision making.
Employees want more autonomy, opportunities to contribute their ideas and to be seen as colleagues.
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Space available for nonprofit in Fountain Square area

Rental spaces available for nonprofits in newly renovated 6,200-square-foot building at 2119 Prospect St. Available as a single space or two spaces with designated entrance and bathrooms, HVAC and common areas, with parking in an adjacent lot. Buildout to suit. Contact Harold Miller, 317-753-2034.
Office Space in Children’s Bureau, Near Northside of Indianapolis

More than 3,000 square feet of unfinished rental space available for a nonprofit. Build-out allowance based on lease terms. Rent includes utilities, cleaning, maintenance, building security, parking and access to common areas (including restroom, kitchen, and conference space). Less than ½ mile from several bus stops. Contact Lewis Rhone at (317) 264-2700.
To view all jobs, visit the Not-for-profit News jobs' board.

President/CEO – Fathers and Families Center

President & Chief Executive Officer - Merchants Affordable Housing Corp.


Director of Philanthropy - Child Advocates

Resource Development Director - United Way of Bartholomew County


Field Operations Director - Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Inc.

Member and Chapter Services Coordinator - Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing

Senior Manager, Network Initiatives - Early Learning Indiana

Operations Specialist – Greater Indiana Chapter - Alzheimer’s Association


Communications Specialist - Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation

Communications Coordinator - FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic

Director of Communications - Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

Marketing & Communications Associate - Women’s Fund of Central Indiana


Accounting Specialist - HVAF of Indiana, Inc.

Director of Finance - Indiana Repertory Theatre

Accounting Manager – HollandParlette

Controller - Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

Assistant Controller - DePauw University


Measurement & Evaluation Specialist - Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis

Information Technology


Outreach/SIF Coordinator - Children's Bureau, Inc.

AAB/GIC Program Manager - Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

Diversity & Inclusion Officer - The Indianapolis Public Library

Entrepreneurship Program Manager - Indianapolis Urban League

Opportunity Youth and Reentry Manager - Edna Martin Christian Center

Director of Education Initiatives and Pathways - United Way of Central Indiana

Grateful Patient Program Director - IU Health Foundation


AmeriCorps Public Ally Member - Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC)