May 25, 2021
Circle Up Indy’s 5th Annual Peace Festival raises awareness about ongoing needs in city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods
by Shari Finnell, editor/writer

James C. Wilson, CEO and founder of the nonprofit organization Circle Up Indy, vividly recalls the day he was interviewed by a TV journalist for a story about his volunteerism in Martindale-Brightwood — an Eastside Indianapolis neighborhood plagued by poverty and high unemployment rates.

At the time, Wilson, who grew up in the neighborhood, was astonished that many of his neighbors were calling out to him during the taping … asking him to be a spokesperson on their behalf. “Tell them about the sidewalks! Politicians don’t care about us!,” Wilson said, recalling some of the pleas directed at him.

Those voices stuck with him, prompting him to step beyond his volunteerism to launch Circle Up Indy in 2014. The organization is focused on advocating for initiatives to transform impoverished neighborhoods in Indianapolis and surrounding counties, including Martindale-Brightwood.

Circle Up Indy also hosts an annual festival that is designed to raise awareness and intentionally discuss and address socio-economic disadvantages many black and minority families experience and to increase community accountability across the city, according to an organization statement.

Due to COVID-19, the festival was cancelled in 2020, Wilson said, but the 5th Annual Peace Festival is on for this year. It is scheduled for July 10, from noon to 7 p.m., at Frederick Douglass Park on the park's 100th anniversary. Because of the late start in determining whether the festival would go on as scheduled, Wilson and his team are still seeking commitments from vendors, exhibitors and volunteers.

Wilson, who also has a podcast through a WISH-TV partnership, acknowledges that he sometimes feels overwhelmed with his role in transforming his childhood neighborhood and others like it. He said he feels a responsibility to advocate for transformation, which, in all too many cases, seems to be a slow process. “I’m honored but I’m terrified. I just want to help people,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of pressure on me to change things but at times it seems we’re barely pushing the needle. I’m watching friends and family die.”

Wilson, who spent most of his formative years — since the age of 10 — in and out of prison, has first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing some of the youth and families in troubled neighborhoods. “I never had a father teach me how to be a man. The streets taught me what I thought it meant to be a man,” he said.

During his last stint in prison, the trajectory of Wilson’s life took a turn for the better. He met several older inmates who saw his untapped potential. “These brothers taught me so much about life,” he said. “They kept reiterating, ‘they can take your body, but they can’t take your mind.’”

Types of nonprofit collaborations: Mergers, joint ventures and partnerships
by Charitable Allies
After the whirlwind of 2020, more nonprofits are turning to collaboration with other nonprofits to pool resources, gain efficiency, and better serve their mission. Nonprofits can merge their back offices to enjoy lower overhead cost, enter into a joint venture to expand their offerings or service area, or even merge completely into one complete entity. But navigating which option is right for your nonprofit can be challenging. The first step is to understand the differences between the types of collaboration.

1. Mergers
Mergers are the most formal process in this list. A merger can involve completely combining two nonprofit entities, or one larger nonprofit entity adding a smaller nonprofit to the organization to add a new program or service area. The merger process can range from short and simple to lengthy and complicated. But it is always important to do your due diligence during a merger. Many nonprofits use a consultant during the process to help perform due diligence and implement best practices. When you’re ready to officially merge after the due diligence process, it’s important to have an attorney who is knowledgeable about nonprofit law. While a volunteer attorney may be well meaning, there are differences in how the law handles nonprofits and for-profit entities, so an attorney who works primarily with for-profit companies or individuals could put your organization at risk of noncompliance.

2. Joint ventures
A joint venture is historically used when two nonprofits want to collaborate on an isolated program or project. This can be beneficial in a variety of ways. A nonprofit can enter into a joint venture with another nonprofit organization, like a youth-serving organization and a horse rescue, coming together to create a free horse-riding summer camp for foster children. But a nonprofit can also enter into a joint venture with a for-profit company. Overall, joint ventures can increase your impact by allowing you to take on more than you might be able to normally. Joint ventures can be extremely helpful, whether it provides you with an opportunity to increase the geographic reach of a program, add more resources or expertise, or creates a new programmatic offering.

3. Fiscal sponsorship
We have details about fiscal sponsorship in one of our previous posts, but at its most basic level, fiscal sponsorship allows a fledgling charitable program to be incubated by an established nonprofit organization. Charitable Allies acts as a fiscal sponsor to several growing charitable programs, but we’ve also seen fiscal sponsorship work in other instances.

United Way of Central Indiana has named Warren Dukes to the new position of vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. Dukes previously was a sociology lecturer at Purdue University.
The Indiana Children’s Wish Fund has promoted J’Lynn Mayes Cooper to executive director. Cooper most recently served as director of Wish operations. – Inside Indiana Business
Renew Indianapolis has hired Devin Day as a multi-family loan portfolio manager. Devin previously worked in community development for numerous not-for-profits. Rachel Gillespie
The Mind Trust has hired Lauren Lopez as manager of racial equity. Lopez most recently served as a math teacher at URBAN ACT Academy in Indianapolis. –Inside Indiana Business
United Way of Central Indiana has announced Basic Needs Fund grants to 63 accredited community organizations totaling $10.55 million. This support will continue to help thousands of children, families and individuals gain access to nutritious food, safe and affordable housing, health care services and transportation in Central Indiana. See grantees

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than $1 million in grants to nonprofit arts organizations throughout Indiana to support a variety of arts-related areas, including cultural tourism, community revitalization, and education. Read

Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People has announced a $7,500 grant from the J E Fehsenfeld Family Foundation to support its ongoing grief support groups. Read

Indiana Canine Assistant Network, an assistance dog program dedicated to assisting people with disabilities, has announced that it achieved reaccreditation by Assistance Dogs International.

LGBTQ CEO Forum is seeking new members. The group is open to any executive director or CEO of a nonprofit who identifies as LGBTQ or provides services specifically to the LGBTQ community. Meetings are on the second Tuesday of every month from 9-10:30 a.m. For additional information, contact Alan Witchey

Apply to be included in the Get On Board 2021 Nonprofit Guide. Leadership Indianapolis’ annual board member recruitment event will consist of a series of board member trainings in June. If you are looking for board members, apply.
DONATION: RISO EZ 390 U photocopier. Drums, toner and 11 x 17 paper included. Must pick up at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Carmel. Email or call 317-846-2221.

DONATION: T8 48" LED bulbs. Quantity: 1,000. Two years old with about 12+ years of life remaining. Email
Volunteers needed for planting trees. Help plant trees and pollinator-friendly flowers at Oliver's Woods Nature Preserve on June 2 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Join Central Indiana Land Trust and Indiana Wildlife Federation in beautifying this nature preserve along the White River. Register

City of Fishers is looking for volunteers for Spark!Fishers, the Fishers Farmers Market, and the Fishers AgriPark. Volunteers are needed for a wide variety of jobs, dates, and shift times, and there is something for everyone. For more information
The Christian humanitarian organization aims to meet its ambitious goal by 2023 to help 60 million people around the world lift themselves out of poverty.
Only about 3% of former foster youth finish college due to aging out of the foster system and other challenges
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.

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.
Office/art space available in the heart of Fountain Square

Office rental space available on Indianapolis’ Southeast side. Up to 1,970 square feet of office space, including five rooms for office/studio and a kitchenette. The rental also includes paid utilities, installed security system, parking and more. Contact Bradley Keen at (317) 634-5079, ext. 101.
We are seeking a President & CEO who will lead our team with passion and resolve to help survivors of interpersonal abuse. Coburn Place has been recognized as a top-tier provider of interpersonal abuse survivor services, including transitional housing. Our new leader's focus will be strengthening our teams and fortifying our operations in preparation for our next chapter of growth. 

SJID is seeking an outward facing President to lead all aspects of SJID, in collaboration with our educational leaders. The President will focus on fundraising, organizational growth, and financial administration. We are looking for a strategic leader to bring a fresh perspective and business planning skills to align our teams and take our organization to the next level. The President does not need to be Catholic but must embrace the mission and uphold the Catholic identity of the organization. 
To view all jobs, visit the Not-for-profit News jobs' board.

Workplace Giving Specialist (Temporary) - United Way of Central Indiana

Director – Philanthropy (Statewide Campaign Strategy) - Indiana University Health Foundation

Development Director - Lotus Education & Arts Foundation

Manager, Development - American Diabetes Association

Advancement Service Manager - Guerin Catholic High School

Donor Engagement Officer - Riley Children's Foundation


Member Services Manager – Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity

Project Consultant - Transform Consulting Group

Services Support Assistant - Disciples Church Extension Fund


Marketing and Communications Project Coordinator - International School of Indiana

Director, Communications - Indiana Chamber of Commerce

Public Relations Specialist - Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University

Manager, Digital Marketing - Indiana Sports Corp

Events Manager - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana, Inc.


Financial Services Accountant - Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP)

Accounting Manager - Alpha Gamma Delta Property Management

Tuition and Financial Aid Specialist - Guerin Catholic High School

Human Resources


Research Associate - United Way of Central Indiana

Information Technology


Substance Use Therapist - Children's Bureau, Inc.

Housing Coordinator - Exodus Refugee Immigration

Pre-Arrival Associate - Exodus Refugee Immigration

Reception and Placement Case Manager - Exodus Refugee Immigration

Childcare Ministry Lead Teacher - Edna Martin Christian Center

Childcare Ministry Teacher Assistant - Edna Martin Christian Center

Outreach Coordinator - University of Indianapolis

Reentry Program Director – RecycleForce

Coach, Employment Enrichment Services - Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center

College Program Manager - Indiana Latino Institute

College Program Specialist - Indiana Latino Institute

Education Specialist - La Plaza, Inc.