November 17, 2020
Studies Show Giving, Engagement Increase Post Crisis
Researchers anticipate a higher level of charitable behavior in the wake of COVID-19
Mark Hrywna, The NonProfit Times

Charitable activity rose in the years after a major crisis, even in areas most affected, according to a report that examined three recent crises in the United States.

“Community In Crisis: A Look at How U.S. Charitable Actions and Civic Engagement Change in Times of Crisis,” is a report by Nathan Dietz and Robert Grimm of the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.

The 12-page report examines three recent crises — Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, and the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. Charitable behavior can be considered volunteering with an organization, donating to charity or even working with neighbors to fix or improve something in the community and attending public meetings where community issues were discussed.

“Given the dramatic and sudden changes in social life, many observers believe the novel coronavirus pandemic is likely to exert a much larger impact on civic engagement in America than any other event in recent history. Already, observers are drawing contrasts with the Great Recession, which did not seem to have a lasting impact on many charitable and civic trends,” according to the report.

“Like a lot of research reports that have come out recently, this was just driven by the immediacy” of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis, Dietz said during an interview on the latest episode of Fresh Research, a podcast by The NonProfit Times. “We talked about it in mid-March, put something out about what happens with charitable behavior when a big national crisis hits,” said Dietz, associate research scholar at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a senior researcher at its Do Good Institute. “The scope of this crisis was going to be unlike anything else,” he said of the pandemic, adding that the Great Recession affected the entire country and lasted almost two years.

“We were interested in not just what happened in places where it happened, whether there was a surge in activity — which is what we expected — we were interested in what happens after that; after the crisis drops off the front page of out-of-town newspapers. How long before engagement and civic activities drop back to normal,” Dietz said.

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CICF Introduces Equity Framework for grants made through The Indianapolis Foundation
By Tamara Winfrey-Harris, vice president of Community Leadership & Effective Philanthropy, CICF

The journey to equity is never ending and requires self-reflection. Over the last year, the grantmaking team at Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), led by Andrew Black and Alicia Collins, directors of community leadership, have interrogated our responsive processes for grants made through The Indianapolis Foundation; worked closely with our neighbors and CICF Community Ambassadors; benchmarked against other foundations moving toward equity and anti-racism; and learned a lot through efforts to get COVID-19 relief to our vulnerable neighbors who need it most.

This diligence will allow us to evolve our responsive grantmaking process in the new year, making it more equitable and effective for Indianapolis not-for-profits.

In 2021, using The Indianapolis Foundation Equity Framework, we will make unrestricted responsive grants of up to $50,000 to mission-aligned not-for-profits in Marion County that …

  • Focus on root causes and not symptoms of racial inequity
  • Support efforts that address and seek to eliminate disparities
  • Focus on addressing systems-level reforms rather than one-off programs
  • Serve high percentages of under-appreciated, marginalized populations with quality, comprehensive programming with a sharpened focus on outcomes
  • Are designed with and endorsed by community stakeholders, including residents and/or those being served by the organization or project
  • Include a feedback mechanism for residents and/or populations served to inform programming design and delivery
  • Possess organizational and board leadership that is representative of the populations served

EmployIndy has promoted Rev. Rodney Francis to chief programs officer. Francis previously served as the senior director of opportunity youth services for the organization.
EmployIndy has promoted Marie Mackintosh to chief strategy officer. Mackintosh previously served as the chief operations officer for EmployIndy.
EmployIndy has promoted Tehea Harding to chief financial officer. Harding previously served as the fiscal administrative officer for the organization.
EmployIndy has promoted Chelsea Meldrum to chief development & external affairs officer. Meldrum previously served as the development & external affairs officer.
The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has named Ariyan Hines as program associate. Hines joined the organization as a communications intern in 2020.
The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has hired Chaya Cassell as program associate. Cassell joined the team as an intern in 2020.
Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis is hosting an informational meeting for non-profits interested in applying for a grant in 2021. The virtual session is Dec. 7 at 3:00 p.m. Register

Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis is offering scholarships for women early in their not-for-profit careers. The 2021 scholarship program, which covers the $1,250 membership fee for the selected applicants, is designed to help them explore the benefits of full membership and enrich the organization’s grants process. Apply

Leadership Indianapolis has released its updated Get On Board 2020 Nonprofit Guide with information about opportunities to get involved and engaged with the community through more than 100 local organizations. Read

SAVI has released a report on the health and economic impact of COVID-19 on Indianapolis neighborhoods. The SAVI report identifies the areas in Indianapolis most affected by COVID-19, particularly those already disproportionately affected by poverty. Read

The Girl Scouts of Central Indiana is learning to reinvent itself with a new “community-centric” business model, placing its staff in remote, coworking locations around the state instead of the organization’s headquarters on the west side of Indianapolis. Read


JCC Indianapolis has received a $22,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.'s Youth Program Resilience Fund to continue to provide safe and socially distanced early childhood education, afterschool care and school’s out programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read

Joseph Maley Foundation (JMF) has received a $105,000 grant from the Youth Program Resilience Fund of Lilly Endowment Inc. JMF will use the grant to continue education programming in central Indiana during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read
As the pandemic rages on and nonprofits adjust to remote and distributed work, it is clear that there needs to be a renewed focus on engaging older volunteers.
Leading a nonprofit organization is a tremendous responsibility, both for boards and executives. Boards that don't pay attention to executive evaluation and compensation are opening the organization up to serious risks.
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