September 27, 2022
Nonprofit engages Grant County youth with a new mobile play experience
WonderSpace expands options in area with one of Indiana’s highest rates of childhood poverty
After Stephanie Freemyer and her family returned to her hometown of Marion, Ind., several years ago, she was struck by the lack of indoor opportunities for children to engage in stimulating play. Her two young children, ages 5 and 2 at the time, often complained of having “nothing to do.”

“When we were in North Carolina and Pasadena (Calif.), our kids were outside all the time,” Freemyer said. “Then coming here, it was cold, raining, or snowing eight months out of the year. It really impacted our kids.”

Grant County, where Marion is located, is familiar with these types of comparisons when it comes to opportunities for children. For years, it has had the distinction of having one of the highest rates of child poverty in Indiana — as high as 31 percent in 2018 and 22.7 percent in 2019, according to Indiana Kids Count data. That compares to a national childhood poverty rate of 14.4 percent in 2019.

And, as research continuously reveals, childhood poverty can lead to other challenges, including poor academic outcomes and an elevated risk of behavioral, social, and health challenges. In Grant County, 2018 average math and reading proficiency scores lagged behind state averages — 36 percent for math and 40 percent for reading, compared to the state’s averages of 46 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

These types of statistics, along with the lack of indoor play opportunities, were on Freemyer’s mind when she launched WonderSpace as a nonprofit in 2019 with no previous experience in establishing an organization. WonderSpace now includes a mobile play experience of four distinct areas designed to increase health and wellness among young people through physical, exploratory, imaginative, and cognitive play.

Since it doesn’t have a permanent location, WonderSpace welcomes visitors to free one-day or two-day pop-up mobile play days held in schools, churches, and businesses that donate their space. In its first year, more than 600 children and family members attended WonderSpace pop-up events. Last year, it welcomed more than 5,000 individuals to the mobile play event, which features the interactive stations Cardboard City, Imagination Playground, Snug Play, and Higher Flyers. The stations all contain loose parts that encourage exploration, engineering, and imagination.

Public transit is more than a bus line — it can be a lifeline
by Tashi Copeland, communications officer at Central Indiana Community Foundation

A real problem is people don’t recognize the importance of transportation unless they don’t have access to a personal vehicle.

*Insert nervous laugh as I look around the room guiltily. 

When you’ve always had your own vehicle, you don’t even consider what life would be like without it. I’m a perfect example. My parents bought my first car before I passed my driving test. I won the “first-year-student parking lotto” to bring my car to campus freshman year of college. During my senior year, I spent a large portion of my day on the roads, as I worked in Carmel, interned at the Pyramids on the northside of Indianapolis, went to school in Downtown Indy, and, at the end of the night, returned to my Fishers home. My entire life was dependent on having my own car. And I know that my situation is not unique. You may have had a very similar experience driving from school to internship to work and then, eventually, home day in and day out.

Now imagine this: Your car breaks down, and you can’t afford repairs with entry-level wages and student loan bills. You lose that internship because no one is available to drive you to the West Side in the middle of the day. The internship is a requirement for graduation so that degree is put on hold. Oh, and that co-worker-turned-friend that’s been picking you up in the morning for your 6:30 a.m. shift? They just got a better job offer and moves away. Seeing as you no longer have transportation for the 15-minute-commute to Carmel (the average commute for work in Marion County is 23 minutes, by the way), you get fired. No income equals eviction.

Losing your access to transportation can easily become the pivotable moment when someone’s circumstances dramatically change. Thankfully, that’s not my story. If it were, I probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to write this article. But it quite easily could have been.

Connectivity. The term that keeps coming across our newsfeeds. From the national launch of the Reconnecting Communities pilot program to the local partnership between the City of Indianapolis and Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) through the Connected Communities Initiatives, leaders are recognizing and taking action to solve the connectivity problem.

Understand the rules of charitable state solicitation registrations
Charitable solicitation registration rules exist to protect donors and charities. These registrations help donors make informed decisions about the charitable organizations they are giving to. Thirty-nine states have a registration requirement, but Indiana is not one. As a result, charitable organizations may forget about these rules when they start soliciting charitable donations outside of Indiana.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the definition for solicitation can include in-person requests, telephone calls, mailings, emails, websites, and social media. Each state has its own definition of solicitation, so it is important to review the rules before an organization starts soliciting in a particular state. Registration in each state typically requires a small initial registration fee and may require an annual fee as well. Typical items included with registration may include governing documents, IRS determination letter, audited financial statements, and copies of a recently filed Form 990. Watch
Episode 20: Earlier this year, we interviewed John Elliott about his decision to retire as CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana — effective September 2022. During that conversation with Shari Finnell, John talked about why he decided it was time to retire and how the pandemic led to significant changes and growth at the state’s largest food bank.  Listen
The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL), Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, has named Courtney Penn as director of childcare licensing. Penn previously was OECOSL’s director of childcare learning.
Girl Scouts of Central Indiana has hired Dawn Brand Fluhler as director of communications. Brand Fluhler previously was director of experience design application for Indiana University Health.
Women's Fund of Central Indiana, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, has distributed $150,000 to 12 organizations through its Thrive Grants. The Thrive Grants initiative is designed to strengthen equity in its grantmaking through investments in small organizations led by people of color that serve women and girls. Learn more

School on Wheels, which provides academic support to children affected by housing insecurity and homelessness, has changed its name to Brightlane Learning. Leaders said the organization will continue its focus on transforming the lives of children through the power of education.

Temporary relief under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program provides an option for those who were previously rejected for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or who have made payments that were determined to be ineligible. Learn more and apply by Oct. 31

2022 marks 10 years of a focused animal welfare initiative for the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust in Marion County. From 2012 to 2021, intake of cats and dogs at local shelters dropped 40 percent, adoptions increased nearly 30 percent, and euthanasia numbers dropped by nearly 85 percent. Learn more

Main Street Productions, Inc., a community theatre company in Westfield, has been renamed “Basile Westfield Playhouse”after receiving a sizeable donation from Frank and Katrina Basile. Learn more

The IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI recently received a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to launch a housing equity initiative to reduce Indianapolis' infant mortality rate.

How is the nonprofit industry doing? FORVIS is seeking your input for the State of the Nonprofit Industry Survey. Results will be shared in 2023. Complete this brief survey so your nonprofit can be represented in the report.
Everyday strategies for navigating unconscious bias and microaggressions webinar on Sept. 28 from 9-10:30 a.m. Attendees will gain the skills needed to reduce the frequency of microaggressions. Presented by Leadership Johnson County. Cost: $59 per person for LJC and Franklin College alumni, Franklin, Aspire and Indy Chamber members; $69 for the general public. Register

Understanding donor-advised funds webinar on Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. or Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. Learn about updates to DAFs and insights from experts. The session will be followed by a Q&A. Presented by Johnson, Grossnickle & Associates. Cost: Free but attendance is limited. Please register in advance.

Leadership and healing: What’s the connection? webinar on Oct. 5 from 9 a.m.-noon. Identify and list specific practices that can be developed and used to enhance and strengthen individual and organizational resilience. Presented by Leadership Johnson County. Cost: $59 per person for LJC and Franklin College alumni, Franklin, Aspire and Indy Chamber members; $69 for the general public. Register

Successful grant proposals training on Oct. 8 from 1:30-4 p.m. at Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St. Learn about the grant application process and assess whether your organization is ready to apply for grants. Presented by the Indianapolis Public Library. Cost: Free. Register

Setting vision and strategy webinar on Oct. 13 from 10-11:30 a.m. Learn the four essential pillars of nonprofit organizational health and how to apply strategic planning. Presented by Hedges. Cost: $90 for two people from the same nonprofit. Deadline is Oct. 11. Register
Central Indiana Land Trust is seeking volunteers on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m.- noon to help plant native plants at White River Bluffs, a nature preserve that is not yet open to the public. Learn more
Rely on fundraising fundamentals, thank donors, connect with supporters, and create sustainable growth to attract gifts in an uncertain economy.
Strengthen networks that can survive even the toughest moments, develop conflict management strategies, and identify and align their theory of change with resources.
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Private month-to-month offices for lease
Nexus Impact Center has two furnished micro-offices and a premium suite available for month-to-month rental. Leases include free meeting room credits, access to high-speed internet, free copy, scanning, and printing, and free coffee. Micro-office rental rates at Nexus, which attracts small businesses and nonprofits, start at $393/month. Learn more
Director of Programs - Don Wood Foundation
Job Seekers, what do you think of Charitable Advisors’ new job board? We moved our job board to HiringOpps in late April. Now, we are anxious to find out how the new system is working as a job seeker. If you have applied for a job using the new system, could you please take 2-minutes to let us know how it is going?
Executive Leadership (CEO/ED/COO)

President, Women’s Fund - Central Indiana Community Foundation

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) / Controller - Drum Corps International

Associate Executive Director – HRH - YMCA Of Greater Indianapolis

Fund Development/Marketing/PR/Advocacy

Vice President, Development & Communication - Firefly Children & Family Alliance

Development Event Assistant (Part-Time) - IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center

Director of Development - Highlands Latin School

Community Engagement Coordinator - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana

Manager, Development – Indianapolis, IN (Remote) - American Diabetes Association

Sr. Officer of Charitable Gift Planning - Central Indiana Community Foundation

Director of Annual & Leadership Giving - Bethany Theological Seminary

Individual Gift Officer - Riley Children's Foundation

Grateful Family Director - Riley Children's Foundation

Senior Editor/Writer - The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis

Admin Support/Clerical

Executive Assistant & Covenings Coordinator - Ball Brothers Foundation

Admin and Project Support Associate - Community Solutions, Inc


Finance Coordinator - Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity

Human Resources Manager - Humane Society for Hamilton County

Programs/Program Support

Survivor Advocate - Firefly Children & Family Alliance

Director of LYNC Services - Saint Vincent de Paul Indianapolis

Manager of Strategic Initiatives - Central Indiana Corporate Partnership

Program Manager - Hoosier Burn Camp, Inc.

Campaign Planning Director - Riley Children's Foundation

Project Manager - Health Care Education & Training

Culinary Program Manager - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana