September 29, 2020
Reframing Human Services for Greater Impact
by Susan N. Dreyfus, president and CEO, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and Tracy Wareing Evans, president and CEO, American Public Human Services Association, for the Stanford Social Innovation Review

To realize the full value of human services community-based organizations, we need to change both the narrative around what they do and the structures for funding them, stressing shared values and a commitment to outcomes. 

What is a “human services community-based organization”?
Giving a definition is easy enough: Human services community-based organizations, or CBOs, are 501(c)(3) organizations that work in collaboration with government and philanthropic funders to build the human services ecosystem that ensures the health and well-being of all Americans. Most people know more familiar terms, like “nonprofit” or “charity,” or the work that CBOs do: providing for public safety and disaster preparedness; mental and behavioral health services; early childhood education and special education programs; family and community development; and job training and employment services. In short, CBOs support the health and well-being of children, families, and seniors enabling them to achieve their fullest potential.

However, when people think about “charity,” or about the work of human services organizations, does it bring to mind negative associations? Do they find themselves thinking about “handouts” for the poor, or imagine that nonprofits don’t operate as effectively as “real” businesses do? Perhaps, when people think about organizations that provide human services, they don’t think of them as being in the business of creating civil society and producing social change at all.

Writing a New Story for Human Services
CBOs are a foundation of national well-being. As illustrated in the groundbreaking 2018 report, “A National Imperative: Strengthening Human Services in America,” they play an irreplaceable role in improving health outcomes and reducing health care costs, in ensuring that children are safe in supporting neighborhoods, that they can succeed in school, in helping older adults maintain a high quality of life, in helping people with disabilities live their lives fully, in building quality, affordable housing, and in providing crucial mental health and substance abuse services.

However, framing is powerful. Many in the human services field are embracing a new lexicon for CBOs and the sector. Public misperceptions about CBOs—as the report concludes—not only “contribute to a lack of trust between government agencies, philanthropic funders, human services CBOs, and the American public” but:

“When CBOs are viewed as inefficient pass-throughs, rather than valuable economic entities and contributors to a healthy and productive society, funding tends to be highly restricted in nature. A human services CBO CEO in Illinois noted that ‘funders are more worried about what money is being spent on than what results the money is producing. They don’t place much trust in us to run our own operations.’”

These perceptions stand in the way of CBOs’ ability to innovate and to invest in new capabilities and infrastructure.

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A Commitment to Caring is Critical to the Community’s Bottom Line
by Sandy McCarthy, president of Retirement Services, OneAmerica®

The mention of OneAmerica® in central Indiana may likely spark thoughts about the company’s witty signboard, prominent position in Indianapolis’ downtown skyline, or its title sponsorship of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. While these are important aspects of the OneAmerica corporate identity, they don’t begin to tell the full story of the company’s commitment to the customers and communities it serves.

As the head of Retirement Services at OneAmerica, I often speak on the importance of working toward a secure financial future and leveraging education as a key to empowerment. Today, I’d like to go a step further and share how these concepts, which are so vital to our team in Retirement Services, are also foundational to OneAmerica and its commitment to our city and neighbors in central Indiana – and why, especially during these challenging times, that commitment is more important than ever.

Existing to help others
For more than 140 years, the companies of OneAmerica have operated from the perspective that our business is more than our bottom line. We’re committed to the Americans we serve and the Hoosiers we live and work with, and we believe it’s our privilege and responsibility to better the community we call home. From the top down, our leaders and associates are committed to giving back, and we view these community contributions to be as important as the impact we have on the retirement and financial services industry.

Empowering through education and opportunity
In the retirement realm, we understand that education and access to robust tools and resources can enable individuals to take ownership of their financial futures. The same concept applies in our community, where education and opportunity can open doors and help an individual find a promising path that once seemed out of reach.

Prosperity Indiana has hired Natalie James as a coalition builder. James, a graduate of Smith College, previously served as a Public Allies AmeriCorps Member at Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation. – Inside Indiana Business
The Indiana Donor Network has hired Amy Pruitt as manager of tissue services. Pruitt previously held roles as tissue processing supervisor and site quality systems specialist at Ohio-based Axogen, Inc. --Inside Indiana Business
The Huntington Arts and Entrepreneurial Center, a project of Pathfinder Services and the LaFontaine Arts Council, has received a $180,000 grant and a $600,000 program-related investment from AWS Foundation in Fort Wayne to help with start-up and operational needs. Read more

The Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking has recognized nine Hoosier leaders with its 2020 Outstanding Service Awards during the organization’s fourth annual conference. Presented to nine Hoosier leaders for their commitment to preventing sexual assault, sexual violence and human trafficking, particularly during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Donor management software platform, Bloomerang, has received a strategic growth investment from Baltimore-based growth equity firm JMI Equity. The funding will be used to further help nonprofit clients generate value from donor relationships. Learn more

Muncie Community Schools has secured four grants, totaling $825,000, to increase security, improve student literacy and help train teachers. The grants include $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice's School Violence Prevention Program. Learn more

COVID-19 Awards

The Legacy Foundation in Lake County and Indiana Black Expo are working together to help businesses meet financial needs brought on by pandemic-related challenges. The COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund will help small businesses with one-time grants, ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 each. Read more
In a K-shaped recovery, nonprofits should lean on major donors. Is it realistic to expect a healthy stream of charitable contributions in the midst of the worst economic situation since the Great Depression? Absolutely — if you approach the right people.
Strategically responding to disruption through social enterprise. The right framework presents a series of questions to help nonprofit leaders think clearly about whether social enterprise makes sense for their organization.
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.

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Executive Director - Henry County Expo Center

Executive Director - Mental Health America of Hendricks County


Grant Compliance Specialist - Edna Martin Christian Center

Leadership Giving Manager - United Way of Central Indiana

Director of Development - Alpha Sigma Tau

Director of Mission Advancement for Archdiocesan Education Initiatives - Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Development Manager - Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic


2 Gen Workforce Director - United Way of Central Indiana

Senior Director of Community and Capacity - United Way of Central Indiana

Senior Consultant - Community Solutions, Inc

Marketing /Communications/Events

Manager of Marketing and Communications - Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana


Office-Accounting Coordinator (part-time) - Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB)

Human Resources

Office/HR Manager - Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB)


Research Associate - United Way of Central Indiana

Database Coordinator – Newfields


Liaison - Community Partners - Children’s Bureau

Community and Parent Coordinator - Edna Martin Christian Center

Family Centered Services Supervisor - Hoosier Families Inc.

Program Assistant - Foster Success

Independent Living Coordinator (ILC) - accessABILITY Center for Independent Living, Inc.

Home-Based Programs Manager for Homeless Shelter – Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis

Social Worker - Indianapolis Public Library

Client Support Specialist - Good Samaritan Network (GSN)

Licensed Mental Health Clinician (LMHC) - HVAF of Indiana, Inc.

Career Coach - Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE)

Family Services Specialist I (Early Childhood/Head Start) - Transition Resources Corporation (TRC)

2Gen Coach - Southeast Community Services

Sales/Business Development


Staff Attorney, Survivor Justice Program - Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic