Citizens as Community Builders

Jay Hein

Bill Taft is Executive Director of the Indianapolis branch of Local Initiatives Support Corporation. In his American Outlook: Super City article entitled “Visionary Community Development Plans Earns Legacy Project,” Taft tells the story of how, in summer 2007, thousands of Indianapolis residents turned out for an unprecedented opportunity: to create quality-of-life plans for their own neighborhoods. Six low-income communities had been selected to design plans for improving all aspects of neighborhood life, including education, housing, health, safety, and the arts. Among those neighborhoods selected was the Near Eastside, a community of 40,000 residents known for having one of the nation’s highest home foreclosure rates.

Today, LISC Indianapolis continues to work with Taft at the head, to make changes within communities alongside the community-members who comprise them. 2015 was a record year for LISC as a whole, proving that community development in Indiana is still going strong since its boost during Super Bowl XLVI, and getting stronger.

 Eli Lilly has a rich history of corporate citizenship. One example of Lilly’s commitment to enriching Indianapolis today is its work with the IndyHunger Network. Dave Miner, former scientist and manager at Eli Lilly and Company, works alongside Elanco, Lilly, and Dow Agrosciences to come alonside community leaders to end hunger. These companies were burdened by the fact that one in five residents are hungry in their shared headquarters city of Indianapolis, they are full, active partners in the Indy Hunger Network, a collaboration of organizations in Greater Indianapolis that promotes access for all to nutritious food through a sustainable hunger relief system.