FC Tucker Giving Circle was established to give agents and employees the opportunity to pool their donations as a group, to nominate local philanthropic organizations eligible for funding, and then to vote on which organizations to support. it was done. For 2021 funding, 33 unreliable organizations applied and agents and employees selected nine to receive a combined $81,000 in grants.
Each month, we feature one of nine organizations to learn more about the amazing work they do in our communities.
Getting to Know the Family Promises of Greater Indianapolis
How many people and geographic areas does your organization serve?
Our organization is a haven for families with children, and we fill gaps in Social Security by accepting any makeup of the family. We are located in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis, and while 90% of families are from Indianapolis, we accept any family with children who can enter the shelter on the same day. Therefore, some families come from cities and towns around Indiana.
What is the story of your organization’s founding?
the listener takes the heart
In the late 1980s, the crisis of family homelessness was being explored. And what went wrong? Most traditional shelters separated genders – some for women and young children, others for men and older boys – and families were separated. In 1993, a pioneer woman came to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Carmel, IN, on a Wednesday evening. Her name was Karen Olson. She started the first Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) a few years ago at Summit in New Jersey.
That evening only a dozen people attended his talk. But one man—a member of the Carmel United Methodist Church—heard her message with all his heart, and saw the possibility. Dr. Dean Lindsay had recently retired from Elanco, and was figuring out where to devote himself next. He spoke with Karen immediately after, and regularly over the next few months. He researched the local requirement; He found it huge. He formed an interfaith outreach group, with a prominent member named Pastor Brian Byrne of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. They simultaneously recruited other circles. Northside Indianapolis Interfaith Hospitality Network was born (later renamed to drop the term Northside).
best kept secret
Pastor Brian left Indianapolis to visit other ministries, and in doing so, he established 16 other Family Promise affiliates in the Midwest. Dean lived in Greater Indianapolis and became the first chairman of the board. Pastor Brian, the Dean and the Board appointed Portia Radford as the first Director. Portia first accepted the family on October 3, 1994, and they stayed that night at Carmel UMC.
In those first days, rollaway beds were loaded onto the back of pick-up trucks. Volunteers used tarpaulins in the rain. The eight founding congregations divide 52 weeks of the year among them, hosting four families at a time facing homelessness.
Word spread. Soon more circles joined. Another “rotation” formed to cover 52 weeks for an additional four families at once. With over 1,500 volunteers from 35 host congregations serving meals, planning kids’ activities, driving vans, sleeping through the night, washing sheets, and more, it quickly became one of Greater Indianapolis’ best-kept secrets.
promise to keep families together
In 2013, the organization expanded to include the Aftercare Program – a case manager who continues to walk with families after successfully exiting the IHN program. The name Interfaith Hospitality Network wasn’t enough to even cover this new program, so our local partner followed the example of other IHNs in the country and renamed it “Greater Indianapolis’s Family Promise.” Its founding program was named IHN.
The Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis continues today as a local, independent 501(c)3 nonprofit registered in the state of Indiana. But we are part of an affiliated network of over 200 Family Promise branches across the country with the same core values and mission. There are now affiliates in Goshen, Lafayette, Hendricks County, and Hamilton County, Indiana.
We are a family promise because we believe in that promise – the potential – that is inherent in every family that enters our door. It also refers to our promise to keep a family together, and to help the family succeed in its most difficult times. Since 1994, our volunteers and congregations have helped over 1,000 families with children. We will continue our urgency to find ways to meet the needs of more families, always with the goal of one day not needing us anymore.
What is the one thing that surprises people the most about your organization?
Family Shelter in Indianapolis receives an average of 10 calls per day from people seeking a room or bed. In the non-winter months, most have to be turned away because shelters are full. However, when COVID-19 hit and demand still rose, Family Promise was able to expand from eight shelter rooms to 20 shelter apartments for families.
What are the recipients of your services saying about your organization?
“I am so grateful that this apartment [shelter] My family was here to stay. This makes it so much easier to take my son to his appointments at Relay…he has stage IV kidney failure. I never thought that being in a shelter could actually reduce our stress. —A mother of three living in an apartment shelter project
If people want to volunteer with your organization, what is their next step?
To get involved, email [email protected]
Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
Giving Circle Support goes 100% to financial aid to help families pay for move-in costs for their new homes when they leave the shelter. We are very grateful for this support!