Junior League Awards $100,000 to Local Area Non-Profits

Eight central Indiana nonprofit organizations have more resources to support their services thanks to the Junior League of Indianapolis (JLI). JLI awards grant money each December as part of its Community Assistance Grants program.

Two area nonprofits – Brookside Community Development Corporation (Brookside CDC) and School on Wheels – vied for the top spot in a pitch competition at JLI’s December membership meeting Thursday night. The winner earned $30,500 and the runner-up received $20,475. JLI members voted for the grant recipients based on the project that best aligned with its current focus area of preparing students for academic success.

Brookside CDC was this year’s top Community Assistance Grant winner. The organization is a church-based community development corporation that is creating opportunities of renewal and transformation for people residing in the Brookside neighborhood on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. Brookside CDC will use the grant funds from JLI to support its Brookside Community Play Program, which is currently providing e-learning hubs and after-school programs. The grant will enable the Play program to safely provide essential educational services to children who are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Brookside CDC is grateful for the Junior League of Indianapolis and their intentional efforts to support community-based nonprofits with funding and volunteerism,” said David Cederquist, CEO of Brookside CDC. “COVID-19 has forced many youth serving organizations to develop new ways to circumvent learning loss in students. JLI’s support will only allow our youth development programs to meet the important needs we will face in 2021.”

JLI’s $20,475 grant awarded to School on Wheels will support the organization’s virtual tutoring offerings. Since 2001, School on Wheels has been the only organization in the city exclusively dedicated to meeting the educational needs of homeless children. COVID-19 forced schools across the city to adopt remote learning, which is exacerbating pre-existing educational inequities between children impacted by homelessness and their housed peers. The Community Assistance Grant will enable School on Wheels to hire more staff as well as fund the technology needed to successfully provide virtual tutoring.

Six other nonprofits received support from JLI’s Community Assistance Grants Program:

● Exodus Refugee – $10,000
● Teachers’ Treasures – $10,000
● Salvation Army – $9,025
● Paws & Think – $7,500
● TeenWorks – $7,500
● Indianapolis Public Library Foundation – $5,000

“JLI endeavors to support lasting positive change in the lives of children and their families in our community,” said JLI President Patrice Dawson. “Since 2000, JLI has given nearly $2 million in Community Assistance Grants. In a time of critical need, this year’s slate of grantees are providing vital services to young people in central Indiana.”

Following an initial review round, the JLI Grants Committee members felt it important to divide the $100,000 pool among all finalists so no one non-profit walked away without funding. Given requests for support at the “$10,000 or less” level, the balance of nearly $51,000 was made available to divide between Brookside and School on Wheels according to member vote.

Click here to learn more about JLI’s Community Assistance Grant program.