16 Tech Awards $500,000 in First Round of Community Investment Fund Grants

16 Tech Community Corporation today announced $500,000 in grant awards to 15 projects and resident-led initiatives that support the neighborhoods closest to the 16 Tech Innovation District.

The grants are the first awards of the 16 Tech Community Investment Fund, a community-focused fund launched in 2019 to ensure access, opportunity and revitalization of the neighborhoods in and around the 16 Tech Innovation District.

“Today’s announcement of grant awards is the culmination of more than a year-long process to develop fund priorities and guidelines in partnership with the 16 Tech Investment Fund Advisory Committee, neighborhood associations and the City of Indianapolis. Grants will support new neighborhood-based projects and expand existing programs, helping residents start and grow small businesses, preserve and celebrate neighborhood culture and history, and deliver skills training for tomorrow’s workforce,” said Bob Coy, 16 Tech Community Corporation president and CEO. “As part of our grant process, neighborhood residents endorsed projects as having meaningful impacts on their communities, and we’re excited to support these initiatives.”

The 16 Tech Community Investment Fund is guided by an advisory committee of residents, city officials and organizational representatives with assistance from the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). The committee helps to ensure the fund and its grants align with projects identified as most impactful to residents in the Near West, Near Northwest and surrounding neighborhoods, including a focus on workforce training, business growth, education, community organizing, and infrastructure and beautification.

Grantees are:

Education and workforce development organizations

  • Marian University ($72,500): Launch a new dual-enrollment pilot program at Riverside High School to promote post-secondary access for neighborhood youth.
  • Stemnasium Learning Labs ($43,500): Provide scholarships for students living in the Riverside neighborhood to attend a 40-week STEM Saturday Academy.
  • Believers United in Local Development (BUILD) ($42,000): Expand a construction training and apprenticeship program for young adults in Haughville and the west side.
  • Elevate Indianapolis ($37,000): Expand the college and career readiness program at George Washington High School to prepare students for life after high school.
  • Christel House ($33,000): Provide adults a second chance to earn a high school diploma and industry certifications.
  • ProAct Indy ($25,000): Fund service-learning opportunities for students at Vanguard Collegiate Middle School.

Community development organizations

  • Christamore House ($70,000): Connect and engage neighborhood residents with interactive STEM-focused education and workforce development opportunities.
  • Flanner House ($57,000): Create a new retail entrepreneurship training program and pop-up market space for residents to open retail businesses in Near Northwest neighborhood.
  • Near Northwest Governance Committee ($45,000): Expand the number of homeowners in the Near Northwest through high-quality lease-to-own programs.
  • Rebuilding Together ($13,000): Support critical repairs for low-income, senior or disabled homeowners in the Near Northwest neighborhood.

Neighborhood associations

  • Near Northwest Governance Committee ($13,500): Increase resident engagement and outreach.
  • Lillian Davis Foundation ($8,500): Support a STEM summer camp for students in the Riverside neighborhood and support the Riverside Parade.
  • Stringtown Neighborhood Association ($5,000): Increase resident engagement and outreach.

Arts organizations

  • Indy Convergence ($20,000): Enhance Indy Convergence’s facility, including façade and street scape improvements.
  • Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library ($15,000): Create an exhibit that showcases Kurt Vonnegut’s relationship with jazz music and the history of jazz along Indiana Avenue.

The above grants were among the more than 60 grant applications submitted in late 2019 and early 2020 for consideration. A second round of grants, totaling another $500,000, will be awarded later in 2020 for a total of $1 million in grants this inaugural year. In subsequent years, approximately $350,000 in funding is anticipated to be available annually for community investment.

“Philanthropy is an essential piece of the American way of life,” said Starla Hart, director of Community Initiatives for 16 Tech. “Our community investment fund is providing innovation in the field by engaging residents in the decision-making process and making place-based investments as well as being the first development of our kind to employ this means of building community with neighbors.”

The 16 Tech Community Investment Fund was seeded with $3 million in public funding through the City of Indianapolis and will be sustained long-term through a $0.20-per-square-foot assessment paid by tenants in the 16 Tech Innovation District. The 16 Tech Community Corporation will also seek philanthropic funding from individuals and organizations interested in investing in communities in and around 16 Tech.

16 Tech is a 50-acre development along Indiana Avenue with a mix of office, creative, residential, and retail spaces in addition to green space and trails to foster innovation in tech, life sciences and advanced manufacturing. The first tenants will move into the anchor building this summer, and construction is underway on a 100,000-square-foot innovation hub with flexible office and incubator space, a makerspace and an artisan marketplace to open in early 2021.

To read more about each grantee and download a video of the grant announcement, visit the 16 Tech website at 16tech.com/grant-awards.