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Foundation withholds Indy library funds until racial inequity, bias addressed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A foundation that serves the city announced Monday it will not give money to Indianapolis Public Library until the government agency acts on racial equity in the workplace.

The Indianapolis Foundation, an affiliate of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, announced the decision publicly in a Facebook post.

“We are disheartened and concerned by ongoing testimonies from Indianapolis Public Library staff and board members — particularly Black women and other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) — about experiences of inequity and bias,” the post said. “Libraries are critical community and education centers that must be spaces where all members of the community are welcome and have equitable access to knowledge and culture – no matter place, race or identity. That cannot happen if all staff do not feel welcome, included and supported in doing their work.”

The Indianapolis Foundation oversees a $28 million library fund.

In May, the foundation’s Library Fund awarded $714,000 for various projects, including ones for an Indianapolis bicentennial retrospective on race and race relations in central Indiana, for racial equity training for Library Fund partners, and for expending access to BIPOC literature at Indianapolis Public Schools. The majority of the money, $628,000, went for an internet project in the library.