Representatives said when you think of building up a neighborhood, people often think of actual buildings. But in many cases, it’s the people who are being built up for success that make all the difference.
La Plaza and Groundwork Indy are two Indianapolis nonprofits. They have stark differences in the work they do but the central focus is the same: building community.
La Plaza is a Latino organization that provides education programs for Latino youth and access to health and social services for immigrant families.
“Unfortunately the Latino community is disproportionately affected by poverty, lower rates of high school. So this program specifically allows us to target those areas,” said President Miriam Acevedo-Davis.
Groundwork Indy engages youth and focuses work on environmental, economic and social well-being.
“There is a desire sometimes to label youth of color, particularly low-income youth of color, as at risk youth. But the bottom line is all youth are at risk when they don’t have the supports that they need,” said Groundwork Indy Executive Director Phyllis Boyd.
The pair are this year’s Bank of America Neighborhood Builder awardees. Both will get $200,000 to expand services in an effort to build community. Nonprofit leaders said at a basic level, the award is going to help engage more youth and more families.
“It’s incredibly invaluable to our community. It’s an opportunity for us to put flexible funding into these not-for-profits who do really important work,” said Andy Crask with Bank of America.
The benefits of funds like this nonprofit leader said, while it’s feeding into the individual organizations, the impact is community wide. A more educated and healthy population means good news for the city.
“Creating those opportunities so Latinos can be more part of the community and to give back. To be able to pay taxes and buy houses and start businesses,” said Acevedo-Davis.
And well-rounded youth means prepared leaders of tomorrow.
“By doing this work with youth, by helping them connect to community in this way — we are hoping to build their sense of agency about themselves and what they can do in the world,” said Boyd.