November 9, 2018
Central Indiana lost a talented, hard-working and loyal community advocate on October 29, 2018. Matthew Tully’s passing prompted condolences and accolades from many public officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, Congressman André Carson, Governor Eric Holcomb, and Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Hogsett. A multitude of community supporters and civic leaders refer to his fairness as a journalist, thoroughness as a reporter and passion as a resident of our great community. We at United Way of Central Indiana join in the chorus of mourning for Matt Tully, a true and honest hero in our community.
In 2014, Matt’s column provided relentless coverage of the inequities, safety concerns, and neglect occurring in childcare facilities. His courageous columns – with children as the focus – put the issues out front in a way that they could not be ignored. Matt was the catalyst that fueled our fight for quality childcare which changed the game for Indiana preschool children. By raising awareness of the issue, he motivated more action and helped us in the fight to change policy to create safer conditions and higher quality childcare mandates for our children. For United Way of Central Indiana and thousands of Hoosier families, Matt Tully is a hero.
To thousands of Indiana preschoolers and their families, Matt Tully is also their hero. As United Way of Central Indiana was leading a strong, statewide coalition of pre-k champions, Matt Tully was writing in support of the effort. As he said in February of 2017, “there is no more important debate at the Statehouse this year than the one over legislation to increase state-funded preschool support for low-income families. No other issue is more critical to the future of Indiana and, more important, to the thousands of its most vulnerable children.” We credit Matt for shining a light on this important issue and honor his advocacy for the expansion of preschool for more low-income children in our state.
His passion for children was evident throughout his career at the Indianapolis Star. In 2009, he embedded himself at Manual High School to tell stories of the students and teachers. He shared their hard struggles and small victories. Matt moved us to recognize that these students, their families and faculty are our neighbors. This experimental school was doing something special for the Christmas holiday season and students didn’t think anyone would come to see them. Many of the students had parents who couldn’t come because of working long hours. Some simply had no one. Matt challenged the community to come out and show they cared. In response to Matt’s column, more than 2,000 people created a traffic jam on the way to Manual High School, and the auditorium and the halls were packed with cheering fans. This was how Matt Tully leveraged his power as a journalist, columnist and passionate community advocate. He often paraphrased Billy Joel when he said: “I may be wrong, I may be crazy, but at least I have the guts to sign my name.” United Way of Central Indiana is glad that Matt Tully had the guts to inform us all, fight for our community and care deeply about our children.
We share this loss with our community in a very personal way, and we offer our condolences to his wife, their seven-year old son, family, friends and his colleagues at the Indianapolis Star. A hero has left us. Thankfully, his memory will live on through The Matthew L. Tully Memorial Fund, a CICF fund – forever supporting the education of vulnerable children in our community and cementing Matt’s legacy for generations to come.
Thank you, Matt.
The board and staff of United Way of Central Indiana