United Way of Central Indiana Awards Family Opportunity Fund Grants

$2.5 million in total awarded to 11 community-based organizations to help improve education, financial stability, health and well-being of families in Central Indiana.

INDIANAPOLIS – United Way of Central Indiana today announced the first round of grant recipients of the Family Opportunity Fund, one of three United Way funds unveiled last spring as part of its new strategic framework to fight generational poverty in Central Indiana. Eleven community-based organizations will receive grants totaling $2.5 million in this first cycle of funding to help support programs to improve the education, financial stability, health and well-being of thousands of families in the Central Indiana community.

Fundamental to United Way’s new framework is the adoption of the Two-Generation Approach (2Gen), the promising practice that combines services to help children and the adults in their lives reach their full potential together. Since 2017, United Way has been implementing the work of 2Gen through its Great Families 2020 initiative for which it received a multimillion-dollar federal grant. With the announcement today of unrestricted grants from its new Family Opportunity Fund, United Way expands 2Gen efforts to serve more than 2,500 families – with the goal being more parents with family-supporting jobs, healthy children meeting developmental and educational milestones, and all family members better connected within their neighborhoods and communities.

“Poverty can trap a family for generations. We can’t fight it one program at a time, one agency at a time, or one member of each family at a time,” said Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana. “When health and human service programs are designed to build on the potential of an entire family, at the same time, the resulting family structure is stronger and better for both generations. This work is at the core of our mission to fight for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of our community.”

Family Opportunity Fund Grants – the Process
After programming a special 2Gen Summit and workshops last summer for organizations interested in the 2Gen model, United Way invited community-based organizations to submit a letter of interest for funding in August. A 12-member workgroup made up of United Way board members, staff and community volunteers reviewed 34 letters of interest and recommended 11 proposals for funding. The Executive Committee of the Board approved the funding, ranging from $75,000 to $340,000 per organization.

Recipients are expected to regularly report and update United Way of Central Indiana on progress toward meeting expected outcomes in education, workforce development, economic assets, social capital and mental and physical health of families. With more than 230,000 households in Central Indiana living in or one step away from poverty, all funds and initiatives of United Way aim to reverse the devastating trend of generational poverty in the Central Indiana community.

Grant Recipients (alpha order)

Barbara B. Jordan YMCA in Morgan County
Barbara Jordan YMCA’s program, Family Connect, will support families in Morgan County with an approach that bundles services for a family, including childcare and summer programming for youth, and career and financial coaching for caregivers. Barbara Jordan will partner with IU Health to deliver family wellness services including parent education, and nutrition and exercise workshops.

Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities’ E2: Education and Employment Program will support low-income, homeless, and refugee families in six counties in Central Indiana. Through a housing and case-management approach, Catholic Charities will provide employment coaching for caregivers, while partnering with Indiana Department of Education’s Office of English Learning and Migrant Education and with Indiana Department of Workforce Development and adult education entities to offer skill-based and vocational training for participating caregivers.

Early Learning Indiana
Early childhood education is crucial for working families and it’s being hindered by a workforce shortage. Early Learning Indiana’s system-level efforts will attract and retain a qualified workforce for early childhood education through a developed alternative training path. By piloting an innovative workforce model that is competency-based and job-embedded, ELI will lower the cost, accelerate time to productivity and improve the resultant quality of early learning teacher preparation.

Fathers and Families
Fathers and Families Center will serve families in Marion County through a case-management and relationship-driven model. New programs will be developed to support physical, mental, and behavioral health services, alongside robust partners to support workforce, education and health-based pursuits.

Flanner House of Indianapolis, Inc
Flanner House of Indianapolis will serve families on the Northwest side of Indianapolis through a bundled, community-center approach. Flanner House will provide childcare services for the children of participating families, and workforce development and skill-training services for their caregivers – primarily through a partnership with Marian University’s HSE coursework and certification programs.

Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana
Goodwill’s Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) program helps parents increase their educational attainment by simultaneously earning their high school diploma and/or credentials and college credits, guarantees parents are placed in employment with a career pathway leading to increased earning potential, and confirms children reach physical, social and emotional developmental milestones.

Horizon House
Horizon House’s Housing Plus program will serve homeless families in Marion County through a housing-based case management 2Gen approach. Family services provided will include housing supports, financial and employment coaching, physical/mental health services, and education-based supports. Through partnerships with Indiana Housing Authority, City of Indianapolis, Healthy Families, Goodwill and others, Horizon House will collectively help the families they serve to achieve their educational, workforce and health goals.

Indianapolis Urban League (IUL)
IUL’s Urban Family Engagement Program will provide intense wrap-around services for families to address postsecondary education and employment pathways, skills training, peer and family counseling, health and mental health services for the parents, and access to high-quality education programs and educational support for children. Through various corporate-based partnerships including Cummins, IU Health, Eskenazi Health, Kroger, and others, IUL will assist with employment opportunities as well.

Lutheran Child and Family Services of Indiana/Kentucky, Inc.
In collaboration with Community Health Network, Lutheran Child Family Services (LCFS) has partnered with Paramount Community Heights to propose the new INSPIRE program (Identify Needs, Support Potential, Increase Resiliency & Empowerment). Through INSPIRE, LCFS will help families in Marion County and surrounding areas gain the skills/resources needed to escape the cycle of poverty via improved education, enhanced employment, increased social capital, and optimal health/mental health status.

Southeast Community Services
Southeast Community Services will serve families on the Southeast side of Indianapolis in Marion County through bundled employment and financial coaching services, family goal setting and wellness, and teacher mini-grants for nearby schools and teachers. Southeast Community Center has partnered with several partners to ensure the services are integrated and outcomes are achieved for families, including SENSE Charter School, Invent Learning Hub, and Fletcher Place Community Center, Indy Achieves and Indiana Legal Services.

Starfish Initiative
Starfish Initiatives will serve families in Marion County and surrounding areas. Youth who participate in the programs will receive various academic, college to career, and workforce supports through a mentorship model. Adult/caregiver participants of the youth served by Starfish’s youth-mentoring programs will simultaneously receive employment coaching, mentoring services and employment referrals with established corporate partners. These efforts will contribute to improving the education and income levels in ways that will, in turn, support the increased college attainment rates of their youth.

United Way Impact Fund Investments – What’s Next
Impact Funds comprise $8.5 million of United Way’s investments to community-based organizations this fiscal year. This is in addition to the $8.2 million in operating funds that all 84 community-based organizations accredited by United Way will receive over the next year.

Next month, United Way will award its first grants from the Social Innovation Fund and a second round of funding from the Basic Needs Fund. A second round of Family Opportunity Fund grants will be announced in early 2020.

United Way Community Investments for 2019-2020
For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, United Way plans to invest more than $52 million in the community, through programs, grants and services, which include unrestricted grants to community-based organizations and donor designations to nonprofits. Also included are programmatic investments in the Centers for Working Families, the Indy Preschool Scholarship Program, and targeted homelessness initiatives as well as grants from the Energy Assistance Program, the Winter Assistance Fund, the Capital Projects Fund and the Facilities Maintenance Fund.


About United Way of Central Indiana: United Way is a community of donors, advocates, volunteers, and partners who fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. United Way invites all members of our community to LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating and volunteering to improve lives in Central Indiana. Visit uwci.org to learn more.



Jessica DiSanto | Senior Direction of Communications

office: 317-921-1224 | cell: 317-292-5608


Jennifer Hashem | Public Relations Manager

office: 317-921-1313 | cell: 563-271-4385


*United Way President and CEO Ann Murtlow and Chief Impact Officer Sara VanSlambrook are available for interviews upon request.