The Indy Star recently ran a great article about the closing of a few Indianapolis community centers (“Community centers are too important to fail”) and how the city may not be really doing anything about it. The article is also trying to drive awareness that this could impact how safe our downtown Indy is for all us. Erika Smith speaks to crime in the urban pockets where these community centers were located. Most of these centers were being helped significantly through the years by United Way and the United Way dollars are now typically only going to only charities who run very successful operations and can report their successes very effectively. I’m on the board of one of the successful community centers Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center. Mary Rigg is now a recognized leader for providing GED and access to adult learning programs in the inner city area. Mary Rigg also has an unblemished balance sheet which it has worked hard on for a decade and very good financial reporting. And Mary Rigg is effectively measuring and reporting things like student reading progression during summer camps. Almost every grant now requires numerous measurables. But just because Mary Rigg is really good at measuring their success doesn’t mean we don’t really need these other organizations (now closing their doors) who are trying to serve the less fortunate.
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