INDIANAPOLIS — When the federal government told the City of Indianapolis it would receive $419 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, Mayor Joe Hogsett said more than 10 percent of the total, $45 million, would be dedicated to community anti-violence program funding over the next three years.
Now, more than seven months after the mayor’s announcement, Indianapolis has yet to significantly tap into the funds and may not until midsummer.
“April 1 is when the window of when applications will be received,” said Alicia Collins, director of community leadership at the Central Indiana Community Foundation which is overseeing the Elevation Grant program for the city. “Our goal is to have the grant dollars out July 1.”
Round one of the funding will total $5.5 million while a second round of $8.5 million in grants won’t be announced until the fall.
By the time the grant money hits the programs committed to stopping violence at a neighborhood level, it’ll be 11 months after Hogsett announced his plans and halfway through 2022.
“I am profoundly confident that these moneys will be making a difference this summer, throughout the fall and then over the next two years,” said Hogsett. “Rather than do it as quickly as possible, which would open us up to allegations of just throwing money at problems, I think that we’re doing this collectively the right way.”
Collins said that CICF and the Indianapolis Foundation will step up its monitoring of groups receiving grants with quarterly reports to keep track of the progress the organizations make on meeting their goals.
Office of Public Health and Safety Director Lauren Rodriguez said the city and its partners have spent several months in listening sessions with neighborhood groups to determine local community anti-violence program priorities.
“So now we get to focus and healing and trauma-informed care and figuring out how are we dealing with our traumas in our community,” she said.
Bishop Donald Edwards, Jr. of Church of Glory said the emphasis on teaching small churches and organizations about the grant application process will help many local groups stand up for their programs.
“A lot of times smaller churches get lost in the cracks and even with a big business you need those small parts to make the business run,” he said. “That kind of help and expertise would help us small churches to get a good push start and as we get bigger, we’ll be able to help other small churches and small organizations stop violence.”
For more details on how to attend informational sessions and apply for grants log on to ElevationGrant.org.