INDIANAPOLIS — The City of Indianapolis is highlighting its efforts to improve visibility for the disabled community and recognizing some of the key organizations making our city more inclusive.

The disabled community is the largest minority group in Indianapolis.

Mayor Joe Hogsett has been working to make the city more inclusive for this group with the help of several local organizations.

Those organizations are being recognized during the annual Indianapolis Access and Inclusion Awards.

The Fair Housing Center Of Central Indiana is this year’s winner of the Accessibility Award for their work in addressing fair housing issues.

“People with disabilities also experienced other forms of discrimination,” said Amy Nelson, executive director, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. “It’s common across protected classes, being harassed because of their disability, just outright refusal to rent just because somebody has a disability also occurs.”

We know the two finalists for the Employer Award – given to local companies who are making inclusivity a priority and hiring many individuals with disabilities.

The Indiana Disability Rights and JD Sports Finish Line Foundation are in the running after being recognized for their incredible efforts.

“This isn’t about philanthropy,” said Marty Posh, president, JD Sports | Finish Line Foundation. “This is about our company, hiring people of all ages of all abilities. Our employees that we received from Outside the Box are some of our best employees. They are very dedicated, they’re very passionate now about JD Finish Line.”

Another organization being highlighted for their good work is Outside the Box. It focuses on helping those with disabilities find work and thrive in our community. For free of charge, Outside the Box partners with businesses to improve hiring those with disabilities and make sure everything is accessible to them.

“We try to make those connections with these businesses, and then get our participants placed into these businesses and help them thrive,” said Matt Fultz, executive director of Outside the Box.

“Those opportunities and opportunities that similar businesses around the community, provide for the people we serve are just life changing,” said Amy Bonner, coordinator at Outside the Box.

The Indianapolis Access and Inclusion Awards is no longer one singular event but will be integrated into award presentations into events the mayor will be attending throughout the year to increase awareness and visibility of the individuals and organizations trying to lessen the barriers for people with disabilities in Indianapolis.

These awards are not just about recognizing the good work that’s being done but to inspire more people to join their cause and continue this work.