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INDIANAPOLIS — Forty grassroots, neighborhood-based organizations received district crime prevention grants which “show potential to reduce crime in Marion County.” Back in February, we highlighted the city-county council’s new venture which gives each councilor a chance to select what they wanted to prioritize in their districts.

SAVI provided each councilor with a profile of their district which included the violent crime index, a measurement of the district’s violent crime plus the factors likely leading to violent crime. The determinants include poverty, unemployment, households receiving public assistance, undereducation and single-parent households.

Seventy-three grassroots organizations applied to receive grants from this pilot program, but 40 received some funding. The Chin Community of Indiana on the city’s south side received $5,000.

“Let’s just say some outside gang, or bad people, have infiltrated to part of our community,” President Peter Thawnghmung said.

Chin is a small population of people in Burma, several thousand of them migrated to Indiana and live here now. They said their foundations are their 40 churches on the city’s south side, the Marion County Health Department who also supplies them with grants and gives them office space and the Rotary Club of Indianapolis who assists with grants.

When people think of the area near Southport where CCI is located, they do not think of crime. But Thawnghmung said it does impact their tight-knit community.

“Our community, whenever we have an event, such as there are shootings or robbery, we tell each other,” Thawnghmung said.

CCI said they are going to use their grant money for youth mentoring.

“Sometimes we take them out to breakfast, or lunch, and use that time as mentoring opportunity,” Thawnghmung said.

New Direction Church, which has a campus in District 13 on the east side, received $5,000 for their youth summer employment program for teens ages 13-17.

“We do some things in the YouTube space and online, so they’re going to be learning video editing,” Kenneth Sullivan, Jr., Senior Pastor, said. “They’re going to also be learning graphic design and some of those kinds of things so that they can be more marketable.”

Unfortunately, District 13 has the second-highest violent crime index. The crime index is based on factors that may impact a person’s tendency to commit a crime. Sullivan wants to help young people growing up in the area.

“One of the things that we instill in them is a good work ethic, timeliness, and just respecting others and all the principles that they need to learn so they can be effective in the real world. 

The grassroots organizations applied for the funding. City-county councilors decided how many grants they wanted to give out, based on the amount of grant money their district received. After the groups applied, the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) made the final decision on which group received the money.

Each group must submit a grant report later in the year to the city-county councilors to show how they spent the money.

The city-county council announced a second round of funding will be available later in 2021. You can find more information at