What A Year It’s Been

A year that started with one of the biggest parties in the world and ends with a new home in one of America’s most innovative new workspaces? Maybe that sounds a little backwards—but it all makes sense to us at Indianapolis LISC. Our 20th anniversary year was one for the books: we celebrated the good work we’ve been honored to be part of for the last two decades, and set the stage for even greater things to come.

In late January and early February, the world came to Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI. And all eyes turned to Indianapolis’s Near Eastside and the Near Eastside Legacy project. Born when LISC brought the neighborhood’s quality-of-life plan to the attention of the Indianapolis Super Bowl Committee, this initiative changed the face of an entire community, affecting 400 housing units, 50 businesses, and thousands of Near Eastside residents. The Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center stands as a lasting monument to what we accomplished together. It’s a place for the community to gather, learn, play, and grow—and it will continue to be a valuable neighborhood asset long after the football game is a distant memory.

LISC’s deep involvement on the Near Eastside set the stage for three “What’s Next For Neighborhoods— A Public Conversation Series” over the course of 2012. The conversations—two at Indiana Landmarks, and one at the Indianapolis Central Library—attracted more than 400 civic leaders and concerned citizens to hear our panels of engaged experts talk about the challenges facing our neighborhoods—jobs, education, housing, and more. We look forward to continuing these conversations—and working on solutions—in the years ahead.

We also thought our 20th anniversary was a great time to honor the visionary people and projects that have helped reshape Indianapolis’s urban neighborhoods. LISC chose 20 people and projects to feature in stories, videos, and specially commissioned illustrations that we released over the course of the year. You can read all about our visionaries and visionary projects on the LISC Blog.

Apparently, one party wasn’t enough for our 20th anniversary year. So in September, we threw a 20th Anniversary Celebration at our new home at the historic Indianapolis City Market. Nearly 400 guests helped us honor our visionaries, the visionary projects that still shape our neighborhoods, and all the people who’ve done so much to change Indianapolis neighborhoods for the better. It was a beautiful night—weather-wise, friend-wise, and otherwise.

And speaking of new homes: this November, we officially cut the ribbon on The Platform in the City Market’s west wing. LISC shares The Platform with a number of other community development-connected grassroots organizations, including the Indianapolis City Market Corporation, the Indy Winter Farmers Market, the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development (IACED), the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., Growing Places Indy, Wishard Health Services, and IFF. The Platform also has flexible workspaces for social entrepreneurs looking to make a difference in Indianapolis neighborhoods. It’s a place to collaborate, dream, incubate partnerships, and get things done.

Of course, we accomplished all of this in addition to the ongoing work of comprehensive community development—improving housing, helping families rise out of poverty and build wealth, attracting new businesses, addressing education, safety, health, and so much more—that LISC does year-in and year-out.

And we’re only just getting started. Thanks to everyone—our partners, funders, supporters, friends, and the people who live and work in Indianapolis’s great urban neighborhoods—for helping to make our 20th year one of our best.