A&O Breakfast
  • 7:45 a.m. A&O BREAKFAST

Breathing New Potential Into Asset Building Work

Anna Schoon, Northwest Indiana Community Action

Asset building, by definition, is how individuals, families, and communities gather the resources that will move them towards  economic well-being, for now and for years to come. Traditionally we've focused on financial interventions such as building savings, buying a home, pursuing education, or starting a business. Recently, we have added access to healthcare to the conversation about assets. But what if we are still missing one foundational aspect of asset building? Using both story and science, this presentation will highlight the ways that chronic toxic stress impacts those who are trying to exit poverty and the helpers that are supporting them and recommend strategies for recovering, healing, and care that can make our asset building efforts more effective and impactful.

Plenary Sessions

  • 9:00 a.m. WELCOME

Elements of a Resilient Community Ecosystem: Learnings from Interviews in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Garvester (Gar) Kelley, Senior AdvisorFederal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Susan Longworth, Policy Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Bouncing back from a natural disaster requires planning, tools, and a nimble response team. Bouncing back from an economic disaster, such as a pandemic, recession, or even a factory closing, can require an entire ecosystem of communities, organizations, and individuals working together toward a common goal. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago studied Fort Wayne, Indiana’s response to the pandemic and will offer a brief overview of what they found and recommendations on how Indiana can respond to be more resilient to future economic challenges.

  • 11:30 a.m. AWARDS LUNCHEON

Get to the Why: Ensuring Perpetual Independence
Keith Veal, VP of Development, Buckingham Companies

Our work in the community economic development sector often requires us to begin with the “why.” But, what is the “why” of community economic development? Keith Veal believes it is doing what we can do to help Hoosiers achieve perpetual independence. To kick off our luncheon, Keith will share inspiring thoughts on how you, your organization, and your community can create a resilient road map to foster perpetual independence.

  • 4:00 p.m. CALL TO ACTION

The Power of Housing Policy
Diane Yentel, President & CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition

Indiana communities are consistently challenged to meet the housing needs of our individuals and families, as our state has the fourth-lowest rate of affordable and available housing in the Midwest and the 13th-highest rate of severe housing cost burden among the most vulnerable households. And while Indiana is not alone in this national housing crisis, Hoosiers have new opportunities to advocate for systemic change with a new General Assembly and Congress. Please join Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition in our Summit ‘Call to Action’ to get an exclusive preview of what to expect in the new federal housing policy landscape and get excited to advocate for strengthened housing affordability and stability at Prosperity Indiana’s Statehouse Day on February 2.

    Breakout Sessions


      • 10:15 a.m.  SESSION ONE
      Missing Middle Housing: Building a Bigger Pie for Black & Brown Neighborhoods and Developers

      Aaron Laramore, LISC Indianapolis

      Olon Dotson, PhD, Ball State College of Architecture

      Jennifer Green, Partners in Housing

      Michael "Misha" Rabinowitch, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP

      Indianapolis neighborhoods are experiencing a critical shortage of new affordable housing supply. Too little is being produced to meet the needs of LMI households, and affordable housing production relies on oversubscribed LITHC 4% Bond financed projects, which have high barriers to entry for small and mid-tier developers, especially Black and Brown developers. This circumstance persists despite the presence of hundreds of vacant residential lots, the most plentiful opportunity sites in Indianapolis neighborhoods, which are largely going undeveloped. This session will highlight the components of this challenge, share a response strategy, and engage participants in a problem solving discussion on implementation.

      • 1:30 p.m. SESSION TWO

      Partnering with Financial Institutions to Build Your Capital Stack
      Mike Recker, FHLBank Indianapolis

      Kristen Hodge, National Bank of Indianapolis

      Jonathan Ehlke, Gratus Development

      There are so many layers of capital that can go into a housing project. What types of funding are out there? How do you position yourself to get funding? When should you go to a bank to get funding? What are funders looking at to award your project funding? These and other common questions will be addressed by experienced bankers, funders, and developers in affordable housing.

      • 2:45 p.m. SESSION THREE

      Rural Housing Programs: How Knox County is Mobilizing to Prevent Homelessness
      Mollie Ewing, CFS Corp
      Tucker Smith, CFS Corp
      McKenzie Young, CFS Corp

      A consortium of agencies (nonprofits, churches, government officials, schools, and various stakeholders) joined together in Knox County, Indiana, over two years ago to begin discussions about the increase in homelessness at the intersection of a glaring lack of housing inventories. Since the local taskforce took form, a selection of programs and participants have found pathways to mitigate homelessness and better serve local families. In this presentation, CFS Corp will provide an overview on how to first engage partners, landlords, and then ultimately the homeless population to create a new service profile across a wide variety of community spaces. From building recovery hubs, exploring widespread WIFI, leveraging local landlord support, and explaining some of the nuances of employing housing specialists, the presentation will give participants a snapshot of what rural communities can do to begin strengthening the entire social service foundation by focusing on housing initiatives.


        • 10:15 a.m.  SESSION ONE

        Creative Aging: How to Support the Health and Well-Being of Older Adults through the Arts

        Stephanie Haines, Indiana Arts Commission
        Peggy Taylor, Loom Hall Professional Textile Art
        Vanessa Convard, State of Indiana FSSA Division of Aging

        Research shows that creative arts experiences are highly impactful for maintaining older adults' health and quality of life. In this session we will explain the research, show examples of successful creative aging initiatives from across the state, and show you how to harness already existing assets in your community to make this happen for your community.

        • 1:30 p.m. SESSION TWO

        Community & Economic Development Strategy: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health
        Silas Matchem Sr., Evansville Promise Zone

        Lisa Barclay-Sebree, Evansville Promise Zone

        The Evansville Promise Zone addresses five Social Determinants of Health domains through our primary initiatives of: increasing economic activity, improving education opportunities, reducing violent crime, promoting health and access, and increasing access to affordable housing. Each area has measurable outcomes and objectives outlined in a 10-year timeframe and an evaluation process to track progress. In this presentation, we will discuss the evaluation process, as well as creating goals and objectives that drive community engagement and economic revitalization. Participants will get a firsthand look at our framework and how we track our goals and objectives, as well how we share data with partner groups.

        •  2:45 p.m. SESSION THREE

        The Link Between Community Economic Development and Mental Health
        Chase Cotten, The Willow Center

        Mental health continues to be one of the leading causes of stress, concern, economic instability, and other problems in Indiana in 2023. Instead of discussing treatment options and other “downstream” band-aid solutions, it is time to discuss the “upstream” changes that need to be made to the structurally flawed social systems that are predictive of many of the mental health and substance use problems Hoosiers are experiencing.

          Financial Empowerment

          • 10:15 a.m. SESSION ONE
          How Regional Workforce Boards Can Partner to Help Economic Developers Build a Talent Development Strategy
          Tony Waterson, Southern Indiana Works

          Tony Davis, FAME USA and The Manufacturing Institute

          Stephanie Wells, Wells Strategy + Solutions

          This is an opportunity for economic and community developers to learn how to engage with the existing regional workforce system and how to leverage existing funding and programming to build robust and sustainable talent development strategies. Discover which partners need to be at the table for a holistic regional workforce development system and how talent development in 2023 means understanding how to work with priority populations and their needs.

          • 1:30: p.m. SESSION TWO

          Empowering Women in the Workforce: How Benefits & Policies Increase Retention
          Cassie Beer, Women's Fund of Greater Fort Wayne

          Stephanie Crandall, City of Fort Wayne

          This presentation will focus on specific benefits and policies that support the attraction, retention, and promotion of women in the workplace. These best practices have been modeled in partnerships in Allen County between the Women's Fund of Greater Fort Wayne and some of the community's largest employers. Our research shows that adjustments to benefits and policies have direct correlation to increased retention rates, which means increased economic security for women.

          • 2:45 p.m. SESSION THREE

          Optimizing Job Creation Opportunities to Bolster Financial Empowerment
          Barato Britt, Edna Martin Christian Center
          Abigail Lane, Englewood Community Development Corporation

          Evan Tester, Intend Indiana

          Melissa Benton, John Boner Neighborhood Centers

          Moderated by Jessica Love, Prosperity Indiana

          Not all financial empowerment programs create jobs. And certainly not all economic development strategies focus on financial empowerment. But one federal funding opportunity - the Community Economic Development (CED) program - specifically supports creating jobs in low income communities that also connect employees to support services that remove barriers to long-term employment and economic mobility. Learn from local pros how to develop and deliver successful initiatives at the intersection of job creation and financial empowerment.


            • 10:15 a.m. SESSION ONE

            Here, Fill This Out. Sit Over There. Come Back Tomorrow
            Patrick Brown, Recovery Café Fulton County Inc.

            I would guess we all know the three legs of the table of living well are education, health, and resources. Take one out, you can get by. Remove two, you have zero chance of living a well-balanced, secure life. ZERO. Many point out that we have so many social services, community supports, safety nets, programs, charities, and events that no one could possibly be "failing" unless they want to. Or unless the programs don't connect. Or if the programs are not accessible to some people. Or if the program occurs during work hours. Or if the person can't read. Or if the person has to have so much cash, or a good credit score, or if they are on disability, or make too much money, or if they don't have a permanent address. Luckily, this isn't rocket science. It's logistics. It's user-experience design, and it is outcomes-based. This is making all services really, really, for-honest-and-truly available to people who need them. This is the art of removing barriers that, even though we can't see them, they are insurmountable barriers to those we work with. This is us doing more with the same resources and less inflexible requirements.

            • 1:30 p.m. SESSION TWO

            Stories of Resiliency

            Jennifer Trowbridge, NWICA

            Heather Presley-Cowen, Housing Resource Hub

            Moderated by Amandula Anderson, IFF

            Oxford Languages defines resiliency as the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. In this session, three amazing women will share their personal or professional stories of toughness, recovery from a challenge, or bouncing back into shape from adversity. Join them as they share their journey and enable you to consider how you, your organization, or your community can become resilient.

            • 2:45 p.m. SESSION THREE

            Educating, Advocating, Lobbying, and Electioneering

            Holly M. Davis, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance

            Charitable organizations often find themselves in the precarious position of determining the difference between lobbying, educating, advocating, and electioneering. In this session, you will learn what is allowable under the law for your organization, as well as the different strategies you can use to communicate critical messages to your elected officials and policymakers.

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