16 Tech Community Corporation (16 Tech) announced $500,300 in grant awards to 14 projects and resident-led initiatives that benefit the neighborhoods closest to the 16 Tech Innovation District.

The grants mark the second cycle of funding in the inaugural year of the 16 Tech Community Investment Fund, a community-focused fund launched in 2019 to ensure access, opportunity and revitalization of the neighborhoods in and around the 16 Tech Innovation District. 16 Tech awarded $500,000 in funding in May 2020 to 15 projects, totaling $1 million investment in 2020.

“The 16 Tech Community Investment Fund fall slate of grantees exemplifies the impactful, thoughtful work happening in the neighborhoods surrounding 16 Tech,” said Bob Coy, 16 Tech Community Corporation president and CEO. “The projects address each of our funding priority areas and represent a broad spectrum of organizations from grassroots to institutions.”

The 16 Tech Community Investment Fund is guided by an advisory committee that ensures the fund, and its grants, align with the priorities identified by residents in the Near West, Near Northwest and surrounding neighborhoods, with a focus on workforce training, business support, education, neighborhood capacity building, and infrastructure and beautification.

Grants were awarded from two funding pools. The innovation pool funded requests up to $25,000 from neighborhood organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $1 million. The impact pool funded requests up to $100,000.

The 2020 fall slate of Community Investment Fund grantees includes:

Workforce training:

  • BUILD ($45,000): Provide construction workforce and education training focused on creating meaningful workforce development opportunities for young adults 16-24.
  • Purdue Extension ($20,000): Provide free, hands-on workforce and educational programming to neighborhood residents through engaging maker curricula at the Machyne makerspace.

Business support:

  • Source Entrepreneurship Center ($18,000): Work with WCDC, LISC, the Hispanic Business Council, the Business Opportunity Advisory Task Force (BOAT) and other local organizations and individuals to revitalize the West Washington Street Business Corridor.
  • Be Nimble Foundation ($40,000): Launch the Melon Kitchen and Food Entrepreneurship Accelerator to help Near Northwest, Near West and Indiana Avenue/Ransom Place/Flanner House residents overcome poverty and create pathways to entrepreneurship and economic mobility.

Education:

  • Center for Leadership Development ($25,000): Develop a satellite and in-school program which will expand reach and capacity to serve young people within the Near West neighborhood at Christamore House and Matchbook Learning.
  • Hawthorne Community Center ($65,000): Transform existing early education and out of school programming into a comprehensive and sustainable science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Initiative.
  • IUPUI – School of Engineering & Technology ($42,000): Offer free summer program to introduce and prepare high school students in grades 9-12 to pathways in engineering and technology.
  • Nine 13 ($35,000): Design programming to allow students to work with their hands learning mechanical aptitude skills and employability skills by building bicycles.

Neighborhood capacity building:

  • Aspire Higher Foundation ($25,000): Install accessible internet, increase community involvement and provide virtual workforce training with neighbors as a digital community hub to aid in closing the digital divide in the community.
  • New Life Development Ministries ($25,000): Offer construction skills training that will play a vital role in educating youth to be employable in semi-skilled labor for construction trades.
  • Aspire Higher Foundation ($50,000): Rehabilitate the first floor of the historic Aspire Firehouse and create a hub for the community.

Infrastructure and beautification:

  • Arte Mexicano en Indiana ($15,300): Create a new community gallery and performance venue in Purpose Park in the Hawthorne Neighborhood.
  • Indy Convergence ($20,000): Create “mobile, non-invasive arts programming” in unique riverside locations along White River.
  • Indianapolis Environmental Equity Council ($75,000): Support and build the capacity of the Reclaim Indiana Avenue Coalition (RIA).

The awarded grants were among the 40 grant applications submitted in October for consideration. In subsequent years, approximately $350,000 in funding is anticipated to be available annually for community investment.

“Our goal is to engage residents in the decision-making process and to support projects in which residents will be deeply engaged or be the direct beneficiaries,” said Starla Hart, director of community initiatives for 16 Tech. “We’re focused on making place-based investments as well as being the first development of our kind to employ this means of building community with neighbors.”

The 16 Tech Community Investment Fund was seeded with $3 million in public funding through the City of Indianapolis and will be sustained long-term through a $0.20-per-square-foot assessment paid by tenants in the 16 Tech Innovation District. The 16 Tech Community Corporation will also seek philanthropic funding from individuals and organizations interested in investing in communities in and around 16 Tech.

16 Tech is a 50-acre live-work-innovate community that brings together entrepreneurs, academics, startups, corporations, and creatives in a single place designed to spark the exchange of ideas that leads to innovation. Located in Downtown Indianapolis, 16 Tech offers a mix of office, creative, residential and retail space in addition to green space and trails to foster innovation in tech, life sciences and advanced manufacturing. The first building, Innovation Building 1, opened this summer, and HqO, 16 Tech’s innovation hub will open in early 2021.

To read more about each grantee, visit www.16tech.com/grant-awards.