This month, I am celebrating my one-year anniversary at United Way of Central Indiana as Director of Income. What an awesome year it has been! This was a newly created position at UWCI that came about as a result of our transition to become more focused, aligned, and intentional around four areas of community impact – Education, Income, Health, and Basic Needs. While UWCI has always been a partner, ally, and convener in asset-building work, we’ve really taken a “deep dive” into this field over the last year. Professionally, this has been my busiest year yet. UWCI is working closely with our partners, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), to transition management and oversight of the local Center for Working Families network to UWCI. We’ve hired new staff and have, for the first time, applied to administer the IRS grant for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in Marion County. In the spring, we piloted our first VITA site in Hendricks County and have plans to expand VITA into Morgan County in 2016. UWCI is also playing a more active role in the work of the Marion County Re-entry Coalition, and we’ll launch our fifth cohort of the Indianapolis Case Management Institute in January.
This flurry of activity over the past year is an indication to me that progress is being made toward our goals for the community. However, 31.4 percent of Central Indiana families are still financially unstable – meaning they are spending more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing costs. There is more work to be done.
The Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network is relying on you to help us move the needle on financial stability – not only in Central Indiana, but across the entire state. As this Network grows and matures, I am excited to see the partnerships that we will continue to form with one another and the impact that we will have on Indiana communities. On my one-year anniversary in this position, I am taking time to pause and reflect on all that has been accomplished. I invite you to reflect on your year as well. But more importantly, consider how you will spend the next year helping the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network ensure that all Hoosiers have economic security. You are a critical component to our success!
-Michelle Beer, Steering Committee Member