In Brief

Applications open for Indiana grant program that enables students to help their communities

By: - August 23, 2022 1:54 pm

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch calls on high school students to improve their community. (Niki Kelly/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

A statewide initiative that enables high school students to act on ideas to improve their communities announced a new round of funding and a call for applications.

Five cohorts of students across Indiana will be chosen to participate in the My Community, My Vision program, which provides four months of workshops, planning, and fundraising for a community project they would like to see come to life in their town or city.

“Maintaining strong and viable communities is important to the future of Indiana, and we need future leaders to begin thinking about their own vision for their city or town,” Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said in a statement. “My Community, My Vision invites these future decision makers to share their ideas and plans with local officials.  By their involvement, student leaders will learn about the planning process and the collaborative efforts required to create an even more vibrant community.”

High school youth council groups will work throughout the Spring 2023 semester alongside a partnering foundation or local unit of government to determine a project, craft a budget, develop a fundraising goal and strategy, and raise the needed funds for all materials during a 30-day fundraising campaign.

Local units of government and community foundations interested in participating in the My Community, My Vision program should apply through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Applications are due Nov. 7. Selected teams will be announced Nov. 30, with the official workshop kickoff event scheduled for Jan. 21, 2023.

Students who successfully strategize, plan and raise a fundraising goal of between $5,000 and $50,000 towards their community project will receive a matching grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. 

Throughout the semester, students will also be required to participate in three in-person workshops, where they will learn about place-based community development, project planning, fundraising strategies, and stakeholder engagement.

At the end of the program, students present their work to their peers and a gathering of Indiana’s community development leaders.

The program is a joint collaboration between the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance Youth Council program and the Association of Indiana Municipalities Mayoral Youth Council program. 

Previous student projects have helped bring new trails and parks, recreational activities, plazas, murals, to their towns and cities. 

Previous communities to participate since 2014 include: Hobart, Jasper, Mishawaka, North Putnam, Versailles, Batesville, Huntingburg, Liberty, North Putnam, LaPorte, Logansport, Irvington, Warsaw, Crawfordsville, Fort Wayne, Greenfield, Greensburg, Shelbyville, Gary, Anderson, Muncie, Martinsville, Hanover, as well as Cass, Switzerland, Washington and Lawrence counties.

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Casey Smith
Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.

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