$2.2 million goes to 37 Indiana nonprofits, greatest needs to be served

March 12, 2009

Trust Makes Funding Changes in Response to Economic Hardships

The community’s economic hardships have changed a 10-year policy at the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust with the Trust’s announcement it will not accept requests for grants to capital campaigns for buildings or endowment purposes. The moratorium redirects these funds to human-service organizations providing food, shelter and clothing to citizens experiencing the greatest difficulties.

“With these exceptional times, the Trustees felt certain that Nina Pulliam would have wanted to assure as much funding as possible is directed to services directly touching the lives of families needing assistance in her hometown of Indianapolis,” said Frank E. Russell, Trust Chairman. “Last October we made the decision to redirect our 2009 capital funding to the Trust’s newly created Emergency Funding Initiative.”

“The Trust developed an RFP specific to organizations on the front line making a difference for our city’s at-risk individuals and families,” explained Michael R. Twyman, Ph.D., director of the Trust’s Indiana grants programs. “These organizations provide emergency and case management services for low- and moderate-income persons. They are the first responders in a weakened economy and also are more likely to experience shortages in meeting their own budgets.”

“All the community centers are reporting a significant increase in the number of people seeking assistance and support. Recent job losses and/or homelessness, both due to being laid off as well as home mortgage foreclosures, are the primary reasons for these occurrences,” Twyman added.

Last December, the Trust made its first emergency initiative grants when it joined Lilly Endowment Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation Inc. and United Way of Central Indiana in creating a $3.2 million fund to respond to a rising demand for help to local people hardest hit by the economic meltdown. The fund targets frontline community centers, faith-based organizations and homeless prevention providers who are “first responders” in helping people deal with the worsening economy.

“Our staff asked the Trustees to approve these unique initiatives that go beyond the Trust’s established grantmaking processes and deepen the Trust’s commitment to be a responsive grantmaking partner,” Russell explained.

“These are challenging times. And, our grantees are doing an exceptional job of bringing relief to those in the greatest need, furthering Nina Pulliam’s legacy in her hometown through their daily work and ongoing commitments to their life-changing missions.”

Russell added that Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars, the Trust’s signature scholarship program at Ivy Tech and IUPUI, continues to bring the dream of a college education to student populations traditional scholarship programs overlook. Since the program’s inception, it has touched the lives of 142 men and women in Indianapolis with 44 graduates. The application deadline for cohort 9 is April 1.

Since 1988, the Trust has awarded more than $77 million to 400 nonprofit organizations in Indiana in the areas of Helping People in Need, Protecting Animals and Nature and Enriching Community Life. Visit ninapulliamtrust.org for more information about the Trust and its programs, including the Nina Scholars program.