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Near Eastside and Joe Bowling

“... INRC's support of our community has helped to propel us further and faster than many thought possible.”

Since 2006, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) has been a key partner in our collective efforts to build community and promote neighborhood transformation on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. The Near Eastside has benefited from the asset-based approach and leadership development trainings offered by INRC since its inception. However, INRC's support of our community has helped to propel us further and faster than many thought possible.

INRC played a key role in the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative (GINI). I don't believe it's an overstatement to say that GINI was the single best opportunity or initiative afforded to our community in this generation. In fact, INRC's work in structuring the initiative, training community leaders on best practices in facilitation and new neighbor engagement, and working hand in hand with neighborhood-based steering committees and Community Builders was critical to our success. Created during the GINI, "How to Create a Great Indy Neighborhood" and "Community Organizer's Handbook" are still two of my favorite resources for the continued engagement of our neighbors.

Thanks in large part to INRC's leadership and daily assistance, our Near Eastside Collaborative Taskforce utilized community volunteers to engage and interview over 100 new neighborhood leaders who were invited into our Quality of Life Planning work. Through these efforts, close to 500 residents attended our Community Visioning Event which led to the creation of the Near Eastside's Quality of Life Plan in 2008.

With continued support from INRC through 2012, the Near Eastside's Quality of Life Plan implementation efforts resulted in over $150 million worth of new community and economic development activities through a creative partnership with the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee and referred to as the Near Eastside Super Bowl Legacy Project. The community building and leadership development education offered by INRC allowed Near Eastside residents, community leaders, and neighborhood development organizations to make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity, while staying true to the community vision and continuing to hear the neighborhood’s voice. Those skills continue to pay great dividends today.

Since 2012, INRC's Public Allies program has continued to infuse the Near Eastside with an abundance of young talent to carry our collective work forward. After just a handful of years, many of INRC's Public Allies graduates are now recognized not only as vital leaders in our own neighborhood-based organizations, but also throughout the City of Indianapolis. This program is a tremendous resource for our neighborhoods, and one that we hope will continue for years to come. My community, my organization and myself personally each owe a great debt to the work of the INRC in empowering new leaders and bringing communities together to envision and work together toward more resilient, vibrant and flourishing communities. May this important work continue!

–Joe Bowling
Director – East Washington Street PartnershipEnglewood Community Development Corporation