On Wednesday, January 31st, The International Center played host to an illuminating webinar focused on the Festival Fund—a cornerstone initiative established in 2011 to bolster the endeavors of organizations in the greater Indianapolis area. This fund passionately supports and amplifies activities that enrich lives by celebrating cultural diversity, fostering expression, and spotlighting the myriad nationalities flourishing in Central Indiana. The pinnacle of the event was the insightful discussion surrounding the Festival Fund’s role in empowering community organizations, offering awards ranging from $250 to $2,000.
Deacon Fountain, Community Outreach & Stakeholder Engagement Manager, moderated the webinar, engaging esteemed panelists in a discourse on their profound experiences with the Festival Fund. The distinguished panel included Warren Dukes, PhD, Brittany Johnson, Ruth Morales, MPA, Jennifer Neer, and Jordan Schwartz. Among them, Jennifer and Jordan shared firsthand accounts of how the Festival Fund significantly contributed to the seamless execution of their respective events.
Selection Criteria and Impact:
The panelists delved into the criteria that the Festival Fund’s selection committee, comprised of Warren, Brittany, and Ruth, considers when evaluating applications. A paramount factor in their decision-making process is whether the proposed event will have a tangible and positive impact on the community—a touchstone for organizations seeking funding.
Jordan Schwartz, representing Fonseca Theatre, narrated the success story of the Rice and Beans Festival. With the Festival Fund’s support, the cultural extravaganza became a resounding success, featuring an array of delectable cuisines, captivating music, and family-friendly activities. Meanwhile, Jennifer Neer, involved with the Festival of Faiths hosted by the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, shared insights into a one-day celebration that showcased the diverse religious landscape of Indiana. Boasting over 30 booths representing different faiths, the festival included food trucks, vendors, a drum circle, performances, and the ceremonious blowing of the shofar.
Community Impact and Partnerships:
Crucially, these events underscore the Festival Fund’s commitment to spotlighting cultural initiatives that profoundly impact the Indianapolis community. The International Center, in collaboration with partners like the Indiana Members Credit Union and the Mayor’s Office of International and Latino Affairs – City of Indianapolis, channels its resources to fund events that foster cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.
A heartfelt thank you is extended to the presenting sponsor, Indiana Members Credit Union, and the community partner, the Indy Eleven, for their invaluable support in making this celebration of diversity possible. The Festival Fund continues to stand as a beacon, encouraging cultural expression and unity within the heart of Indianapolis.
To learn more about the Festival Fund or to apply, click here.
By: Carley Jobe, Marketing & Communications Intern