Study aims to improve quality of life around campus; Fifth-Third funds loan initiative


neighborhood-mapGovernment, business, and community leaders gathered at the University of Indianapolis in January for the launch of an important quality-of-life study and planning process for the neighborhoods surrounding the campus, historic Garfield Park, and the Madison Avenue corridor. Fifth Third Bank of Greater Indiana provided a $100,000 grant to fund the effort, which is intended to spur economic development and help build a more sustainable community in a focus area bounded by Raymond Street, I-65, I-465, and Meridian Street.

Issues of concern include empty homes and commercial properties and unemployment and poverty rates that are higher than the average. The 18-month planning process will be guided by the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation, in partnership with the University and the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership. Local residents, business owners, neighborhood organizations, and other stakeholders will be engaged to establish priorities for the area and act on those priorities. LISC and UIndy have agreed to raise an additional $70,000 to support the planning process.“We know that neighborhoods can be revitalized when they have sufficient capital, technical expertise, and political will to support their unique agendas,” said Bill Taft, executive director of LISC.

“Quality-of-life plans have proven to be a great vehicle for attracting these resources.” President Robert Manuel said the project complements the University’s ongoing efforts to invest in the neighborhood and improve conditions for the campus community and its neighbors, as reflected in the Vision 2030 strategic plan and UIndy’s current development initiative. “Enhancing the quality of life in this part of the city is a core component of UIndy’s strategy for the future, and we’re committing significant resources to that end,” Manuel said. “It’s great to have this particular mix of partners joining in the effort, because the kind of change we intend to bring about can only occur through collaboration.”

Fifth Third Bank funds ‘pay it forward’ student loan initiative

Fifth Third Bank Greater Indiana is awarding a $100,000 grant to the University of Indianapolis from the Charles E. Schell Foundation, Fifth Third Trustee, to provide interest-free educational loans to help UIndy students fulfill their dreams of a college education. In recognition of the grant, Fifth Third Region President and CEO Steven Alonso joined UIndy President Robert Manuel for a brief ceremony in Key Stadium just prior to a November football game. “This is a wonderful opportunity to essentially create a revolving student loan fund at the University of Indianapolis,” Alonso said. “Charles Schell, the trust’s founder, insisted that students understand their moral obligation to repay the loan, which allows recipients to help future students in need.”
The unique “pay it forward” conditions established by Schell provide that when award recipients repay the funds, they create opportunities for additional students to benefit from the generosity of the Schell Foundation and Fifth Third Bank. The repaid funds go toward interest-free educational assistance loans for new students.

“Not only will this loan fund provide crucial support for students who otherwise might not be able to complete their degrees, but it also will enable those recipients to take part in an ongoing cycle of support for future students,” President Manuel said. “It’s an innovative approach with tangible benefits for the community, thanks to a great ongoing partnership between Fifth Third Bank and the University of Indianapolis.”