ProAct Indy

Community Service. Redefined.

aka ProAct Community Partnerships, Inc.   |   Indianapolis, IN   |  www.proactindy.org

Mission

Our mission is to engage youth in public service that educates, delights, and inspires the youth and those they serve.

Notes from the nonprofit

Our numbers of youth involved in community service are drastically increasing due to a funding arm of our organization in which we plan, manage, and execute large community service events for schools, organizations, and corporate entities. We intend to maintain this funding model as it has proven to help us remain a sustainable organization.

Ruling year info

2016

CEO

Mr. Pitt Thompson

Founder & CPO

Mr. Derrin Slack

Main address

4107 E Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46201 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-3951990

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Community Service Clubs (O51)

Citizenship Programs, Youth Development (O54)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Amartya Kumar Sen – an economist and philosopher who has made contributions to economic and social justice research – defines poverty as “capability deprivation” in which a person’s ability to acquire the food, to achieve upward mobility, or to ensure education for one’s children, determine whether they can be considered poor. Several factors, including income and the political and societal environment that a person is living in, influence a person’s capabilities. We live in a world with abundant wealth and resources. Therefore, poverty is a social injustice that needs to be alleviated. If we all work together to create positive and sustainable change, even the poorest communities in Indianapolis can thrive. With this notion in mind, we believe that the best place to start is with our young people.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Kids in Action and Teens in Action

Kids in Action and Teens in Action aim to connect youth to community service opportunities locally, nationally, and globally.

Our program model encourages each participating youth to evolve through the course of many community service projects, and to make a meaningful impact on social issues in Indianapolis.

A fundamental tenet of our model is that our participating youth are not the recipients of community service. They are, instead, the creators and performers of community service. In addition, they do not do community service solely to help others. They do it to learn perspectives, skills, and values. If they want to do an occasional project and learn a little about the host site, they can go elsewhere. If they want to do projects that have a progressive impact on each site, experience environments they would not otherwise see, build skills in areas they might not otherwise develop, and foster meaningful relationships among all participating youth, then Pro(ACT) is suited for them.

Our model uses field-based experiences to surprise or challenge youths’ world view and deepen youths’ abilities. Each project must expose our youth to something new. Youth will do projects in places that enable them to learn about neighborhoods, social issues, forms of community service, and daily life patterns that are different from their own. They may meet a group from another economic background, ethnic heritage, religious upbringing, or physical landscape, for example. Eventually the youth will become familiar with the issues and pulse of each neighborhood they serve. In the process, they will learn why people live as they do; how jobs, transportation, and other factors affect the paths of families and neighborhoods; and what makes some service interventions more effective than others. They will also build skills in event planning, logistics management, volunteer training and supervision, demographic research, field interviewing, and other topics that will transform them from naïve or reactive community servants into informed, reflective, and intentional community servants.

Our model also teaches youth to enjoy, appreciate, and cultivate relationships. Each year we will recruit a small cohort of youth who are of similar age. The cohort will include perhaps just ten youth at a time so those boys and girls can get to know each other well from one project to the next. We do not want participants to show up at one project, meet one or two others, and then come to the next project and see an entirely different set of peers. With small and consistent groups, conversations will flow and youth will encourage, challenge, entertain, and learn from each other week after week. To cultivate a sense of teamwork and maturity, all our activities will center on the youths’ participation and leadership, without involvement from parents or guardians.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Top Forty Under 40 2019

Indianapolis Business Journal

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Pro(ACT) intends to realize the following goals in order to develop youth community leaders that are proactive about social issues in Indianapolis rather than becoming catalysts for problems in their community:

1. Students who participate will be less likely to engage in risky behaviors;
2. Students who participate will develop interpersonally and be able to relate to culturally diverse groups positively;
3. Students who participate will have a sense of civic responsibility and citizenship skills;
4. Students who participate will acquire academic skills and knowledge;
5. Students who participate will be more engaged with their studies and more motivated to learn;
6. Students who participate will improve school attendance;
7. Students who participate will become more realistic about careers;
8. Students who participate will develop greater mutual respect between teachers, students, and adults alike;
9. Students who participate will have more positive perceptions of school, peers, and the world around them.

Our project will be a success when a minimum of 80% of our participants develop a commitment to serve the community and understand their responsibility to be productive citizens who perform well inside and outside the classroom. This will be measured through Reflection Journals (goals 3 and 9), Academic Tracking Sheets (goals 4, 5, 6, and 8), Youth Community Leader Assessment of Service Learning (goals 2 and 7), Service Learning Pre/Post Evaluation (goals 2 and 7), and the Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (goal 1). Evidence of success will also be displayed in participants’ increased self-esteem, efficacy, and citizenship, reinforcement of academic skills, including higher level thinking, and reflection on ethical/moral issues. Retention of students involved will also be a beacon of success for our program. We track and monitor all individual and group community service hours - setting a benchmark for completed service hours and achieving that goal will demonstrate a committed success.

When intended goals are met and evaluated, we will have successfully addressed the issue of Civic & Community Development as youth who complete the program will be more confident in not only themselves, but the people around them as they will be actively participating in making their community and environment a positive reflection of themselves.

The following priorities will deepen our commitment to service, improve our impact, align our operations with our program model, and address the above concerns:

1. Recruit, select, and develop youth who enter Pro(ACT) in middle school.

a. Bring youth into Pro(ACT) as a cohort during middle school. Introduce the youth to each other in cohorts of approximately ten youth each year. If we have a large demand among interested youth, we may have multiple cohorts of ten youth per cohort. Allow other boys and girls to participate in a less structured manner from time to time so they can learn about us. Permit older students to join on a case-by-case basis if and when we have extra space in our program.
b. Encourage school teachers and administrators to nominate youth for the program. Bring youth into the program as seventh graders. We will start our recruitment at Belzer and/or Fall Creek Valley. We will select youth who would benefit by learning about values and gaining exposure to other communities, who show a determination to participate fully in Pro(ACT), who are able to reach our pick-up and drop-off locations consistently from week to week, and who can contribute to an enlightening mixture of socioeconomic backgrounds within Pro(ACT).

2. Cultivate youths’ development of perspectives, skills, and values via each project:

a. Youth will learn how to conduct service, care for others, demonstrate reliability and commitment, observe and interpret the environment around them, make morally and ethically sound decisions, and set a positive example for others.
b. Youth will meet a variety of people in a variety of settings in order to expand their perspectives on how communities function, where needs exist, and how positive social change can occur in our city.
c. Encourage growth in responsibility as the youth progress from year to year. Deputize youth to handle ever greater roles in designing, running, and evaluating our programs, and in mentoring newer participants.

3. Use milestone activities to encourage and mark progress from year to year.

4. Measure our impact on the youth and on the people our youth serve.

5. Design a fundraising model that will give us the resources to sustain and steadily improve our operations.

6. Build our leadership capacity.

7. Communicate our vision, methods, and impact clearly and succinctly.

For more detailed information about our strategies to achieve organizational and program goals, please email [email protected] and request to view our strategic plan.

Internal Strengths: Thanks to our founding team, we have created a culture in which youth feel welcome, have fun, and help the sites we visit. In the future, we will continue to cultivate these dynamics, but we will also introduce several new elements:

1. Friendship: Our participants will see each other regularly throughout the year. They will be a cohort rather than a loosely assembled group of youth. They will have an identity as an “incoming class” that creates and experiences service projects together.
2. Reliability: Our youth will have roles of gradually increasing responsibility. They will learn to rely on each other, and to be reliable, to get things accomplished.
3. Introspection and reflection: As noted above, service learning is about more than just making an impact on a community; the servant learns about himself or herself, and about the surrounding neighborhood, in the process. We will host reflection sessions and encourage youth to create written and illustrative journals so we can stimulate and capture learning experiences. What does a boy assume about the community he’s going to serve, and then what surprises him when he is there? Why does a girl think a certain social problem exists, what does she learn about that issue through her service work, and what new approaches will she use to resolve the issue in the future?
4. Measurement: What do we accomplish through our work? How can we know that we are making a lasting impact? How shall we define that impact? We will create impact measurement systems and ways of conducting and reporting each measurement. Youth will help us design our assessment tools and will learn lessons about bias, objectivity, timing, logic, clarity, and other subjects in the process.
5. Spirit: We will convey a positive and energetic spirit in each of our activities. Our youth may sing chants at the start or finish of each project, personally welcome and thank each resident who participates in a project alongside our team, wear clothing that distinguishes our youth as members of the Pro(ACT) team, and use additional rituals and imagery to show that a Pro(ACT) project celebrates energy, determination, learning, and a sense of appreciation.

We may address weighty social issues, but we will keep our approach lighthearted, encouraging, and fun. As we recruit new program leaders and youth participants, we will seek individuals who are warm, upbeat, and energizing. Community service should make an important impact, but it should be done with a vibrancy that everyone enjoys.

External Strengths: Our organization is dependent upon helping other organizations, our Community Partners, advance their reach in the community by providing regular volunteers each week. Currently, we have 31 community partners who support our efforts and who are grateful for the volunteers we provide who are eager to assist in strengthening the community.

ProAct Indy was established in 2010 as a pioneering community engagement agency committed to creating servant leaders who appreciate diversity and equity. Our mission is to engage youth in public service that educates, delights, and inspires youth and those they serve. We work to realize a vision of our community where youth are well-informed, well-intentioned, empathetic, confident, and aspirational(motivated) servant leaders.

Beginning with our youth, we leverage the social capital of the community to empower and support the people our youth serve. Community partners (nonprofit organizations and individuals) provide service opportunities and in-kind support for our youth programs while corporate and philanthropic partners provide financial and volunteer support to serve alongside our youth and build transformational relationships through group mentoring.

Furthermore, because the community groups and organizations we are working with involve segments of the population that are, in one way or another, vulnerable and/or disenfranchised, our programs incorporate principles from critical service learning (CSL). In contrast to traditional service-learning, critical service learning goes a step further by involving a deliberate focus on social justice. Through Critical Service Learning, ProAct deliberately utilizes social justice platforms as the driving force to help marginalized, urban youth experience a social change orientation, work to redistribute power, and build authentic relationships with their community - the three factors distinguishing critical service learning from traditional service.

We have seen real change in our youth and community as a result of our programs as we have engaged over 18,000 people in their community since our inception, and we’re currently striving to replicate our program model and work toward our goal of being the hub for local community engagement to connect youth to caring adults.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We have changed our program, organizational, and business model based on our feedback from our constituents. With our quick growth, we needed to evaluate our sustainability model and that evaluation brought a need to refine our message, program model, and business operations.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

ProAct Indy
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

ProAct Indy

Board of directors
as of 10/10/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Jeb Banner

Boardable

Term: 2019 - 2021

Robert Kort

Kort Builders

Audrey Ballard

Eli Lilly and Company

Alaric Aloor

Archon Security

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/10/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/10/2019

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.