Call for Proposals: 5×5 READ INDY

Indiana Humanities LogoIndiana Humanities and Indy Reads are teaming up to host a 5×5 event on Thursday May 14th. 5×5 is a platform for new and innovative ideas related to the arts. We eagerly seek inventive and inspiring proposals on the theme READ INDY.

We’re looking for ideas that use literature, reading, and/or the written word to create powerful arts and humanities experiences for the people of Indianapolis.

We’re inspired by projects like St. Paul’s Sidewalks Poetry and Maine’s “Stories for Life” alternative sentencing program, the tantalizing blurriness between the words “story” and “game,” and the myriad work of the Indiana-based Center for Civic Reflection. We think reading and literature can address important needs, like sustaining the bonds between an incarcerated father and his child or helping veterans reflect on and make sense of their military service. We believe everyone should get a chance to encounter the beauty and pleasure of literature, in unexpected places and during even our most mundane activities.

IRBlogo-243x300We invite you—artist, scholar, student, organizer, educator, Hoosier—to think big about how reading and the written word can deeply and positively impact people’s lives, and how the creative potential of the arts and humanities can help make it happen in Indianapolis. We challenge you to find ordinary places or everyday experiences that could be transformed by the infusion of reading and words. We encourage you to think of ways that reading together might change how we do our work, how we understand our lives and our world, or how we relate to each other.

The winning project, selected by a panel of judges with audience input at a live event on May 14, will receive $10,000 to take the proposal from idea to action.

We can’t wait to see your ideas for projects or program ideas that will, in the words of Plan 2020, build a more “authentic city life.”

Big Questions to Think About

  • How can the written word—literature, poetry, drama, essays—solve real problems in our city? Can literature intervene where other methods can’t?
  • How can the act of shared reading create or strengthen bonds among strangers, neighbors, families, friends, coworkers, or classmates—and inspire them to make their community better?
  • What wacky, imaginative, singular encounters with literature, reading and big ideas can draw new people into the arts and cultural life of Indianapolis?

Guidelines to Follow

  •  Anyone in the Hoosier state—individuals, collectives or organizations–is eligible to submit a proposal except employees or board members of Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads. We’re open to ideas from both individuals and non-profit organizations, so long as your idea will directly impact and serve Marion County.
  • Submissions must involve the humanities and/or arts (we know, we know—the lines are very fuzzy). Basically, if your proposal involves people having powerful experiences with the written word, you’re covered.
  • Submissions must be received via the online application by Friday, April 10.
  • Five finalists will be selected to present their ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience on the evening of Thursday, May 14. Finalists will be notified by Monday, April 20.
  • Finalists must be available for the event on May 14th from 4pm-9-pm.
  • Finalists must be available for a 1-2 hour meeting with Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads to go over logistics and presentation tips; this meeting will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time in the three weeks prior to the May 14 event.
  • A $10,000 prize will be awarded to the winning presenter to implement their idea.
  • Only one idea per applicant will be accepted for READ INDY. You can apply again for other 2015 5×5 competitions.

Other Things to Keep In Mind

  • Think not only in terms of public projects but also of public programs that can engage a neighborhood, a community or a city in imagining a brighter future for Marion County.
  • You may propose a stand-alone project, program or series, or explain how the $10,000 prize will help you launch a larger, more long-term initiative.
  • The more participatory your proposed project idea, the better. In other words, we’re not terribly interested in proposals for book manuscripts. In your application, share your ideas about who will participate and what their participation looks like.
  • Finalists are often judged not only on the creativity of their idea, but also the feasibility. Do you have a realistic budget and work plan? If your idea requires the buy-in of key stakeholders, how will you get them on board?
  • Is someone else in the community already doing a project similar to the one you are proposing? Do an environmental scan to see if you are duplicating existing efforts. If your idea is similar, this may be an option for a creative and exciting partnership.
  • Bear in mind, individuals who apply must have fiscal sponsorship in order to accept the $10,000 prize. There are lots of great organizations in Indianapolis who can offer fiscal sponsorship: do your homework and we’ll be happy to direct finalists to sponsor organizations if they still need it come May.

How to Apply

Complete the short online application, making a compelling case for how your idea aligns with READ INDY, and what you will be able to accomplish with a $10,000 prize. The application deadline is Friday, April 10; no late applications will be accepted. Finalists will be notified by Monday, April 20. Finalists will pitch their ideas on Thursday, May 14 at Fountain Square Theater.


About 5×5

5×5 is a platform for new and innovative ideas related to the arts. At each of four events throughout the year, five finalists have five slides and five minutes each to present a creative project or program for the city of Indianapolis. Finalists present their ideas to a live audience and panel of judges. At each event, one winner will be awarded $10,000 to put their idea into action. The series of idea-generating events is hosted and shaped by some of the city’s most important young creative leaders.

5×5 was launched in 2013 by Central Indiana Community Foundation, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation and the Efroymson Family Fund as a way to inspire, ignite and financially support creative and innovative ideas related to the arts.

In 2015, 5×5 is partnering with Plan 2020, the Bicentennial Agenda for the City of Indianapolis. Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads will kick off the year with READ INDY, followed by AUTHENTIC INDY with the Harrison Center for the Arts, DREAM INDY with Big Car, and INVEST INDY with Verge.

About Indy Reads

The mission of Indy Reads is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana.

About Indiana Humanities

Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk.

Contact Information

Alyssa Newerth, Director of Advancement at Indy Reads. (317)275-4048

Leah Nahmias, Director of Programs at Indiana Humanities (317)616-9804

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana NEXT Initiative

wf_logo-color_bugThe Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, an endowed special interest fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, provides grants, philanthropic engagement, and education of current and potential donors to benefit the lives of women and girls.

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana has created The NEXT Initiative, a ten-year commitment to help emerging adult women (ages 18-24) move from economic instability to economic stability, to encourage local entrepreneurs to find viable solutions to help these vulnerable young women become strong independent women who are not dependent on the goodwill of other for their success. This is a one-time only opportunity. Anyone interested in applying to be an entrepreneur with NEXT initiative, needs to act now.

To be considered for the project, entrepreneurs should have touched or experienced this community of young adult women in a unique way such as having worked with this population, seen the results of these women not being served, or been a part of the NEXT population at one point in time. Entrepreneurs should be innovative, bold, determined, respected, creative and thoughtful and able to collaborate well in order to build successful solutions and effective ways to measure and evaluate their success. Potential entrepreneurs also need to be willing to spend significant time in Indianapolis developing and implementing solutions, becoming knowledgeable about our community, creating relationships, forming partnerships and ensuring their idea is appropriate for our community.

To apply begin by completing a Statement of Intent and submit beginning September 2, 2014 and December 2, 2014 at 12p EDT. Project proposals should meet the following parameters:

  • Participants will be a clearly identifiable population (within the 18-24 year old female population)
  • An intensive holistic approach for working with the population
  • Measurable outcomes including: women becoming economically secure and prepared for future success
  • Systemic evaluation of the initiative from the start
  • The ability to replicate the project with other populations within this age group.

2-3 entrepreneurs will be selected in the inaugural round. Each will receive a $90,000 annual salary plus full benefits (as an employee of the Central Indiana Community Foundation) for 1-2 years. If a not-for-profit is chosen, a grant will be made in an amount commensurate with the individual awards. Women’s Fund will provide additional funding for expenses, corresponding with the approved budget of the entrepreneur/s. The first stage of this project is an incubator period for selected social services entrepreneurs to begin developing solutions to meet the needs of this population in Central Indiana- Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby counties. For the selected entrepreneurs, this is a period of 1-2 years spent developing solutions for the NEXT population. Once the solutions are ready to launch, Women’s Fund will fund the solution to the end of ten years.


  • Statements of intent are due September 2, 2014 at noon Eastern Standard Time
  • Notification of decisions in December 2014
  • Full proposals from invited applicants will be due in March 2015
  • Select applicants will be interviewed in Summer 2015
  • Applicants will be notified of decisions in September 2015
  • Chosen entrepreneurs will be expected to begin January 2016

For more information visit the NEXT Initiative page

Five by Five Starts with Big Car’s Event Feb. 8 at Service Center

With its arts-idea-pitching event on Feb. 8 at Service Center for Culture and Community, the Indianapolis-based community arts organization Big Car kicks off a new initiative that will award $10,000 to one winner at each of four themed events in 2013.

Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), the Efroymson Family Fund and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation are funding the series, called Five by Five, as a platform for sharing innovative arts ideas in Indianapolis. The goals are to help projects get off the ground while launching a fun series of idea-generating events, hosted and shaped by some of the city’s most important creative leaders.

The other three events — hosted by local not-for-profits People for Urban Progress, IndyHub and Harrison Center for the Arts — take place in April, June and September. Host organizations design each unique event, selecting the finalists and handling the judging. The only rules: projects must involve the arts; and each event features five finalists, presenting five slides in a maximum of five minutes. The winner at each receives $10,000.

Big Car’s theme for the Feb. 8 event is Revolutionize Your City: Art + Technology = Innovation. The call is simple: People with Indianapolis-related project or program ideas that bring art and technology together — could be low-fi or cutting-edge technology — email a 300-to-500-word description with three jpeg images (sketches, concepts, past work) to Big Car executive director Jim Walker at by January 23. The five selected presenters will be notified by Jan. 25. Their slides will then be due on Feb. 6. Presentations will take place at a free public event at Service Center on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.

A team of collaborators will help Big Car on the event and with selection and judging of ideas. Teaming up on the Revolutionize Your City Five by Five are Central-Indiana-based tech, design and startup innovators Dreamapolis, Idea Architects, IndySpectator, KA+A, The Levinson Center, SmallBox, and Verge.

The broad themes for the three other Five by Five events are Make Your City (People for Urban Progress), Face Your City (IndyHub) and Connect Your City (Harrison Center for the Arts).