Equity in Action

Last year Kheprw Institute and Spirit and Place ran an 8 month series focused on
gentrification. With more than 400 participants city-wide, this series provided a variety of voices: community activists, city officials, development professionals and residents a space to dig in deeper on the complex issue of gentrification and its impact on community.

This year KI and Spirit & Place are excited to announce our 2017 series,
Equity in Action.

Equity is the new buzz word everyone’s talking about. What is it? How do you get it? How can we learn from the ideas and actions from other communities around the country to make Indianapolis more equitable, economically, racially, gender, etc?

Recent reports nationally and locally have shown a broad consensus of disturbing data about Indianapolis’s economic health and racial/economic disparities. These include PolicyLink’s National Equity Atlas and The Center for Community Progress. For more data and analysis click here.

Each forum is free and open to the public and will take place each month on the 4th Sunday from 3-5pm at Kheprw Institute (3549 Boulevard Place).

April 23:                 Liberty & Justice for All? Legal and Criminal Justice    
May 28th:               Something from Nothing: Economy & Social Capital
June 25th:               Public Dollars for the Public Good?
July 23rd:               Prisons, Re-entry and Modern Day Slavery
August 27th:          Environmental Policy in the Post Obama Era
September 24th:    Red Lining, Housing Discrimination and Gentrification
October 27th:        The Color Line: Arts, Equity & Inclusion

For more information on Equity in Action, click here.

From the Ground Up

A spin-off from the 2016 community discussion series, Gentrify: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which explored the process of gentrification from various points of view such as education policy, equitable development, race, class and power to name a few, From the Ground Up moves to the next level and moves our learning from 2016 towards action. 

Join us the 2nd Sunday of every month from 3-5 pm.

Every 2nd Sunday
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place

Learn more about the topic of gentrification by clicking here for a comprehensive resource list. At the monthly meetings, Kheprw Institute will help facilitate a conversation where we will:

  • Get to know each other and build relationships
  • Dive deep into projects that participants want to launch or expand, helping the group look at strategy and how to use social capital/relationships to launch.


The Spirit & Place Festival is at an exciting evolutionary moment, of which our Community Engagement efforts are crucial to supporting the festival as we move into new and uncharted territory. Some of the major changes in how we are moving deal not only with a perspective shift, but in incorporating new strategies in working with our community. Our engagement approach can be viewed from three broad categories:  

  • People-Centered Engagement
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Capacity Building and Collective Impact

People-Centered Engagement
We’ve reoriented our perspective from “outreach” (which assumes a center/source and a target) to “community engagement” (which embraces reciprocal and ongoing relationship / community development that builds trust). In this model, time is the most critical investment to successfully build effective, collaborative relationships and programs. Being present at crucial community conversations is important, as well as listening without expectation or agenda. In being present and listening to learn and understand, community concerns are in the driver seat and approaches are people-centered.

Adaptability and Flexibility
Flexibility is essential to effective community building and civic engagement work in order to accommodate its many forms, which range from bringing together disparate groups with similar interests and compatible skills to pairing a more established group to mentor a start-up group.

It is also important for Spirit & Place to have a presence in current events and issues. Our work with assisting with the “Talking About Freedoms Without Freaking Out” public discussion series, which explored the RFRA or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is an example of this work moving forward.

Capacity Building and Collective Impact
We continue to explore what it means for Spirit and Place to fulfill its mission via a collective impact approach, or bringing our “A Game” to support community capacity building around civic engagement. In this approach, weaving together new relationships and collaborations leads to exciting opportunities for unseen voices to emerge and new ways of seeing and doing. It may also mean that we use our work in community and in program design to support our community partners as they move forward to looking at new ways of working in the community.

Three events in this year’s festival reflect this new approach include, Dreaming of Justice Through Song, Jitterbug on Fleek and The Voices Project. While our community engagement work with SAVI to support their public conversation, SAVI Talks Crime: Does Perception Match Reality?” is another example.

Next Steps
As our Community Engagement work continues to evolve into new and exciting directions, we eagerly embrace and remain open to the unknown. It is in these uncharted waters that the opportunity that new connections and new directions can emerge, further honing the richness and beauty of civic engagement that is at the heart of the Spirit & Place Festival.

Keep a look out for unique opportunities to help craft deeper levels of civic engagement in Indianapolis and beyond as we begin to plan for 2016, which has the theme of "HOME."

LaShawnda Crowe Storm
Community Engagement Director, Spirit and Place Festival
Email: lascrowe@iupui.edu (best option)
Phone: 317.274.2463

    Since 1996, the festival
         has engaged over 
    1,000 civic organizations