Written by Director of Business Development Tom Hanley
There is this (false) mentality in Central Indiana that non-profits must compete against one another, that we’re competing for the same dollars, media, grants and donors and as such it is hard to work together without running the risk of dipping into the pockets of other organizations. This is even more prevalent as a newer non-profit in a very close-knit philanthropic community and trying to break through the glass ceiling put in place by the more traditional and long-established community organizations. We’ve spent the past 2 years building our organization and networking and just now do I believe our foot is firmly through the door. Now when there is a great story that potentially deserves media attention I know who to reach out too, when there is a need for specific resources I am likely to have the connection to make that happen, and now I don’t quite as often have to explain what Nine13sports does as it is becoming a more visible part of the community.
The staff at Nine13sports has built our non-profit around the concept of how to work with other organizations to make Indianapolis better. In fact, if it were not for other organizations doing great work for kids we would just be a crew of guys with 8 bikes and nowhere to go. We continuously work to open the philanthropic community in ways that are non-traditional, while simultaneously acting as a bit of a black sheep ourselves with our out of the box thinking.
We continuously challenge the Foundation Community, the Philanthropic Entities that are attempting to do good with their dollars—we challenge them to resist the temptation to simply award grants and donations to organizations that are the most established and instead seize each grant as an opportunity to identify non-profits with community initiative, community resources and a solid program that makes a difference in Indianapolis.
By working together in the non-profit sector we all stand to achieve our goals, by identifying joint ideas we can find better ways to operate, and by understanding that the “little guys” who have weathered the storm of start-up concept to reality deserve a seat at the big kids table—Indianapolis will ultimately gain more from the non-profit community.