Concord Neighborhood Center
A $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will allow Concord Neighborhood Center to establish an endowment of its own so the 141-year-old social services agency can ensure that its programs will continue for years to come.
“We are most grateful to the endowment for the magnitude of the gift and the support it will provide year after year,” explained Niki Lynn Girls, Concord’s executive director for 35 years. “The nature of human services work is to serve people with varied and unique needs, for which it can be challenging to secure funding. The endowment has provided us with a way to provide resources that our people need most in order to thrive.”
The center, 1310 S. Meridian St., was founded as Indiana’s first settlement house in 1875 to address the needs of an emerging German immigrant population that settled on the Near Southside.
Today, the agency remains Marion County’s southernmost multi-service center, working to improve residents’ self-sufficiency and quality of life.
A portion of the grant is allocated for immediate and necessary improvements to Concord’s facility and operations.
“Our reputation is that we are a well-kept secret,” said board President Cindy H. Wood. “As such, the endowment’s sustainability grant is validating for anyone with a connection to Concord because it demonstrates a commitment to our cause and our neighborhood and to whatever needs we might encounter down the road.”
The center’s mission is realized through six core programs: early childhood education, school-aged youth development, comprehensive teenage development, basic social services, HIV healthcare coordination and senior and mature adults.
Wood said the board has created a bold target of increasing the endowment balance by 25 percent over the next eight years to increase the impact of the grant. Concord may begin to access interest from the fund next year, and the board will determine how to utilize income earned from the endowment’s payout on an annual basis.