Partnership Overview

Following Outcomes for Reporting Period of 01/01/2020 - 12/31/2020

Funded Programs: Transportation Services

Unique # of TOTAL Clients Served During the Grant Period


Outcome: Collaboration Among Community Organizations, Government, and Businesses to Support Basic Need Solutions to Achieve the Metrics Listed Above

Indicator: Support and influence efforts to strengthen public, private, and philanthropic partnerships

  • # public, private, and philanthropic partnerships supported

Indicator: Support research and implementation of next practices in Basic Needs

  • # of research projects completed
  • # of recommendations implemented from research projects
  • # of next practices implemented that promote capacity and/or strengthen the service delivery system
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In the Beginning

We started with the concept that there are community hubs or centers where large amounts of people in regards to density will come to answer many of their basic needs requirements including food, entertainment, social connection, healthcare and education. The research over the last several months has been focused on the needs for distributed systems in our community when trying to answer the difficulties that a Pandemic can cause for an urban community. We believe that you can combine these and build new school facilities that really drive value for the community in ways that have not be fully vetted and realized in the past. Using a metaphor of computing, we believe that the community hub has historically been like a centralized server and data center. Much of our communities have come online, including schoolsbut remarkably our low-resourced communities remain almost completely unconnected and without internet or device security. 

Pandemic Response

During the response to COVID months we have continued serving our community though auxiliary partnerships and also any funding that we could find to deliver devices, food, and internet to our most at risk populations. We have recently shifted to focus on how we can combine community assets, so that once independent entities can co-work and thrive together. I'm pleased to report that we have been able to broker the relationship between Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis and Hawthorne Community Center where Vanguard will locate its school services at the Hawthorne Community Center location for the Academic year 2020-2021. We have also procured another $100,000 in funding to help support a healthy foods initiative where we will work with Purdue, IU Heath, IU Nursing and other research groups to research outcomes of our partnership with the Patachou Foundation feeding healthy meals to all the students that go to Vanguard Collegiate Middle School.


We have now expanded our concept to include a couple of different approaches and have some outcomes based on the Vanguard Collegiate project for healthy foods and healthy initiatives. All research agendas have passed IRB approval and are moving forward. What we are learning will help shape our narrative for what it looks like to think through the health impacts on when children are presented with healthy options as part of school—and what they actually eat when presented with those options. This should help us optimize the approach to providing students with healthy and real food options that they will eat and ultimately impact them.

What could a smaller building look like as a distributed node of support? 

The recent pandemic has provided a significant spotlight on the inequities in the household and the capacity of even high resourced families to raise their children in an environment without trauma.

The first inclination is to invest into the existing infrastructure to help upgrade its supports. This would involve the following:

  • Investing in Christamore House, Hawthorne Community Center, and the localized schools and places of faith to be able to fully understand the Westside neighborhood and community on a granular needs based way
  • This would necessitate investment in infrastructure and technical capacity, as well as building a shared database that all information flows through from various data collection mechanisms.
  • We have also designed and released our Learning Pods model for families and homes supported by Crossroads. We will add this information to the reporting mechanism.

How Does this Work Toward a Smarter City?

Smart Cities initiatives should focus on this idea of decentralization, the basic principle involves multiple independent entities and businesses that are connected and provide a pool of resources. Since each node within the network retains independent control, every one of them can set their own rules regarding data and workload availability. Managing this complex web of community resources can be difficult if tried to do in a non-technical way—but technology industries have built this type of decentralized architecture for the last 40 years and have many lessons to share. This way of thinking would make it possible for organizations to utilize edge computing and deploy a multitude of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in new and exciting ways to really help residents thrive. Scaling this type of smart-social network is also easier because simply adding another service or node can increase the available decentralized resources through providing them with small start-up capital.

So, what does this mean exactly? A tangible example that can be immediately understood by the high tech and novice citizen alike is that there are a vast amount of demands for social services in our community and a vast amount of resources put towards them each year. We have a centralized approach right now, which means that the resources flow from City to our 12+ main community centers and then to the people that need them most as the last part of the trickle down. This system, as you might imagine, has a mechanism for cutting resources as they flow to city residents by reducing the overall capital resources available by more than 20-30% in overhead administration costs. Open source approaches lead to more innovation for providing social services, as it lowers the cost and barriers of sourcing for crowd participation and street level wisdom. Smart Cities, which fail to embrace decentralized solutions, will struggle to create local economic opportunity and will continue to widen the gaps of poverty—which is on display now due to the pandemic crisis. This could be even worse in the coming years as artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, IoT and robotics result in the changing of the types of jobs are available.

Community services, in my opinion are AI resistant—as you cannot get quality care and support from a machine. This is an industry that will thrive in the coming age, one where we understand that taking care of each other is the essential part of a smart-city. If we invest in services delivered in a decentralized, micro-services way, we can ensure that more services get into the hands of residents more quickly—because they will be paid to delivery those services to their community members. Data collection, community healthcare workers, financial training and support—all can be delivered by residents of particular communities as part of their social services offerings.

To provide the access to thriving, we can provide purpose. To provide purpose, we can provide thousands of living wage jobs where people, not machines, are serving each other and acting as IoT sensors for collecting information and data to feed to the system and better organize the flow of resources. The resources will be spent on labor, but will that labor benefit those that come into the urban core from outside or actually those that live, work, and raise their families in the communities that they serve. Finally, the current design and state of blockchain or tokenization already enables anyone to hold fractional, decentralized and liquid assets that are digital and readily usable. Meaning, that when the City invests into a particular area, they can invest into the infrastructure where every resident (homeowner and renter), owns a fractional asset of that community infrastructure like high-speed internet and other utilities. Decentralized and fractional access, if properly organized, could increase economic inclusion and social stability. Funding socially impactful projects from the wider population and philanthropy becomes streamlined to the residents door, and allows services to be provided to them through that funding rather than maintenance of a bloated sense of management.



One-Room SchoolhouseA New Approach to Education