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Ribbon-Cutting Hosted at Newly-Expanded Center for Leadership Development

INDIANAPOLIS – In December, Indianapolis City Council President Vop Osili joined Mayor Hogsett and Congressman Andre Carson to cut the ribbon on the newly-expanded Center for Leadership Development (CLD). Additional locations will serve as an extension of the main CLD campus, housed on the northwest side of Indianapolis, providing educational services and character development programming for Black youth in high-crime areas.

In 2019, CLD announced an $11.6 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support expansion and day-to-day operations. The grant includes a 2-to-1 matching commitment, up to $2 million, for CLD’s endowment as well. CLD is currently fundraising to achieve that goal, which ends September 30, 2021.

For more than 40 years, CLD has provided enriching programs to supplement and reinforce tens of thousands of Black youths’ learning and developmental experiences. During the mid-1970s, a group of Indianapolis civic and business leaders identified several factors they believed were severely limiting Black youth from achieving – or even aspiring to achieve – academic, college and career success:

  • Lack of exposure to the many career opportunities and options available.
  • Lack of awareness of the demands, expectations and preparation required to excel and take advantage of career opportunities.
  • Absence of a substantial number of African American professionals who could provide guidance, mentoring, role modeling and simple encouragement.

CLD’s dynamic program model is committed to teaching five cornerstone values: Character. Education. Leadership. Service. Career. The organization refers to these values as the CLD Principles for Success, all driving toward one result: Achievement.

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“We cannot overstate the impact of Lilly Endowment’s generosity,” said CLD President Dennis Bland. “Expanding CLD’s reach will move the organization from transforming individual lives to transforming entire communities, breaking cycles of poverty and serving as a model for other cities facing challenges in education, public safety and building a diverse workforce.”

Under the satellite and in-school agreements, the new locations are committed to offering CLD’s programming curricula and free educational support services to impact the lives of Black students and meet the needs of their respective communities.

Christamore House Family and Community Center (CHFCC) stands by their mission of providing the best child and youth education services, senior programming and life skills training to the residents of Haughville and the Near Westside. By partnering with CLD and serving as the first satellite location to bring education services and programming to the west side, CHFCC is impacting the lives of the youth in the area and contributing to a safe and healthy community.

“The relationship between CLD and Christamore House could not have come at a better time for the youth of Haughville and the Near Westside,” said CEO La’ Toya Pitts. “Character development, enriching educational programs, and servant leadership are a few of the core principles that both Christamore House and CLD hope to instill in the youth that we will be serving at this satellite location. Our hope is that by bringing the program to the youth in this neighborhood, we will be able to make impactful change.”

The satellite location at Christamore House will provide 30 male students, ranging in age from 12 to 17, with a six-week program focused on character and leadership training, personal branding and positive self-representation guidelines, and connectivity to outstanding male role-models and mentors. An expansion of CLD’s ‘Project MR.’ program, the students participating at Christamore House will work toward becoming responsible males at home, in school, in the community and for their peers.

A survey of 2020 program graduates found 92% valued education, learning and literacy and were prepared to plan for their futures. Even more encouraging, more than 90% articulated how behaving responsibly will help them in their educational pursuits and future careers, citing a desire to make better decisions, become trustworthy young men and get better grades. CLD looks forward to expanding its transformational programming to the Haughville area and seeing more student stories of success for that community.

Dedicated to educating young men on the east side of Indianapolis, the Mount Carmel Academic Program (MCAP) provides the tools to empower their students for success. MCAP is focused on preparing young men for academic excellence to, in turn, transform not just their students, but the families and community on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis.

“We are excited about the partnership with CLD, knowing its long-standing history and the great impact it has had on the Indianapolis community for many generations,” said Mt. Carmel Church Chief of Staff Tanya Johnson. “Their development of young people into model citizens, as adults, is in line with our goals to prepare young men for academic excellence while developing character and instilling a sense of civic responsibility.”

The PATH School (TPS) is focused on providing a purpose-driven, culturally responsive learning environment, supporting the social and emotional growth of youth in their community. TPS values the mission of CLD and by partnering with the organization as the first in-school program location, they are committed to uplifting the youth in their own community as well as all of central Indiana.

“At The PATH School, we are excited and committed to walking alongside the Center for Leadership Development in this work that, we believe, can shift a child’s life trajectory,” said Founder and Head of School Alicia Hervey. “CLD’s commitment to scholarship and character are in direct alignment with The PATH School.”

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