LISC Love Thy Neighbor People's Choice Award Winner
Direct Service Workforce Development Grant
What is the Direct Service Workforce Investment Grant?
“A key and critical focus of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA)’s Home and Community-Based Services Spend Plan is on supporting our direct service workforce. To that end, we have developed a Direct Service Workforce (DSW) State plan that will include short-, mid-, and long-term strategies around wages and benefits; training and pathways; and promotion and planning.
In advance of the DSW State Plan release, FSSA is excited to launch a critical short-term wages and benefits strategy in the form of a Direct Service Workforce Investment grant opportunity. Direct service workers are essential in providing the day-to-day, in-person HCBS supports necessary for people to live, work, and participate in their communities… with a requirement that 95% of the funding awarded flow through to direct service workers.”
Through this grant, Project Will, Inc was awarded funding to support our direct service workforce.
We plan to use 95% of the first funding installment to issue one-time bonuses determined by the percentage of the agency’s total direct support hours each DSW worked for the 2022 year. Employees received these funds by 3/15/2023.
The next two installments will be distributed based on performance and retention activities. Details will be communicated to employees.
The second round of the grant was given as a reinforcement of timely documentation for the members they serve, this was given on a sliding scale as documentation was submitted earlier they earned more, and when it was received when it was due they received a small amount.
The last round will be given as Wraparound benefits on items such as gas cards, lunches, and dinners, as well as covering the cost of membership for staff to receive certifications through NADSP.
Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative Grant
Our Founder, Jeanine Coleman, had the honor to attend an orientation for awardees of the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative. Project WILL, Inc was one of 52 not-for-profit organizations selected by the National Urban League to implement the initiative’s mission to support effective programs, policies, and ventures to make measurable improvements in the lives of African Americans.
Grants were provided for projects in business and entrepreneurship, education, employment, health and wellness, housing and homeownership, and leadership and engagement.
Project WILL’s award in the amount of $247,248 will address Barriers to Employment for African American adults with disabilities.
Disability and race have a complex and compounding impact on one’s well-being. The disability employment gap, combined with the racial employment disparity, leaves African Americans with
disabilities with the highest unemployment rate (75%) for any racial group (National Disability Institute 2019). High unemployment contributes to poverty and potential involvement with the justice system.
In a 2017 study, people with emotional, physical, cognitive, or sensory disabilities were nearly 44% more likely to be arrested by age 28, while those without had a lower probability of arrest, at 30%. African Americans with disabilities are at the greatest risk of arrest – facing nearly double the 28% risk of white individuals with disabilities. The same study projected over 50% of Black individuals with disabilities in the U.S. will be arrested by the time they reach their late 20s (Cornell University, 2017). These statistics make a strong case for the significant and unique needs of adults with disabilities, which we aim to serve
with this award.
Thank you, Tony Mason and your team at the Indianapolis Urban League, along with Willis Bright and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI) for your amazing leadership and of course the Lilly Endowment for prioritizing the most critical issues impacting the quality of life for African Americans living within Indianapolis/Marion County.