Heartland Fund grantee Faith in Indiana has helped install a powerful form of leadership throughout the state. The group brought its co-governance model to Gary, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Indianapolis.

Co-Governance starts with a simple idea; it’s up to us to take responsibility to create the conditions required to winimplementdefendenforce, and sustain progressive policies and programs. To achieve this goal, Faith in Indiana’s organizing model points to four key replicable elements: organize people, run implementation campaigns, create insider champions, and play the long game. 

A new report, ‘Indianapolis: Co-Governance in Action’, was released at our funders briefing hosted by Neighborhood Funders Group’s Midwest Organizing Infrastructure Funders, the Ford Foundation, and Heartland Fund. The event featured: Rev. Josh Riddick from Faith in Indiana, Rosie Bryant from Live Free USA, and David Muhammad from National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform

Faith in Indiana has demonstrated when policy expertise is backed by a movement vehicle laser focused on power building and developing grassroots leaders, advocates can compete for governing power even in contested political terrain. That’s good news because the challenges facing Indiana are the challenges of our nation: a battle for a future led by white nationalist authoritarianism or a multiracial democracy. The former has already captured the governing apparatus of many states, like Indiana, through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and racialized polarization.

Now, Faith in Indiana is on a path to statewide multiracial governing power. To accomplish on a state level what they’ve built at a local level, they’ve built a set of new vehicles: a donor table (Indiana Democracy Collaborative), a political coalition (Indiana Votes), a progressive advocacy coalition (Indiana Voices). In the next twelve months, Faith in Indiana will advance a set of long-term strategies: 

  • Dramatically scale-up organizing in Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities in Northwest Indiana and Central Indiana
  • Increase voter participation by 15% among Black voters
  • Secure $90 million in annual dedicated revenue to fully funding for robust crisis response system in Indiana’s upcoming legislative session