Introduction to Circle Up Indy (CUI)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CIRCLE UP INDY
Circle Up Indy is a non-profit community-based organization serving Indianapolis, Indiana, and the surrounding counties. Circle Up Indy was established in 2014. Its founder, James C. Wilson, is a native of Martindale-Brightwood, a notorious area on the eastside of Indianapolis. Circle Up Indy is a business and community organization that focuses on economics, education, and employment. In the past, we served as a concierge of resources to the community with hopes of inspiring less violence and developing a stronger community.
In August 2014, Circle Up Indy hosted its first annual Peace Festival at James Russell Lowell IPS School 51. This inaugural event was a huge success, bringing over 1000 people from the community to support and learn about local businesses, youth and adult programs, educational services, and employment opportunities. Thanks to our key partners, sponsors, and supporters such as Community Hospital East, Fox 59 News, IPS, Indygo, Ivy Tech Community College, and many other supporters, Circle Up Indy has held five similar events. Our 2021 Peace Festival was the 100th Anniversary of the Frederick Douglass Park, with an attendance of over 1,500 visitors.
The Peace Festivals have served as a launching pad for community partnerships that Circle Up Indy continues to nurture.
CONTINUAL EFFORTS & CHALLENGES
Bill Gates, the Wright brothers, Bitcoin, Facebook, and many other individuals and companies were told that their goals were unrealistic. We too have been partakers of such skepticism. Still, just like those innovators before us, we understand that we must challenge past assumptions and look for new solutions to solve decades-old problems.
We are not a “hope” based organization; we are action-driven with measurable impact. Hope without action perpetuates the systematic trauma and lack of perseverance within our community/society. As we continue to strive for an ever-evolving society and community we will not give up and will push beyond hope at an accelerated collective pace.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Picasso
A Community Co-op Movement
“Change can be progressive or regressive, but evolution always moves forward. It’s time to evolve our community on an innovative & historical level” – James Wilson
WHAT IS RISING EVOLUTION?
Empowerment through direct community engagement is the basis of a true community co-op where the community invests in themselves. To accomplish this goal, reshaping social capital, community wealth development, equity with inclusive, and sustainable quality of life development are all essential factors that will determine success. Rising Evolution seeks to address redlining, equity and social justice, and affordable housing assistance in a manner that translates resources to cultivate sustainability. Through a dedicated collaborative and transparent partnership with Edna Martin Christian Center and the Martindale-Brightwood CDC, we strive to build pathways and opportunities for true community self-sustainability.
We cordially invite you to support Rising Evolution (This Is Just The Beginning) the vision of development at the community level. These 360° approaches to aggressively engage residents for sustainable growth align with the mission and program outcomes of Circle Up Indy, Edna Martin Christian Center, and Martindale Brightwood CDC, as well as resident-led Quality of Life Plans and initiatives. The partners are committed to ensuring the Martindale-Brightwood Community reaches its highest potential.
Rising Evolution focuses on a comprehensive approach to community economic development through the following efforts: affordable homeownership access, moving residents from renters to homeowners; on-site affordable 3D printed home and container home development; fundamentals of construction using 3D printing training; Indiana roundtable OSHA construction certification; community resident/stakeholder home repair, and collaborative entrepreneurial development. Historically, the collaborating entities have served as a concierge of resources to the community with hopes of inspiring less violence and developing a healthier community. However, today, each entity has significantly increased capacity and adapted collective missions in pursuit of a broader initiative to adequately address the needs of the population served.
The Demographics We Primarily Serve
- 15 and Older (Employment, 3D Housing Tech Education/Training/Certification)
- Martindale Brightwood Community and surrounding districts were identified as high- crime and low income (with a 2-3-year growth plan for Indianapolis)
- Residents of Color
- Individuals with a criminal history, past evictions, and struggling credit
- Individuals who are homeless
- Transitional housing for individuals being released from incarceration and those with a substance abuse disorder (Will be housed in our Transitional container home)
- Individuals who are under-educated or underemployed in Low-income households (Section 8)
- Any other resident historically neglected or in need
The programs and initiatives CUI is working on are to build the foundation for Circle Up Indy’s Rising Evolution-Housing initiative in our beginning stage of affordable housing and community development. We will build both containers, and 3D Printed Homes to provide sustainable living for residents of color and the underserved.
1.) First 90 days (after raising $350K+)-
- Hire 8 community conductors aka case managers (min $40/hour)
- (100K)- Direct Community Engagement (rent, utilities, food, clothing, transportation assistance) 360 effect of support includes ongoing follow-up, connection to resources internal or external with supporting partnerships, education services (GED/High School Equivalency, vocational trades, and post-secondary education)
- 10-20 recipients to receive paid education stipend for 3D training and certification
- Starts with residents of Martindale/Brightwood (and will expand to greater Indianapolis and throughout the State of Indiana including Gary, IN)
- Go through an evaluation process with a one-on-one interview to establish a commitment level
- After certification will be placed in the field for on-the-job-training (OTJT) to build the first container home
- (150K) Juniper project finished in first 90 days
- Place the first recipient at home- This family has already been vetted and selected through the direct community engagement process-one on one case management and social services support)
- (20K) Purchase of CRM- Case management software
2.) First 6 mos (after raising $2 Million)
- 20-40 recipients will go through 3D printer training and certification
- 20 recipients in our B2B entrepreneurial development program which teaches a 3 tier business base-basic (teach fundamentals of business & investment) advanced-(mentors to prep), premier (present for investment)
- 200K-Continued Direct community engagement
- Hire additional 8 case managers (a total of 16)
- Second container home completed
- Start 3rd and 4th property development
- More staff hired (including health benefits)
- Build Operation Budget
- Land Acquisition 5-10 properties
- Purchase additional construction Materials (siding, containers, plumbing, etc)
3.) First-year (after raising $4 million)
- 75+ recipients will go through 3D printer training and certification
- 75+ recipients in our B2B entrepreneurial development program which teaches a 3 tier business base-basic (teach fundamentals of business & investment) advanced-(mentors to prep), premier (present for investment)
- Expand development to Gary, IN (will include container and 3D)
- Full staffed- 25+ community conductors, executives, Project directors, VP of Operations, VP of Development, director of community engagement, community event coordinator, construction project manager, VP of finance, VP of Human resources, Marketing Director, Director of IT and web development
- 300K down payment for 3D printer or 700K to purchase outright (includes transportation of machine)
- Plan to build the first 3D printed home
- 10+ container homes built
The goal of our funding is to support our housing development ranging from property purchase (15-20 properties first-year development) in our target community(s), equipment purchase (3D Home Printer & Containers), and construction funding with our Rising Evolution-Self-Sustainability and Homeownership Initiative and our Direct Community Engagement (One on One Community support and Case Management). With a community 360° effect for development ranging from job placement within our housing initiative and organization, Container and 3D Printed Home Tech Development, Carpentry Training and Certification, and Leadership Investment Training. We look to change how our communities are viewed, developed, and respectfully invested in.
With additional advancing opportunities ranging from Indiana Roundtable OSHA Construction Certification, Community Resident/Stakeholder Home Repair, and CUI Business to Business Entrepreneurial Development. Circle Up Indy has grown and adapted its mission to a broader initiative in response to an ever-changing status quo to address the needs of the population it serves adequately.