The Elevation Grant Program

Addressing the root causes of violent crime.
Empowering communities.

The Elevation Grant Program (previously known as the Violent Crime Prevention Grant Program) is a partnership between The City of Indianapolis and The Indianapolis Foundation. The program will invest $45 million in neighborhoods over the next three years (2022, 2023, and 2024) to address the root causes of violent crime in Indianapolis through a comprehensive approach, including neighborhood empowerment and community building.

With supporting funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the grant program will distribute five times more money to community organizations than last year. The Elevation Grant Program will feature multiple grant rounds. The desired outcomes are the following: addressing the numerous root causes of violent crime, increasing resident-led solutions (community building), discovering new innovative efforts, investing in infrastructure development for grassroots organizations, and ensuring that hope, abundance, peace, resilience, and safety are expressed and elevated.

The grant program plans to focus part of its investment pipeline on grassroots organizations, prioritizing those led by residents of the communities they serve. The program defines a grassroots organization as a resident-led organization/entity operating under community values, shared power and decision making, and supported by an organizational budget of up to $250,000.

Read announcements related to the Elevation Grants Program

Funds from ARPA supporting the Elevation Grant Program involve federal requirements for eligible organizations. The federal requirements include the following:

  • Must be a not-for-profit located in Marion County, Indiana, which provides services to residents of Marion County, Indiana
  • Have an EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • Must be a 501c3 not-for-profit/Tax-Exempt Number
  • Comply with the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 200) and Subpart E – Cost Principles
  • Registered in SAM.GOV and maintained annually while administering grant funds.
  • Registered in SAM.GOV and maintained annually while administering grant funds.
  • In good standing with the State of Indiana
  • Provide a formulated detailed budget and budget narrative (use this template)
  • Quarterly Reporting- program, financial reporting, and monthly monitoring
  • Disclose if the organization has received federal funds in the past year



any effort that seeks to reduce initial or chronic interaction with criminal and/or juvenile legal systems and increase the safety of Indianapolis residents and their neighborhoods by reducing risk factors (factors that increase the likelihood of engaging with the juvenile or criminal legal system) or increasing protective factors (factors that decrease the impact of risk factors).


any crime carried out in a violent manner, including but not limited to violent acts carried out with a gun.

2023 Grant Funding Allocation

Round three of the Elevation Grant Program will be a total allocation of $1,000,000. During this round, there is an intentionality of prioritizing grassroots organizations and providing them with infrastructure support. The remaining $12 million in funds will be allocated during round four.

Priorities for Round Three

The grant program will give priority (through an equity framework) to organizations that clearly demonstrate immediate intentionality around violence reduction and support programs using evidence-based violence reduction programming or promising strategies that, in addition, elevate the assets, aspirations, hope, and improve the safety of neighborhoods impacted by violence:

  • Are place-based efforts designed to promote neighborhood safety and reduce or prevent crime in a specific geographical area as defined by a neighborhood and/or community.
  • Led by engaged and mobilized residents and community leaders.
  • Focus their efforts on providing supportive services (such as employment, education, mentoring, recreation, mental health supports, and family support services) to youth and young adults who face unique challenges and may have a higher likelihood of community disengagement without the proper intervention strategies.
  • Partner with public agencies in collaboration (The Office of Public Health & Safety, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, law enforcement, courts, probation, and parole) to help prevent crime in our community.

Geographic Restriction: Marion County

Interest Areas: Thriving Neighborhoods (see explanation below)

Priority Population: Individuals meeting the following criteria:

  • Black/Latinx men between the ages of 18-35.
  • Individuals most at-risk of violent victimization or perpetration of violent acts (previously shot/known gun activity, close friend/family member shot in last 12 months), referring to pro-social & supported grassroots and community-based organizations.
  • Individuals with multiple interactions with the criminal legal system and unemployed, underemployed, and/or without a high school diploma or HSE/GED.

Grant award range: $20,000 – $250,000

Grant funds must be expended between May. 1, 2023 and April 30, 2024.

Organizations that are start-ups and/or pilot programs may be considered for infrastructure development support.

Applicant must be a 501(c)(3) public charity or an individual or entity with an appropriate 501(c)(3) public charity serving as a fiscal sponsor. Applicant must be located in Marion County, Indiana serving residents in Marion County, Indiana and already have SAM number.

With respect to fiscal sponsorship, a 501(c)(3) public charity may serve as a fiscal sponsor for a for-profit organization, an unincorporated association, or an individual operating with a charitable purpose but without a 501(c)(3). A 501(c)(3) public charity may also serve as a fiscal sponsor for a grassroots 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Considering Fiscal Sponsorship?

  • Fiscal sponsorship is ideal for small and emerging organizations who may need assistance with managing the grant’s compliance requirements and groups/individuals operating with a charitable purpose but without a 501(c)(3).
  • The fiscal sponsor must be another 501(c)(3) public charity with the administrative capacity to support the sponsored entity in meeting all applicable grant rules and regulations. Any misuse of federal funds becomes the sole responsibility of the fiscal sponsor.
  • If two or more agencies partner to pursue a grant, The Indianapolis Foundation, in administering federal funds, acknowledges one agency, the fiscal sponsor, as the lead. The fiscal sponsor receives the grant funds and ensures that the funds are spent in accordance with 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Administrative Guidance, Cost Principles, Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, and all other requirements outlined in the grant agreement.
  • A written agreement between the entities should be established prior to applying for funds and submitted along with the grant application.

The template is offered as a resource for organizations contemplating a fiscal sponsorship relationship but shall not be construed as an instrument providing legal, financial or tax advice. Both parties should review and edit the document together—and consult with each party’s respective legal counsel—to reflect the specific nature and scope of their fiscal sponsorship agreement.


2023 Grants Program

Thriving Neighborhoods

Place-based efforts are designed to support neighborhoods that promote safety, strengthen social networks among residents and reduce or prevent crime in a specific geographical area as defined by a neighborhood and/or community and led by engaged residents and community leaders. Organizations applying for support in this area must be able to measure how efforts have increased residents’ safety and awareness in a particular area through resident surveys, increased crime reporting, or using crime statistics. These efforts may include:

  • a focus on sustained efforts to engage residents and community over time to increase social bonds and decrease crime within specific neighborhoods, zip codes, or other geographical areas (for example, crime watch, block parties, bystander safety workshops and trainings, resource fairs, anti-violence messaging campaigns, etc.)
  • a focus on building community partnerships with public systems (law enforcement, court systems, prosecutor’s office, and corrections) within a specific geographical area to help reduce criminal activity by assisting with solving crimes, increasing crime reporting, or providing information to help prevent the occurrence of a crime (for example, reentry resource fairs for families and community, driver’s license reinstatement fairs, engage in truth and reconciliation process to increase public trust, etc.)
  • a focus on improving physical assets and spaces within a neighborhood that has the potential of improving resident safety and/or deterring criminal behavior and/or activity. (for example, physical design and beautification to promote a sense of ownership and decrease stigmatization of an undesirable area)

Performance & Metrics

All applicants will 1) select a quantitative crime prevention performance measure from a pre-determined list and 2) select a quantitative program performance measure from a pre-determined list. Applicants will describe any qualitative data gathered and describe how quantitative and qualitative data points influence the program.

The available options for the quantitative crime prevention performance measure include:

  • Arrest/Recidivism: With this option organizations track whether their clients are arrested and whether they are convicted of a new crime during the grant period
  • Violence Reduction: With this option organizations track the number of criminal homicides, official nonfatal incidents reports and referrals happening in the zip codes targeted by the program during the grant period

The available options for the quantitative program performance measure include:

  • Earnings
  • Employment Retention
  • Education & Training
  • Housing Stability
  • Mental Health Stability
  • Substance Use Stability
  • Community Building
  • Violence Reduction – Adults: Arrests and Violent Injury Prevention
  • Violence Reduction – Youth: Suspensions and Expulsions
  • Youth Attitudes and Skill Development

Grantee Requirements

All grantees are required to prioritize service for clients of the City of Indianapolis’ Gun Violence Reduction Strategy and the Fellowship program.

Additionally, all grantees are required to attend the following:

  • Orientation
  • Trainings
  • Collaborative learning exchanges
  • Events in respective IMPD districts
  • Youth-serving organizations must join and attend meetings for the Marion County Youth Violence Prevention Coalition
  • Organizations serving the reentry population must join and attend meetings for the Marion County Reentry Coalition
  • Additionally, all grantees must participate in the evaluation process, monthly monitoring, provide quarterly face-to-face check-in reports, attend a face-to-face mid-year check-in and submit quarterly financial reports detailing how funds were expended by reporting due date.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in withholding of grant funds and impact consideration for future Elevation Grant Program funding opportunities.

Timeline for Round Three



January 12, 2023 Informational session
January 16, 2023 Application window opens. Submit applications here.
January 24, 2023 Grant clinic
March 3, 2023 Completed applications must be submitted by noon.
April 21, 2023 Grantee notification
May 1, 2023 Grant period begins
May 12, 2023 Grant initial payment
Week of May 15, 2023 Grantee orientation meeting
Week of June 5, 2023 Grantee one-on-one check-in meetings
August 4, 2023 Three-month progress report due
November 3, 2023 On-site visits & six-month progress report due
November 10, 2023 Grant final payment
February 2, 2024 On-site visits & nine-month progress report due
April 30, 2024 Grant cycle period ends
May 31, 2024 Final grant reports due

Criteria Used to Review Applications & Scoring Rubric

The Indianapolis Foundation’s Equity Framework will provide the overarching filter in the grant review process in the foundation’s effort to promote and advance equity in our community.

The applications will be evaluated against the priorities of the grant fund program and against the criteria review domains listed below. Grant application review and funding recommendations are provided by the full department of The Indianapolis Foundation’s community leadership grant officers (with diverse subject-matter expertise) and approved by The Indianapolis Foundation board. Each application review will receive a written score, based on the rubric established below. The Indianapolis Foundation staff will compile the scores for each applicant and shall create a preliminary score ranking of applicants for the grant program.



(0-1 points)


(2 – 3 points)


(4 – 5 points)

Alignment with The Indianapolis Foundation’s mission and focus on opportunity, equity, and inclusion Proposed work does not align with the mission, has no focus on opportunity, equity, and inclusion (OEI), and does not address eliminating inequities and disparities. Proposed work mentions aspects of OEI, and eliminating inequities and disparities, but does not provide details on how this is implemented. Proposed work is in direct alignment with mission, has a clear focus on OEI, and clearly addresses eliminating inequities and disparities.
Outreach, Direct Service and/or Case Management Proposed work does not provide any evidence-based interventions and has no focus on outreach and/or engagement strategies, direct services nor intensive case management (or other affiliated interventions). Proposed work mentions some aspect of evidence-based interventions, outreach, direct service, and or case management but does not provide details on implementation. Proposed work provides evidence-based interventions and has a clear focus on outreach, direct service provision, and/ or case management.

Collaborative Approach

Demonstrate the ability to partner with other public agencies and/or not-for-profit organizations to support crime prevention and/or reduction efforts. Provide a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for each collaborating partner.

Critical project partner is missing from the project plans, or at least one collaborative partner’s contribution to the project is unclear. No MOUs provided. Proposal shows some indication of appropriate collaborative partners. Applicant has provided MOUs for some partners, but not all. Proposal includes a well-defined plan identifying appropriate collaborative partners, each of which adds value to the program. Applicant has provided MOUs for all partners.

Statement of the problem and alignment with Elevation Grant Program Priority

Address specific priority areas of the Elevation Grant Program (as outlined above).

Applicant does not adequately state the problem; no evidence-based justification for the project—little or no discussion of connection between proposed project and Violent Crime Prevention Grants Program priorities. The applicant does not include a clear statement of work to be completed or make a compelling case. Discussion of connection between proposed project and Violent Crime Prevention Grants Program priorities is vague or incomplete. The applicant fails to make a compelling case. Applicant clearly states the problem and provides a strong rationale for grant funding, clearly explaining activities and outcomes. There is a clear connection between the proposed project and Violent Crime Prevention Grants Program priorities. The significance of the proposed activities is clear and well defined.

Infrastructure DevelopmentProject Design, and Implementation

Demonstrate the ability to achieve program outcomes that reduce risk factors and/or enhance protective factors.

Project design is vague and not clearly linked to project goals. Project is not innovative. Organization does not demonstrate capacity to achieve program outcomes that reduce risk factors and/or enhance protective factors. Adequate project design with procedures and activities is defined, but project is unclear, lacks innovation, and is not clearly linked to project goals. Organization demonstrates little to moderate capacity to achieve program outcomes that reduce risk factors and/or enhance protective factors. Strong and innovative project design with procedures and activities that are well defined, fully explained, and link to project goals. Organization demonstrates great capacity to achieve program outcomes that reduce risk factors and/or enhance protective factors.


Demonstrate the ability and/or a plan to collect program performance and impact data

Proposal does not include any methods to assess participants, evaluate the project, and does not incorporate feedback to improve programming. Proposal includes at least one method to assess participants or evaluate the project and has a good plan for data collection, receives feedback from program participants, but does not have a clear plan to incorporate it to inform program design and delivery. Proposal includes a solid data collection plan, and a variety of methods to assess participants, elevate and celebrate individual and community agency, benchmark success, challenges, and discoverable.

Data plan reflects continuous feedback and incorporation of information from community, stakeholders, and program participants to evaluate the project and inform program design and delivery.

Financial Management and budget

Demonstrate the ability to account for grant funding and leverage other financial and/or in-kind support from other community partnerships.

Key expenses are neither described nor justified. The method for arriving at budgeted expense categories/ amounts is not provided. Some expenses are described and justified. The method for arriving at budgeted expense categories/amounts is unclear or requires inference. Key expenses are fully described and justified. The method for arriving at budgeted expense categories/amounts is clearly explained. Budget is directly connected to project description, goals, and timetable. Budget demonstrates commitment to money flowing to the hands of program participants and other residents that are asked to assist with program implementation.


In addition to these criteria, the review will also take into consideration:

  • governance
  • financial health
  • project concept
  • expected impact
  • sustainability

The final award decision may consider additional discretionary factors, including but not limited to geographic balance, racial equity, strategic priorities, past performance under prior awards, and available funding.

What the Elevation Grant Program Does NOT Fund:

  • organizations that are NOT tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) Public Charity of the Internal Revenue Code
  • grants or payments to individuals
  • projects aimed at promoting a particular religion or construction projects for religious institutions. Religious organizations may apply but not require their clients to be a member of their church or conform to their beliefs.
  • operating, program and construction costs at schools, universities and private academies unless there is significant opportunity for community use or collaboration
  • organizations or projects that discriminate based upon race, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual orientation
  • political campaigns or direct lobbying efforts by 501(c)(3) organizations
  • post-events, after-the-fact situations or debt retirement
  • medical, scientific or academic research
  • publications, films, audiovisual and media materials, programs produced for artistic purposes or produced for resale
  • travel for bands, sports teams, classes and similar groups
  • annual appeals, galas or membership contributions
  • fundraising events such as golf tournaments, walk-a-thons and fashion shows

Before You Apply, Check on the Following:

  1. validates entity uniqueness for US government tracking of grantees, suppliers, contractors and other recipients of federal assistance. In order to receive Elevation Grant funds, you much have an active registration in
      • Register an entity or have a UEI (renew every year; registration is free)
        • Unity Entity Identifier (UEI)
          • If you are already registered in, you have a UEI
          • If you are not registered in, you need to request a UEI
            • You will need:
              • Legal Business Name
              • Physical Address for Organization
              • Create a account
              • Point of contact
              • Entity bank information
              • Taxpayer Identification Number (ie. EIN)
              • Make sure that your organization is publicly searchable
      • Watch for (applies to registrations:
          1. Select: “I only want to apply for federal assistance opportunities, like grants, loans, and other financial assistance”
          2. CAGE Code will be given during the process if you do not have one
          3. You are no longer required to have a DUNS number to register in
  1. Confirm Tax-Exempt Status: The online search tool allows you to search for an organization’s tax-exempt status and filings in the following database
  2. Make sure your organization is current with annual report filings – verify that here
  3. Download and complete the formulated detailed budget. Once downloaded and completed, please attach the budget and budget narrative to the documentation section of your application.

How to Apply

  1. Access the online application. The Indianapolis Foundation requires all applicants to use our online grants management system.
  2. Complete the organization profile
  3. Complete the application

To assist with the online grant system, email

The user guide for SmartSimple, our online grant system can be downloaded here.

Additional resources for applicants of the Elevation Grant Program