The Needmor Fund Announces First Recipient of the
Frank I. Sanchez Award
Selected from among a competitive field of applications submitted by past Needmor grantees, Faith in Indiana has been named the first recipient of the Frank I. Sanchez Award. Established to honor Frank’s 25 years of service to The Needmor Fund, this award is intended to recognize an exceptional community organization with an established history of considerably improving the lives of low- and moderate-income communities, while also promoting a social justice agenda and enhancing the practice of democracy.
Established in 2012 as IndyCAN, Faith in Indiana has grown from a coalition of twenty congregations based in Indianapolis to a statewide organization with 164 institutional members drawn from six county-level chapters located throughout the Hoosier state. It is also a member of the national Faith in Action network (formerly PICO) which encompasses 46 state and local affiliates in 200 cities and towns across the country.
Since its inception, Faith in Indiana has organized around an agenda that includes transportation, criminal justice reform, immigration, and early childhood education. Its four year campaign to improve mass transit resulted in passage of the nation’s most progressive transit tax, which generates $56 million annually to support improved and expanded bus service in Indianapolis. Faith in Indiana also played a major role in getting the city to overhaul its criminal justice system by creating programs that focus on treatment instead of incarceration. Most recently, it fought to end the practice of correction officers cooperating with ICE enforcement practices.
Beyond these successes, it was Faith in Indiana’s commitment to leadership development that qualified it as a recipient of the Sanchez Award. The organization moves its members along a five step leadership development path that takes novices or beginners and shapes them into primary or organizing leaders. Along the way, these member leaders take on advancing roles in determining Faith in Indiana’s agenda and charting the course of its work. Last year alone, a core group of 125 leaders were trained to teach and mentor other members, reaching a total of over 8,000 community members through their combined efforts.
In accepting the Sanchez Award, Faith in Indiana’s Executive Director, Shoshanna Spector, commented, “We are particularly pleased and grateful to be the first recipient of the award established in Frank’s honor. His actions and commitment exceeded those of most grantmakers. He was a willing thought partner, whose insights regarding both organizing and strategy helped to shape the work of Faith in Indiana. Frank’s imprint on our organization will serve as a lasting legacy for those who care about social justice throughout Indiana.” She further commended the Needmor Fund for “demonstrating the best of philanthropy” through its support of powerful organizing work that is benefiting low-income communities and people of color throughout the Midwest.