Located on the White River near the center of Indiana, Indianapolis was founded in 1821. It became Indiana's state capital in 1825. Indianapolis is a unique blend of a large urban city and the small rural towns that immediately surround the downtown area. This clash of two "worlds" has provided a broad spectrum of opportunities and challenges. Twenty percent of the people in Indianapolis are living below the poverty line, but in the midst of that struggle the city has had progressive growth in tourism. By using all their resources the people of Indianapolis are working to bring about change and a better life for all their residents.
Indianapolis is the largest city in the rural state of Indiana and the 2nd largest state capital in the US. As the geographic center of the state, lawmakers founded the city on the banks of the White River in the early 1800's. The river was found out to be too shallow for commerce; this forced early development of a railroad and interstates that quickly made Indianapolis the "Crossroads of America," and an economic hub for the Midwest. The economy is based on a diverse group of industries including finance, insurance, and health care. The city is home to the Lilly Endowment, one of the wealthiest charitable organizations in the world, which contributes to the area's cultural institutions such as the Indianapolis Art Museum, Children's Museum, and Cultural Trail. In addition to its strong cultural heritage Indianapolis is also the headquarters of the American Legion and has more monuments than any city outside of Washington D.C. Despite a strong job sector and many charitable organizations, some of the city's urban neighborhoods have been disenfranchised. More than a quarter of the city's residents fall below the poverty line - a staggering 200,000 individuals - and there are more than 2,000 people living on the streets on any given night. The Near Eastside has been particularly affected; the city converted main thoroughfares through the neighborhoods (E Michigan St and E New York St) one-way streets and highways by rewriting city code to minimize business in the area. The neighborhoods changed from a place of business and commerce, to a place to pass through en route to downtown. Naturally, the job loss was significant for the area and the ramifications are still being felt today. The neighborhood is home to active churches and ministries that are committed to one another through Christian community development. Our community partners run vibrant ministries that provide stability and resources to those struggling to meet their basic needs, engage in educational opportunities, and find safe places for their children to play. Through their example, we learn what it means to serve our community and are invited to care for one another in the Near Eastside, and all throughout Indianapolis.