Citizens build up their communities in many different ways in their neighborhood, city, state, country, and beyond-- but the end goal is the flourishing of these communities. Three significant examples of community-building citizens are Paul Estridge, Bill Taft, and Dave Miner.

For the 2006 finale of Extreme Home Makeover, Martindale-Brightwood resident Bernard McFarland, a neighborhood hero, was to receive a new home. Estridge’s company was selected as the home-building company. As CEO of Estridge Homes, he agreed to take on the job only if two conditions were met: the house had to fit with the rest of the community and the surrounding neighborhood had to receive major improvements as well. It was the first time in 145 EMHE shows that the target was a neighborhood rather than a single family’s house.


This was a success story for volunteerism as well: As the four McFarlands were sent to Paris for a week, more than 5,000 people signed up to volunteer their time, money, and services via the Estridge website. When the building started 1,946 community members came to the site to volunteer, while 1,492 skilled workers actually built the 2,500-square foot house and adjacent 900-square foot Pack House 2000—a study center and library where McFarland could do his mentoring. Some 200 companies contributed goods and services to the project, but the construction of the McFarland house was just part of what was accomplished that week, among many other charitable contributions by individuals and businesses alike. Thanks to Estridge’s initiative, what started out as a show about one family’s home became about the betterment of the whole community. You can read about that here.

Bill Taft is Executive Director of the Indianapolis branch of Local Initiatives Support Corporation. In his American Outlook: Super City article entitled “Visionary Community Development Plans Earns Legacy Project,” Taft tells the story of how, in summer 2007, thousands of Indianapolis residents turned out for an unprecedented opportunity: to create quality-of-life plans for their own neighborhoods. Six low-income communities had been selected to design plans for improving all aspects of neighborhood life, including education, housing, health, safety, and the arts. Among those neighborhoods selected was the Near Eastside, a community of 40,000 residents known for having one of the nation’s highest home foreclosure rates. The full story can be found here.

Today, LISC Indianapolis continues to work with Taft at the head, to make changes within communities alongside the community-members who comprise them. 2015 was a record year for LISC as a whole, proving that community development in Indiana is still going strong since its boost during Super Bowl XLVI, and getting stronger.

 Eli Lilly has a rich history of corporate citizenship. One example of Lilly's commitment to enriching Indianapolis today is its work with the IndyHunger Network. Dave Miner, former scientist and manager at Eli Lilly and Company, works alongside Elanco, Lilly, and Dow Agrosciences to come alonside community leaders to end hunger. These companies were burdened by the fact that one in five residents are hungry in their shared headquarters city of Indianapolis, they are full, active partners in the Indy Hunger Network, a collaboration of organizations in Greater Indianapolis that promotes access for all to nutritious food through a sustainable hunger relief system. 

Read more about Indy Hunger Network below.

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