With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
Over the past decade, ProAct Indy has diligently pursued a goal that every young person in our community has available to them all the things every good steward of resources can provide—access to positive activities, opportunities to learn and develop skills, and lots of supportive, caring relationships.
We deem that a community is responsible to do all it can to help its young people grow up as we strive to achieve our mission to stand in the gap for vulnerable populations while empowering youth to actively transform their communities. At a systems level, ProAct began not to create another dot on the map of nonprofit organizations doing great work, but rather to intentionally create an efficient system to connect the dots that already exist on the map to help sustain and amplify youth voice and action. We seek to redefine and set the standard of what community service is as we define community service as intentionally building and creating meaningful relationships.
We humbly believe that our experience and our sensitivity to the needs of our youth and our community have brought us to a position where we can continue our impact in even more innovative ways than ever before. Since our inception in 2010, ProAct has evolved several times to meet the needs of our community in response to the demand of our program and services. In 2017-2018, between our youth and corporate programs, ProAct grew from engaging just over 2,000 people in service to over 10,000 people in one year’s time, serving 10 schools, 17 businesses, ad 115 nonprofits. Although we made a significant impact in the Indianapolis community, such quick growth was not easy to manage operationally. We learned valuable lessons as we increased our reach and impact that our operational challenges prompted us to scale back our programs in 2019 to refine our innovative program model to be more sustainable and intentional so we can continue to offer quality programs to our youth and vulnerable communities.
Equipped with a reinvigorated mission, vision, and documented systems and processes, 2020 demonstrated that where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. Despite a global pandemic, we put our newly refined Proactive Community model to the test, engaging new partners to help schools, businesses, and nonprofits cross social, racial, and economic boundaries through human-centered service projects and social equity training. We also increased our team from two employees to eight in a matter of six months, and we are poised to take advantage of many opportunities that will increase our impact for years to come.
This is all great, but a quality program model is only as good as its execution. Before we embark on an exciting journey to begin increasing our impact even further into a new decade, our leadership team knew we needed an implementer who possessed a clear understanding of our mission, social justice, and the communities we serve. Someone who can inform our unique model, improve upon its efficient systems and processes, and ensure we stay true to our mission to provide equitable opportunities for our city’s most vulnerable population – our youth.
To this end, it is with great pleasure to announce Faren Jones as our newest teammate. She joins us as our Director of Operations and will safeguard our sustainability, quality, and integrity to position our organization as a leader in effective community engagement.
Faren Jones is a community enthusiast who is determined to leave the world better than she found it. She is passionate about both individual and societal level issues, such as helping others operate in their purpose and develop structures that ensure that the entire community is able to thrive. Jones is known for having a high standard of ethics, accomplishing any task at hand, and effectively leading teams of varying abilities. Her dedication is fueled by an interest in eradicating the status quo, eliminating inefficient processes, and dismantling oppressive systems.
Jones is an advocate and voice for those who may not have the opportunity to speak for themselves. She serves Indianapolis as a mentor for Starfish Initiative, on the boards of AYS and Indy Black Millennials, and as a founding member of the African American Legacy Fund of Indianapolis. Her influence does not stop in our local communities as she represents our city nationally as a member of the National Urban League Young Professionals Fund Development Committee.
When she is able to unplug, she enjoys boxing, supporting local Black-owned businesses, and eating ice cream for any meal of the day. A native of Indianapolis, Jones attended Indianapolis Public Schools for K-12, graduating from Arsenal Technical High School. She obtained an MPA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). She also holds a CFRE credential which will further equip her to have success in this new role.
Committed to service and the relentless pursuit of promoting sustainable systems in the nonprofit sector, Jones has worked with a variety of organizations throughout her career, including Bloom Project, IU Health Foundation, and Art With A Heart.
We are fortunate to have an intentional community leader, passionate youth advocate, and strategic thinker join our leadership team to partner with us to stand in the gap for vulnerable populations and engineer upward mobility for our city’s youth.
Faren will start her journey with us on March 1, and we could not be more excited.
Welcome to the team, Faren.
Let’s make some good trouble – together.