From the Desk of Aaron Story – End of Summer 2022 Update | Elevate Indianapolis

The Elevate Indy impact theme for the 2022-2023 program year is “Deep & Wide.” The impact of Elevate Indy is felt in both our depth and our width of impact. As we expand into new school partners and widen the number of students served, we continue to stay committed to holistic 24-7 life-change, making a great depth of impact with the current students and growing alumni base.

This is, quite strangely, my 5th school year with Elevate Indy and nearly 20 years of investing in the next generation. Maybe it’s simply the privilege of aging (or the aging of my own kids), the gut check COVID and its social impact has provided, or the complicated “state” of our nation in this season? But as I think about the opportunity ahead, as the kids say today, I find myself “in my feelings” quite often.

The privilege we have with Elevate to invest deeply in our city’s youth living in our most under-resourced neighborhoods is truly quite humbling. And I can say the “we” is deep in our Elevate DNA in every aspect, program area, values, and our national 40-year history. Our model is saturated in community collaboration. Without collaboration with businesses, non-profits, government agencies, foundations, schools, and families, we don’t exist much less lead to the type of outcomes we’ve become known for in our city.

We say to our students, “No one gets there alone, and that’s why we show up.” Our board leadership, the collaboration with Indianapolis Public Schools, and the partnership with hundreds in our community, which all began in 2015, continue to yield fruit that I pray, hope, and believe will be harvested for generations in our city is only possible because “we show up.” Heading into our 7th year at Arsenal Tech High School alone wouldn’t be possible without their incredible leadership and staff who provide such generous support to the Elevate team!

Thanks to our partnership, a few things are on the horizon to recognize, celebrate, and invite your participation.

For the past two years, the team at Outreach Inc. has let us cohabitate in their space, and it’s during this season we’ve been cultivating an expanded future. After 7 years, we are building out the Elevate Indianapolis Impact Center.  Positioned on the corners of Washington St. & Rural St., thanks to our friends at the Englewood Community Development Corporation, we will establish this Impact Center & HQ keeping us fully immersed in very close proximity to hundreds of students and families we are in relationships with.

That said, we are like college students moving out of the dorm into their “first place,” and functionally don’t have much of our own. We’ve created an Amazon Wishlist here where you can do a little online shopping.  Also, the outside needs a little bit of love, and we are planning a beautification work day on Saturday August 13 from 8-11AM and would love for you to consider signing up here.

Lastly, thanks to so many of you and the extra generosity of the Arthur Dean Family FoundationIndianapolis Foundation, and Lilly Endowment, we’ve been able to have an incredible summer of camps, college and career mentoring, sports & adventure fun, and endless first-time experiences for Elevate students! In our 24-7 model, the Elevate program dream team pivots every summer to make a deep holistic investment!  

Whether it be through my evenings and weekends as a basketball coach, the foster children in my home, or my support of the Elevate Indy staff team but never a week goes by I’m not confronted with youth so incredibly “thirsty” for mentoring, direction, and forward shaping relationships. Our city is full of young people crying out for OUR investment, support, and opportunity creation.

Finally, I implore you to find a way to steward your personal privilege, relationships, and resources in a way that clearly and regularly leads to life-changing impact, whether it be with Elevate or the dozens of other great youth-serving organizations and agencies in our city.

Serving with you,

Aaron Story
President & CEO
Elevate Indianapolis