In Co-Governance Briefing v2

In Indianapolis, gun violence is down 20% so far this year for the first time in a decade; a new crisis response system supports people in crisis to get the care they deserve rather than ending up behind bars; and the nation’s strongest civilian oversight body over law enforcement, created just nine month ago, has already passed use-of-force, training, and accountability reforms on the path to re-vision public safety.

These are just a few of the most recent victories highlighted in a new report‘Indianapolis: Co-Governance in Action’ released on Thursday, September 15 at our Virtual Funders Briefing hosted by Neighborhood Funders Group’s Midwest Organizing Infrastructure Fundersthe Ford Foundation,the Rural Democracy Initiative  and featuring our friends: 

IN Co-Governance Panel

For over a decade, Faith in Indiana has demonstrated - no matter the issue area - when policy expertise is backed by a movement vehicle laser focused on power building and developing grassroots leaders, advocates can compete for governing power even in contested political terrain.

That’s good news, because the challenges facing Indiana are the challenges of our nation: a battle for a future led by a white nationalist authoritarianism or a multi-racial democracy. The former has already captured the governing apparatus of many states, like Indiana, through gerrymandering, voter suppression and racialized polarization. Every path forward goes through the Midwest, and Indiana is leading the way.

Here are all the links from last week’s briefing, so you can dive deeper:

To Learn about Indiana’s ten year plan read ‘Organize Indiana.’ The full report ‘Indiana Power Audit’ (501c4 version) is available upon request, contact Shoshanna Spector.

While last week’s conversation focused on Indiana’s capital city, Indianapolis, Faith in Indiana has replicated its co-governance model in Gary, Fort Wayne, South Bend with even greater impacts. Co-Governance starts with a simple idea; it’s up to us to take responsibility to create the conditions required to win, implement, defend, enforce, and sustain progressive policies and programs. To achieve this goal, Faith in Indiana’s organizing model has evolved a high level of sophistication and points to four key replicable elements: organize people, run implementation campaigns, create insider champions, and play the long game.

Now, Faith in Indiana is on a path to statewide multiracial governing power.

To accomplish on a state level, what they’ve built at a local level they’ve built a set of new vehicles: a donor table (Indiana Democracy Collaborative), a political coalition (Indiana Votes), a progressive advocacy coalition (Indiana Voices). In the next twelve months, Faith in Indiana will advance a set of long-term strategies:

  • Dramatically scale-up organizing in Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities in Northwest Indiana and Central Indiana
  • Increase voter participation 15% among Black voters
  • Secure $90 Million in annual dedicated revenue to  fully funding for robust crisis response system in Indiana’s upcoming legislative session


How Can You Contribute?

Most importantly — fund this work! Faith in Indiana is a shining example of co-governance in action, and now they have a plan to advance progressive governance across the state. There are many ways to contribute:

  • Fund the partnership of Faith in Indiana and the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform directly
  • Fund Indiana Voices- Indiana’s new backbone to social movement
  • Fund the Indiana Democracy Collective, the new political home for Indiana donors

For the many funders in our network who already fund this work, Thank you!


Continue the conversation and connect with the event speakers:


Explore adding co-governance to your portfolio through joining the Ford Foundation for an informal co-governance peer learning series monthly through the end of the year on these dates: 

  • Friday, 10/14: 11:00am - 12:30pm ET
  • Thursday, 11/10 : 11:00am - 12:30pm ET
  • Thursday, 12/8: 11:00am - 12:30pm ET


Contact Jason Garrett, Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government, to register.


Thank you for being a part of our work to uplift and move resources to Midwest grassroots organizing that is advancing racial, gender, economic, disability, and climate justice. Onwards!

In Community,

Kevin Ryan, Ford Foundation
Jason Garrett, Ford Foundation
Sarah Jaynes, Heartland Fund | Rural Democracy Initiative
Ryan Strode, Builders Initiative
Amanda Hwu, Midwest Organizing Infrastructure Funders, Neighborhood Funders Group
Mary Sobecki, Needmor Fund
Stephanie Goodrid Lawson, McKinney Family Foundation
Shoshanna Spector, Faith in Indiana
David Muhammad, National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform
Domenico Romero, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock