In 2019, United Way of Central Indiana announced a rebrand of its signature fundraising event. We rolled up the experience previously known as Red Carpet Gala and launched ELEVATE.

ELEVATE … because we rise by lifting others.

And the momentum from this event just keeps climbing.

The inaugural year debuted a new look (including a saucy, Havana-Nights theme) where over 500 young leaders raised $63,000 in a one-night soiree. The exciting addition of the ELEVATE Awards celebrated and recognized fifteen remarkable 20- and 30-somethings that have taken the lead and are quietly doing amazing things.

And as if the dancing, mojito-making and award-giving were not enough, ELEVATE attendees were treated to an opportunity for hands-on social good, packing 500 backpacks with much needed food and hygiene items for students at the Edna Martin Christian Center.

As promised, ELEVATE attendees were some of our first philanthropists to seed United Way’s Basic Needs Fund – a fund to help struggling families and children gain access to healthy food, safe and affordable housing, healthcare services and transportation

The $63,000 raised at ELEVATE 2019 has already been invested back into the community. Partners like the Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis are on the front lines of these systemic problems – like fighting food insecurity. Thanks to the Basic Needs Impact Fund, BGC Indy, served 12,000 lunches and 9,000 snacks through the Summer Food Service Program, 630 youth participated in nutrition education programs, and over 1,400 children participated in regular physical activities.

What’s up next?

In 2020, ELEVATE will continue to educate and provide hands-on experiences for attendees to be part of the fight and support families who need to have their basic needs met in order to survive.

When our 2020 Host Committee heard Nate Lichti, United Way’s Senior Director of the Basic Needs Fund, discuss the crisis of affordable housing in our country, they were intrigued and wanted to know how ELEVATE could wrap its arms around more Hoosiers looking for safe and stable housing opportunities.

As Lichti says, “Housing intersects with every aspects of our lives.”

  • Safe and affordable housing translates into healthier food options and stronger bodies.
  • Safe and affordable housing means access to quality healthcare and education become more and more attainable.
  • Safe and affordable housing provides parents and caregivers opportunities to bolster their workforce development.  

“Despite the low unemployment rate and growth in the stock market, housing costs outpace wage growth, new construction cannot be built at affordable prices and employers are growing far from historic residential centers – leaving low-income workers to commute further to jobs,” says Lichti. “Further, residents are unable to retain housing when they have a health crisis and end up in court fighting evictions (which are more prevalent here than in any other city in the country other than New York).”

Given these circumstances, resources to guarantee housing security are far too limited to meet the needs of low to moderate income households in Central Indiana, period. 

How do you fit in?

You can help us ELEVATE the fight against poverty and ensure more individuals and families have access to safe and affordable housing.



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