Happy New Year

Happy New Year! My family likes to end each year by discussing what we are grateful for and by making resolutions for the year ahead. My mother likes to save these resolutions and read them back to us so we can hear how well we did (or didn’t do). As a child, my resolution usually was to try to be nicer to my little brother. It took many years (ok, a few decades), but now we’re terrific friends, which is something I’m eternally grateful for. 

After another year of health, social and economic challenges, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for many things. I am grateful for the citizens of Indianapolis. I have lived in six other states, but, in many ways, Hoosiers have been the most welcoming. 

I love that other nonprofit organizations, like the Arts Council, Indiana Humanities, Indiana Sports Corp, the Urban League, Visit Indy, and so many others regularly get together to discuss how to better our city. And I’m so proud that KIB is part of those solution-oriented discussions. 

I’m also grateful that so many people routinely volunteer their time to KIB. Do you know that over 15,000 Hoosiers have volunteered at least an hour of their time to KIB over the years? That’s just under two percent of the population. Many folks have come out for neighborhood clean-up days. Or they have participated with their company in a volunteer day of service. Others have joined hands with their neighbors, requested new trees for their community, and helped us plant them. These trees will flourish for decades — cleaning the air, filtering the water, and calming the city. 

By the end of 2022, Indianapolis will have almost 900,000 citizens. What if just two percent of those folks made a New Year’s resolution to take part in a volunteer effort to help the city be cleaner, greener and healthier? I would sure love to live in a city that came together like that. And really, we all could use a little more empathy, and especially a little more love. 

One way we can exhibit love is by cleaning up, not just after ourselves, but for others. If you haven't already, maybe this is the year for you to become an Adopt-a-Block Captain. KIB will provide the supplies, and all you have to do is walk around your block and clean up litter. It’s one of those little things that goes a long way!  

Or, if your neighborhood needs more trees, we can provide them! KIB strives to make our city more environmentally equitable, and part of that is making sure that there are trees throughout the city. Of course, we’ll also ask you for help planting them. It’s a lasting legacy that will benefit generations to come. 

For 2022, I have a few resolutions. I am going to take better care of myself. That includes taking more time to get outside, to exercise, and to explore — and maybe all three at the same time! I’m going to take better care of my family. More one-on-one time with my three kids. More date nights with my wife. Talking to my mom more (and I know she’s going to read this blog, so…I’ll probably have to keep this one!).

I resolve to take better care of my staff. To find more ways to support them — whether that’s sharing knowledge or relationships that I have picked up over the years, or just having the grace to not offer help if it’s not needed or requested. 

And I resolve to do a better job listening to community leaders, neighborhood associations, and spiritual leaders to understand the ways KIB can co-create solutions that meet local needs and desires. What’s best for one part of town isn’t best for every part of town, and while KIB has been working incredibly hard on this over the past few years, we’ll work even harder in the year ahead.  

The past couple of years have been especially isolating. Let’s find some safe, outdoor opportunities to rebuild relationships with our families, our neighbors, and our community. This is a resolution we can do together — I look forward to making a difference with you!