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Economic Mobility

Teenworks 4 Photo Credit Larry Ladig

Economic Mobility


In the last 15 years, the growth in the number of residents in our hometown of Indianapolis living in poverty nearly outpaced the rise in the city’s population. This sobering data is leading us to double down on our commitment to self-sufficiency, and to our belief that as communities grow and flourish, so too should their residents. All people deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and live a life of dignity. That’s why Glick Philanthropies supports efforts that create equitable opportunities for people, especially those who have been historically underserved, to succeed.

Empowering Youth for Future Success: TeenWorks

While committed to providing quality and affordable housing in low-income areas, Gene Glick wanted to do something more. That’s why he pioneered a youth organization called Pro 100 in 1981. Aimed at supporting youth in economically disadvantaged communities in Indianapolis, Pro 100 helped underrepresented young people develop skills that would put them on a path to success in school, in work and in life.

Pro 100 employed 100 youth every summer. In its early days, Gene took teens to golf courses in Indianapolis’ suburbs to learn about life skills, punctuality, discipline and responsibility. Over the years, Pro 100 evolved, growing in its work opportunities every year.

Pro 100 eventually outgrew its name and became TeenWorks in 2013, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a six-week paid internship for teens to gain real work experience. With programs in both Indianapolis and Muncie, Ind., Teenworks partners with local businesses to give more than 400 teens hands-on internship experience every summer.

Teens do a variety of jobs, including landscaping, camp counseling, catering, construction, demolition, painting and more. TeenWorks also partners with other Glick Philanthropies-funded initiatives, including the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

From summer work to college scholars

TeenWorks extends far beyond the summer months. Tammie Barney, president and CEO, says the organization’s TeenWorks Pro program provides services year-round to students.

“We know how critical it is to stay in touch with students beyond the summer internship,” she says. “Our TeenWorks Pro program helps teens explore what they want to do in life and where their strengths and interests lie.” Year-round services include mentoring, career assessment, SAT and ACT prep, college tours, and college and scholarship applications.

“We want to help youths explore opportunities for their future and gain confidence in their skills and abilities,” says Barney. “Our end goal is supporting and empowering teens to excel at college, in their careers and in the community.”

Thanks to a grant from the Glick Family Foundation, TeenWorks participants are eligible to apply for up to a $10,000 per year TeenWorks scholarship, renewable for four years. To date, more than $500,000 has been awarded to 31 TeenWorks participants.

“TeenWorks is important because it’s really getting me ready for work and for college-and just taking on more responsibilities. Before TeenWorks, I was very scared of work and college; I didn’t know what they were all about. I feel prepared for any job. I feel like I’m more professional now.” – Brielle, Veteran TeenWorks Employee in Muncie, IN

Every summer, TeenWorks participants come together to volunteer at a local nonprofit. “Our teens are learning that it’s not only important to work, but also to give back to the community where you live.” – Marianne Glick, President of the Board at TeenWorks, Chair of the Glick Family Foundation

Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana: The Excel Center

The Excel Center, a tuition-free high school for adults, provides the opportunity to earn an Indiana Core 40 high school diploma. While earning their high school diplomas, students can earn college credits and certification in a number of industries.

The Excel Center is more than a classroom for adults, it’s a pathway to a better life for families. Adults taking classes at The Excel Center have access to a free drop-in center for child care, transportation assistance and many more resources. Since 2010, The Excel Center students have earned 4,077 industry-recognized certifications, graduated 2,803 students. The Excel center is a program of Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana.

In 2009, Glick Philanthropies provided over $950,000 to establish the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Scholarship, which provided up to 10 post-secondary scholarships annually to graduating seniors of Indianapolis Metropolitan High School in the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 classes.

Great Families 2020

Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE) was awarded a Great Families 2020 Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant from United Way of Central Indiana. This three-year, $1.05 million grant allowed CAFE to implement a two-generation approach on the far eastside of Indianapolis. Two-generation approaches provide opportunities for and meet the needs of vulnerable parents and their children together. When children enter kindergarten ready to learn while their parents acquire the skills they need to be successful in the workforce, the whole family has a greater chance at achieving self-sufficiency. This grant allowed CAFE to serve 100 adults and children on the far eastside by combining access to high-quality pre-k education with financial mobility coaches, workforce development programming and health supports. Glick Philanthropies provided $375,000 in matching funds towards the Great Families 2020 program at CAFE.

CAFE was one of 12 Center for Working Families sites in central Indiana. Center for Working Families (CWF) provides people with the tools they need to increase their income (“Earn It”), reduce expenses (“Keep It”), and build wealth (“Grow It”) for their families. CWF is committed to empowering people from living paycheck to paycheck to investing in their family’s future. This is done by not only helping clients get a job, but by building a career; not only meeting expenses, but by saving for a down payment on their family’s first home.


Night School, an award-winning documentary, follows students through their pursuit of a degree through The Excel Center.