At F.C. Tucker we talk a lot about “paying our civic rent,” so for the month of November, we would like to express our gratitude to the many organizations and individuals who serve their communities tirelessly and make Indiana a better place to live and work. We obviously can’t highlight everyone, but we would like to salute these 30 organizations that are making a difference.
30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 21: Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
Although Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) officially began in 1976, its story starts many years before when John Gunther, an American journalist, wrote about Indianapolis in 1947. He called the city “raw, dirty and unkempt…” He also stated that travelers should avoid Indianapolis as they made their way through the Midwest.
Later in the 1960s-70s, a group of women calling themselves the Keep Indiana Beautiful Club began to clean up the streets of Indianapolis. According to KIB, “Many of these ladies were part of Lockerbie’s ultimate renaissance and historic designation, and were praised and featured often by The Indianapolis Star/News!”
When Bill Hudnut became Mayor of Indianapolis in 1976, he had a vision to create a vibrant downtown, city, and county. After reading Gunther’s words, he created KIB, which at the time was called Indianapolis Clean City Committee, or ICCC. It was only staffed by a part-time person in city government.
To spread the news of the ICCC, Bill Hudnut created a public service announcement, called “The Hudnut Hook.” The mayor encouraged Indy residents to put litter in its place and visited schools with the anti-littering message. He also partnered with the Keep Indiana Beautiful Club.
Bill Hudnut later got the Indianapolis Clean City Committee incorporated as a non profit organization in 1981, and soon expanded beyond anti-litter campaigns and reached into environmental education and drop-off recycling. The organization continued to grow and in 1997, the name was changed to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.
Currently, KIB has a mission to create “a vibrant city, with every neighborhood landscape thriving and well, and its people empowered, mobilized, and devoted toward that vision.” The organization supports an average of 500 community improvement projects each year. These projects include programs for tree planting, cleanups and beautification, youth programs, and special initiatives.
The tree planting programs include a plan to plant trees strategically around the city. One of KIB’s goals is to plant 100,000 trees in Marion County. It is currently at 50,000! KIB also offers Youth Tree Team, which is a seven-week summer job for high school kids. Other programs include Tree Tenders as well as research and technology.
Several cleanup and beautification programs are in place to help transform Indianapolis neighborhoods. These programs include Adopt-A-Block and the Great Indy Cleanup.
KIB’s youth programs are designed to inspire the next generation’s environmental responsibility and efforts. Some of these programs include KIB GreenKids, Youth Tree Team, and Urban Naturalists.
In addition to the above programs, KIB also offers other initiatives throughout the year as they partner with local organizations and community members for special events.
KIB relies on volunteers and donations to build a community and support these programs. “In 2013, KIB utilized over 20,000 volunteers in cleaning up litter, building pocket parks, creating greenspaces, planting trees and flowers, and assisting with special projects.”
To learn more about Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and to find out how you can get involved, visit http://www.kibi.org.