Editor’s Note: A version of this article ran in January 2023. It has been reviewed for 2024.
What better way to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day than by supporting local organizations continuing the work of making the world a more just, equitable place for all? From youth development to theatre, poetry to gardening, you are certain to find one that speaks to your passions. Don’t worry; we’ve made it easy to donate —just click the links below and spread the love. (This list is by no means exhaustive and is in no particular order.)
The Kheprw Institute
The Kheprw Institute is committed to community wealth building and community empowerment through self-mastery. Ever expanding their reach, they are currently building out Octavia’s Visionary Campus, a 17-acre plot of land that will house an orchard, greenhouse, community housing, and more. Donate HERE.
VOCAB Indy hosts monthly open-mic events with a mission to “create spaces of full inclusion for those left out of the conversation.” Be sure to get on their mailing list to be in the know about upcoming events.
Unlearn Arts is a literary arts organization dedicated to “the creative and professional development of writers in the black diaspora.” They seek to help writers of all kinds develop their craft and navigate the publishing space.
The Martin Luther King Memorial Center
The Martin Luther King Memorial Center focuses on critical community work related to teens, including non-violent training based on Dr. King’s philosophies, plus apprenticeships, neighborhood clean-ups, West 40 Digital (an on-site film studio) plus an after-school literacy lab. Donate HERE.
Kennedy King Memorial Initiative
Kennedy King Memorial Initiative was founded in 2015 with “plans to transform the Martin Luther King Park campus into a center where people, institutions, and community partners can come together in bold dialogue and purposeful action.” The park is the same location as Robert Kennedy’s historic speech, given on the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Donate HERE.
Ujamaa Community Bookstore
Ujamaa Community Bookstore isn’t just a bookstore. It’s a gathering space and a resource hub; “an access point for literature of the African Diaspora and everyday retail space for Black artists, makers, designers, writers, and other creatives,” according to their Instagram page. Be sure to check out the calendar of events on their Facebook page. Buy books; buy local!
Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis
Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis was —for 30 years—known as Asante Children’s Theatre. But recently it expanded to encapsulate not only the children’s theater but also the Asante Arteprenuer Incubator. There the focus is on “transformation and citizenship development […] dedicated to the holistic growth of youth and families through artistic experiences.” Donate HERE.
Freetown Village is a “living history museum with a mission to educate the public about African American history.” Freetown Village has provided programs throughout Indiana since 1982, with the geographical focus being that of the Fourth Ward, “the oldest African American settlement in Indianapolis, and the oldest land development of the City of Indianapolis.” Their work has reached over 1,000,000 children. Donate HERE.
Felege Hiywot Center
Felege Hiywot Center provides youth programming through farming. They teach “how seeds grow into plants, how to care for the garden, how to be environmentally responsible, and how to prepare, eat and share the produce.” All the while, community building a natural outcome of these lessons. Donate HERE.
Lawrence Community Gardens
Lawrence Community Gardens grew out of a conversation in 2016 with Monarch Beverage to grow food on their unused land. Today, a 76. acre farm at 46th Street & Post Road provides the Lawrence community “affordable access to organic produce and donations to pantries for those who are food insecure.” Teamwork and teaching are vital aspects of LCG.
Maura Malloy is an Indy Maven contributor.
All of our content—including this article—is completely free. However, we’d love if you would please consider supporting our journalism with an Indy Maven membership.