FirstPeeps, Culture

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful: A Platform for Corporate Philanthropy [Video]

Mark Minner
June 2, 2016


At FirstPerson, community is an integral part of our culture. The PEEP Project is proud to partner with local nonprofits, our most recent being with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB).  We’re grateful to get to work with their team to make Indianapolis a more beautiful place to live, work, and play. I sat down recently with Dave Forsell, CEO of KIB, to chat about their mission and how they provide businesses a great platform for corporate philanthropy. Check out the video or read the transcript below.



Mark Minner: Well we continue on with our FirstPerson video blog series, Mark Minner. I have the pleasure to be joined by Dave Forsell, CEO of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, our not-for-profit spotlight this month. Dave, thanks for taking time to join us, and for folks who are not familiar with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, what's your organization all about?

Dave Forsell: Yeah, well, our mission is working with diverse communities to create vibrant places throughout the city. The goal is to help people thrive and to help nature thrive right here in Indianapolis. It's a wonderful mission. We do a lot of really great work.

Mark: And you've been around for forty years, so how has that mission evolved over time?

Dave: Well, we started actually as an anti-litter organization. Bill Hudnut, legendary mayor, wasn't real happy with how Indianapolis was looking and how it was trending, and so amongst a lot of strategies back in the mid-seventies, he created what was called the Clean City Committee. And that was essentially the precursor organization to KIB, probably the primary interest back then was picking up litter. We still do that, but we also are very interested in sort of aspiring beyond the reactive to creating great places for people and for the environment.

Mark: And FirstPerson had the opportunity to participate in one of the green spaces—those projects. Tell folks about what those projects are, what a timeline's like, and how they get involved with that.

Dave: Yeah, absolutely! So, neighborhoods apply to us with their dreams for better places in their communities. What we do is we really act as a broker between those neighborhoods who have a vision with companies and philanthropic organizations who want to serve and make this city a better place. So we bring the two together and within about 15 months we go from concept to completion. And volunteers from other companies help us all the way through.

Mark: And so how many companies are we talking about that are engaged this type of program?

Dave: We have up to 80 companies or so that are involved in our work days. And companies come to us for a lot of reasons. Sometimes morale may be an issue with a company, right? And a service day, doing good for the community helps an awful lot. Sometimes it's about brand, you know a company might be doing really well but they're not pleased with how many people know about how well they're doing. So they want to connect with us and create a sort of a sense of brand for their company. Otherwise, sometimes companies just want to do good. You know?

Mark: Corporate responsibility.

Dave: Right. And that's exceptionally important and gratifying, too. So they come for a lot of reasons, but most oft they stick and come back to us year after year, because we give them great experiences.

Mark: So how do they get involved? Where do they go? How do they find out?

Dave: I think the best place to start is our website; it's But, we also have a volunteer coordinator and a staff that eventually we can get them directed to understand where their needs are and where they're hoping to achieve with their corporate philanthropy and their day. And then we sit down to make it work for them.

Mark: Dave Forsell, CEO of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Thanks for the time, Dave, I appreciate it.

Dave: Yeah, thank you!

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