Inspiring Places

We provide resources and supports to create a community filled with spaces that engage, connect and energize residents and visitors.

Strategic areas of focus: Thriving Neighborhoods, Vibrant Downtown Development, Connectivity for All

As the #1 fastest-growing metro in the Great Lakes region, our community continues to make bold investments for the greatest quality of place. At the Community Foundation, we recognize that to advance momentum, investments need to continue in our thriving Downtown. At the same time, we want to ensure that everyone in our community has a safe and welcoming neighborhood and connectivity to work and play. Below is a sample of what we achieve when we marry the generosity of our donors with the hard work of our community partners. With your help, we can do more.  

What we’re doing:

Ensuring the vitality and resilience of the communities where we live and work is essential for a healthy city. We help to foster thriving neighborhoods by supporting economic development and community programs through the following support:

  • Electric Works: The adaptive re-use of the former GE campus is the state of Indiana’s largest historic redevelopment project. With its mixed-use innovation, education, and business as well as its community and neighborhood engagement, we invested in Electric Works because we believe in the impact this will make on our community for years to come.

  • In partnership with 18 historic south-central neighborhoods and a local creative placemaking nonprofit, we funded programming that will work with neighborhood residents and the City to accelerate the development of these neighborhoods, as they are adjacent to City investments in downtown and the Electric Works project. Coordinated grassroots resources among neighborhoods, City and County staff, and private organizations will help align these communities into a Community Development Action plan.

We know that a city’s downtown area has an important and unique role in economic and social development for a community. Downtowns create a critical mass of activities where commercial, cultural, and civic activities are concentrated. This is why we continue to invest in our community’s downtown development and here’s how we’ve helped:

  • The Landing: This historic neighborhood and commercial district in downtown Fort Wayne was home to our first post office, theatre, and hotel. We invested in The Landing to not only save historic property but because we believe in advancing the momentum of downtown Fort Wayne – starting with the area that made us a city, to begin with.

  • Promenade Park: Three rivers converge in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. People in Northeast Indiana have been gathering there for centuries. In 2016, we knew the importance of re-engaging with our rivers and the connectivity to our growing downtown development. This is why we were one of the first investors in Promenade Park and raised important funds to help build this now, a nationally renowned riverfront park that has spurred further riverfront economic development.

It’s important that we are connecting all people and places for a greater sense of community. As one of 26 Knight Communities, we continue to invest in creative placemaking for not only attachment to place but also economic development. Community engagement and connectivity through events, intentional and artful design and the arts provide a voice for residents and allow them to not only participate in but also help shape their community. Here is how we’ve helped:

  • Funded nationally recognized Gehl architecture and urban design firm to create the Downtown Public Realm Action Plan

  • Funded alleyway activation projects as part of the Public Realm Action Plan including the Porch Off Calhoun, 77 steps overhead Public Art Project, Harmony Court pedestrian path, and the PNC activation area

  • Funded four parklets in front of different downtown restaurants to allow them expanded restaurant service while providing beautiful urban outdoor dining spaces.

  • Supported a variety of downtown-centered festivals to encourage quality of place and economic growth including Open Streets Fort Wayne and the Taste of the Arts Festival.

Our Impact (all dates reflected since 2016):

10 Downtown spaces activated through creative placemaking

813,708 people inspired in public realm activations and installations

21 Historic properties saved and revitalized

$100,000 committed to neighborhood planning and revitalization in 46807 neighborhoods