Opportunity Zone Coordinator

Opportunindy connector

Ms. Tate serves as the OpportunINDY Opportunity Zone Coordinator and will oversee the successful implementation of the project.  Working with a number of community organizations and two Opportunity Zone Connectors, Val will help ensure that intensifies services to disconnected youth at Beechwood and Hawthorne provide better educational and employment opportunities for them and their families.



In fall 2015, the City of Indianapolis learned it was one of nine cities in the U. S. selected as a 3-year pilot site for Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3).

The funding itself is a partnership of six federal agencies (US Dept. of Education, Labor, Justice, and Health and Human Services, along with the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.)

Indy’s winning idea was Opportunity Zone. The pilot is modeled after promising practices at Harlem Children’s Zone, the Northside Achievement Zone and others.

Here are some useful details about the approved 2015-2018 project:

  • Staff and partners will work directly with 80 young Black men ages 14-24 who are truant, at risk of not completing high school, underemployed and/or involved in the justice system (up to 240 by 2018 if things go well.)
  • These young men live in one of two 46218 public housing communities (Hawthorne Place and Beechwood Gardens.) This zip code was chosen based on data.
  • Young men will receive concentrated, comprehensive coordination of individualized success plans, as will their families. One of two natural “connectors” will build personal relationships with each young man, coach and connect them.
  • All existing partners working with these young men will share their data through one case management system, which will lead to lessons and improvements between partners. The pilot is being evaluated by Wilder Research.
  • While the project expects about 40 partners, core partners include: Indianapolis Housing Agency, EmployIndy, Forest Manor Multi-Service Center, HealthNet, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, IPS (or schools attended), and the City of Indianapolis Dept. of Public Safety
  • Staff and infrastructure is being built in fall 2015; expect roll-out to begin in early 2016.


Opportunity Zone staff will come alongside the families to develop education and employment goals with program participants as a part of implementing individualized life plans. The Connector’s role are critical to the process and will determine to what extent residents will embrace our efforts. The Connectors serve as advocates, barrier breakers, and liaisons to community resources on behalf of the participants. We searched high and low to find the right people with the right skill sets to fill these key positions, and we are so fortunate to have accomplished that with the hiring of Erika Taylor and Jordan Bartlett. Both Connectors round out the Opportunity Zone team and will serve under the excellent leadership of Val Tate, program director. They OZ team will work with a number of community partners to ensure that participants have every opportunity to reach their goals and live meaningful and productive lives.

Opportunity Zone Connector: 

ErikaPhoto1Erika Taylor, a recent graduate of Indiana University School of Social Work.  Erika’s passion is to utilize her gifts, skills and talents to help others become self-sufficient and reach their potential in life. Erika has great communication skills and an empathetic attitude towards others. (More)






Opportunity Zone Connector:

jbartlett-4Meet Mr. Jordan Bartlett.  Born and raised in Indianapolis, he is a graduate of Arlington High School.  Jordan is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministries at Liberty University.  Over the years Jordan has served as a mentor, basketball coach, youth leader, and volunteer.  He most recently worked for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office/Child Support Division as an Intake Paralegal. (More)






They OZ team will work with a number of community partners to ensure that participants have every opportunity to reach their goals and live meaningful and productive lives.  There’s room for efforts all over the county. You don’t need permission. We invite you to step in with your own resources in your own arena!