IPA Blog

Philanthropy Leads Dinner Honors Karickhoff, Davis, 2023 Mutz Class

Friday, October 13, 2023
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Scott Dorsey, Governor Eric Holcomb, Claudia Cummings

View event photo album

“Good is not good enough." – John M. Mutz

John Mutz’s words echoed in the Indiana Roof Ballroom on Tuesday, October 10. His speech, rallying the philanthropic, business, and government sectors to raise the state to new levels, energized the audience, who responded with vigorous nodding and shouts of affirmation. 

Mutz, philanthropist and former Indiana Lt. Governor, issued the clarion call that set the tone for the 2023 Philanthropy Leads Dinner, a celebration of all things philanthropy held annually by Indiana Philanthropy Alliance. 

The 2023 class of the Mutz Philanthropic Leadership Institute was honored in a graduating ceremony. Mutz said they are among the next generation of leaders who can help elevate Indiana. 

“We want to imbue the individuals who graduate from our program with a lot of knowledge and wisdom,” he said. “But more importantly, what we want to do is build a fire under philanthropy, and under government, and under business in this state so we can be better than we are.”

The 23 graduating members were: 

  • Emerald Blankenship, VP of Programs, Community Foundation of Howard County 
  • Falicia Brewer, President & Philanthropic Advisor, Brewer & Associates 
  • Crista Carlino, Director of Development & Communications, RecycleForce 
  • Mandy Drakeford, Program Officer, AWS Foundation 
  • Elise Erikson Barrett, Student of Philanthropy 
  • Kara Fulmer, Director of Planning Giving & Grants, The Honeywell Foundation 
  • Crystal Gunther, VP of Community Philanthropy, Community Foundation of Southern Indiana 
  • Allissa Impink, Director of Family Philanthropy—Glick Philanthropies, Central Indiana Community Foundation 
  • Brian Johnson, Director of Development, Fulton County Community Foundation 
  • Julia Kaercher, Executive Director, Merchants Foundation
  • Stephanie Marten, Community Development Liaison, Johnson County Community Foundation
  • Allen McClendon, Community Affairs Director, OneAmerica Foundation 
  • Tina Patton, VP/Director of Non-Profit & Foundation Engagement, Indiana Trust Wealth Management 
  • Alexandra Pflug, Director of Foundation Relations, Purdue for Life Foundation 
  • Sarah Stone, Communications Director, The Putnam County Community Foundation 
  • Bridget Sutton, Director of Development, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum 
  • Travis Tester, Chief Development & Communications Officer, Foster Success 
  • Mary Tyndall, Communications & Food Programs Director, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation 
  • Faith Van Gilder, Chief Development Officer, Girls Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana 
  • Shannon Walker, VP of Marketing & Operations, Unity Foundation of La Porte County 
  • Bethany Watson, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations, Gleaners Food Bank 
  • Keylee Wright, Executive Director, Kendrick Foundation 
  • Leeann Wright, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Pulaski County 

IPA Board Chair Maggi Spartz took the stage to reveal the winner of IPA’s 2023 Public Policy Champion of Philanthropy Award: Rep. Mike Karickhoff (R—House District 30).

Karickhoff authored and championed House Enrolled Act 1212 to passage this year, ensuring the privacy of nonprofit donors from government-forced disclosure. 

“He worked with IPA and our partners to draft the legislation and accommodate the amendments needed to overcome the near death of the bill,” said Spartz. “He is a staunch supporter of protecting the rights of donors.” 

After dinner, IPA CEO Claudia Cummings moderated a fireside chat on philanthropy and entrepreneurism with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Scott Dorsey, managing partner of the Indianapolis-based venture capital firm High Alpha

Dorsey talked about his own entrepreneurial journey. He began in a $200-a-month office in Greenfield, though he quickly expanded the staff. When one of his investors jokingly asked him whether he wanted to create profits or create jobs, Dorsey replied, “Let’s create the jobs—the profits will come.” And they did. That venture, ExactTarget, sold to Salesforce in 2013 for $2.5 billion. 

Holcomb championed Indiana for its friendly environment to entrepreneurs and small business, citing Forbes’ declaration of Indiana as the No. 1 state to start a business. “People sometimes ask me why I’m smiling,” Holcomb said. “It’s because I know what’s coming.” 

Asked what an entrepreneur needs to succeed, Dorsey said it was a combination of talent, capital, big ideas, a support system, and, most of all, mindset. “That’s why our motto at High Alpha is ‘Dream big, move fast, expect more,’” he said.

Dorsey mentioned place as a significant factor for entrepreneurs. High Alpha was the first building in Indianapolis' Bottleworks District. "It's been an amazing home for us and an amazing place to create entrepreneurial density."

Entrepreneurial ventures also have a 'multiplier effect' on the regions they call home, Dorsey added, serving as a catalyst for other community development. "You create more high-tech and high-paying jobs, and all of a sudden, more restaurants get opened and there's more investment in the arts, and our city becomes greener and more beautiful," he said. "We create growth, and it gets poured back into the community in a totally different way."

Holcomb encouraged would-be entrepreneurs to utilize the Indiana Economic Development Corporation as a “one-stop shop” for guidance and assistance. He also urged them to maintain contact with governments and other sectors of the community.   

In a night full of accolades, Holcomb capped off the night with a masterful surprise: he awarded Holly Davis, IPA’s outgoing vice president of external relations, with the Sagamore of the Wabash, which celebrates those who have impacted their communities and the state at-large. 

“In front of your friends and coworkers and family, I wanted to make sure to underscore the profound positive impact you’ve had on the State of Indiana through your leadership and through the cultivation of other leaders,” Holcomb said. 

Interested in joining the ranks of proud Mutz Institute alumni? Apply for the 2024 class by Thursday, October 26. 

Go here to see the event photo album.

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