IPA News

A Plan for Our Future

Monday, December 30, 2019
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By Claudia Cummings, President and CEO, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance


2019 has been a prolific year. I want to thank you for your contributions to our vibrant network of philanthropy professionals, as well as your vital role as a leader and unifier of societal ideas and opportunities in Indiana and beyond.

This was our strategic planning year, and your participation in the process was critical. We had over 125 participants at our eight regional strategic planning focus groups and more than 200 responses to our online follow-up survey. We also gathered input through numerous conversations with members, potential members, and other leading voices in Indiana philanthropy. Not only has your input been invaluable for me as incoming CEO, it is the foundation of IPA’s new five-year strategic planning efforts.

I am now proud to announce IPA’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, which was created using a data-informed approach, rooted in field and stakeholder research, and drafted through board conversation.

Below is a glimpse into the efforts behind developing this plan, and a snapshot of new strategies we believe will contribute to our overarching goals in 2020. We intend to assess actions and outcomes, reorienting as necessary, while building upon successes throughout each year of the five-year plan. Thank you all for your time thus far. I welcome and appreciate your continued feedback as we continue our journey together.


As part of the strategic planning process, IPA worked with Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA) to conduct regional dialogues, interviews, and a survey of Indiana philanthropic professionals both inside and outside of membership. The feedback collected via these methods included current challenges, topics of interest, potential roles for IPA, and a vision for creating a thriving philanthropic sector in our state. TPMA also conducted independent research on national trends in the field. Findings from this work resulted in a comprehensive research report, which was used as a goal-setting guide by IPA’s board and strategic planning taskforce in multiple sessions. After extensive review, the plan was approved by the full IPA board and adopted on December 6, 2019.

Our Five Goals

IPA’s strategic plan identifies five strategic goals for 2020-2024. The first two goals of the plan outline the impact we intend to have on our members over the next five years.



2020 strategies for these goals include an active publication partnership with the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to provide our members with a direct connection to the latest research and expertise in the field. In addition, many members requested educational programing built to meet individual learning needs based on experience level. Therefore, we will incorporate changes to our educational programming, including offering Grantmaking 101 and 201 more frequently.

IPA’s second two strategic goals concern IPA’s relationship with the Indiana communities our members serve and with the philanthropic sector itself in the state.



You told us you wanted more ways to connect with fellow members who share your job responsibilities and interests. IPA's new Peer Communities will bring together regional members with similar job function or identity, and offer opportunities for networking and idea-sharing. 

In 2020, we will also launch cross-sector issue collaboratives focused on member-selected causes, such as early childhood education. These groups will bring IPA members together with issue experts, public officials, and other philanthropy partners to focus on shared learning, and could potentially lead to any of a wide range of coordinated activities. We will sustain a meaningful media presence, sharing powerful stories of philanthropy in Indiana. We will also monitor, share, and advocate for policies important to our sector in new, effective ways.

The final goal of IPA’s Strategic Plan faces inwards, recognizing that the other four goals in the plan, and indeed the mission of our organization, cannot be fulfilled without IPA itself being a strong and sustainable organization.


For this goal, you asked us to grow the size and diversity of our membership. This work is underway with an intentional approach to attract more philanthropic businesses—like our newest member Toyota.

For in-depth insight into our five strategic goals, including our long-term vision for success, explore our full 2020-2024 Strategic Plan here.

We are grateful for the continued support of our membership, and your contributions to a collaborative and effective philanthropic sector that makes a positive difference in the lives of people and their communities.

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