Last year, like so many organizations, families, and individuals, AYS was put to the test over and over again. Each time, we passed with flying colors. Now, we’re ready to take what we learned in 2020 and apply it to the future.
The pandemic didn’t create the issues that plagued our community in 2020, it highlighted them. Economic and racial disparities have always been there. Our goal in 2021 is to fight these issues by doing what we do best—helping families thrive. With new partnerships to build our Ellen Clippinger Fund, we’re more poised than ever to be of service to those who need it most. Click here to be one of those partners and make a difference in Hoosiers’ lives. Thanks to an extension to the COVID-19 relief bill, the same tax incentives for charitable giving from 2020 still apply.
In 2021, AYS is committed to making sure central Indiana kids don’t fall through the cracks. With new outreach and opportunities, we’re addressing the root causes of the issues COVID-19 brought to light. Social-emotional learning is going to be paramount as we transition kids from a tumultuous pandemic year to what we hope will be a new, and better, normal. Academic support will keep students on-track for their grade levels or give a boost to those who fell behind during virtual learning.
The families AYS serves are of diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and we recognize the importance of their representation in our programming. Kids need to see people who look like them in positions of authority. While we’ve always had a diverse staff, in 2021, we’re doing everything we can to make sure that we remain an attractive workplace for people of color, English-as-a-foreign-language speakers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Thanks to supporters like you and ongoing partnerships with organizations like the Lilly Endowment, Inc., The Mind Trust, and United Way of Central Indiana, we’re reaching kids who might not otherwise be able to attend our programs. We’re so grateful for our entire AYS family, and we’re sending a huge thank-you to all of our end-of-year donors and partners.

End-of-Year Donors

Advancement Center
Amanda Borshoff
Amanda Lenz
Andrew Hedegard
Becky Pfaffenberger
Beth Eiler
Chad McCullough
Diane Pfeiffer
Elizabeth Fernandez
Faren Jones
Garrett Hall
Jeffrey Patchen
Jenny Burch
Jim McClelland
John Resley
JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Kim Donahue
Laura Tagliani
LHD Benefit Advisors
Lisa Blankman
Mary Cross

Matthew M. Green
Michelle Zipparo
Mike Lecklider
National Philanthropic Trust
Peg Sharples
Peg Zimmerman
Peggy Fisherkeller
Rebecca W. Dolan Ph.D.
Robyn Baker
Rose Stark
Sablosky Family Foundation
Sally Zweig
Sandy Dale
Sarah Million / Hylant
Scott Gilchrist
Susan Hall
Susan Humphrey
Tanya Hoover
The Mind Trust
United Way of Central Indiana

Featured Donor: Susan Humphrey

In November and December 2020, Susan Humphrey needed a safe, enriching environment where her foster son could go during the school day. Luckily, AYS was there for her. Susan generously donated a day’s worth of his tuition to AYS, explaining that she wanted to give back because she was “so grateful” to have AYS when she needed us. We’re here to support families of all kinds whenever they need it, from foster families to grandparents and single moms, and we’re humbled that Susan appreciated us enough to donate to our cause.

Warm Regards,

Chrystal Struben
President and CEO

For working parents, discovering At Your School (AYS) can feel like a miracle. Jennifer Dzwonar, former AYS parent, literally describes us as a “godsend.” AYS is a place where kids like her boys can play with friends, finish schoolwork, and get all of their bottled-up energy out before heading home for the day. Well, almost all of it.

While her kids were young, Jennifer worked four days a week for many years. But after enrolling her boys in an AYS after-school program, she was able to transition to five days a week, eventually fulfilling her goal of becoming a partner/owner at her firm. She could leave work when she felt she was ready, rather than rush out during mid-afternoon when her kids finished school. Although her boys are now 21 and 24 years old, Jennifer still feels grateful for the necessary support she received from AYS as a working mom years ago.

For 40 years, AYS has helped thousands of parents like Jennifer free up their schedules to focus on their own personal and professional goals. And now that we’ve entered the new year of 2021, ambitious goal-setting has been on all of our minds – get that promotion, go to the gym regularly, meditate more. No matter what resolution you’ve made this year, you probably need more “you” time in order to achieve it.

AYS supports you in accomplishing whatever goals you’ve set by taking away the added stressors of helping your kids finish their homework and providing them with the social-emotional support they need after a long day at school so you can focus on “you”. We provide parents with the freedom to concentrate on work, school, and other important obligations, while at the same time providing their kids with a safe space to learn and grow. It’s a win-win for working Hoosier families.

As Jennifer puts it, “AYS is a gem that fills a gap between what schools can provide and what you can provide as a working parent.” Parents are everyday superheroes that often need a break, and kids often need academic and social-emotional support out-of-school time. Filling that gap has always been our goal, and for 40 years, AYS has strived to enrich the lives of students while also allowing parents to focus on improving themselves.

There is no better time to start chasing after your dreams than right now, and enrolling your children in AYS can be the first step in achieving them. Learn more about our before- and after-school programs and enroll your kids today!

The year 2020 just won’t quit. Once again, schools are shutting down in Marion County and switching to e-learning, leaving parents scrambling. AYS believes that parents should never have to choose between their job and their family, so we’re opening four Liftoff e-learning sites that will serve as many as 400 families in Marion County. Even when every other window is dark, AYS keeps the lights on, maintaining its dedication to taking families further. Our commitment to Hoosiers is too strong to give up now.

We know families are struggling financially and emotionally. They’ve weathered this storm once, but they might not be ready to weather it again. For kids, grades are slipping as they deal with the stress of e-learning. Some parents are recovering from being out of work last spring. With only 5-10% of kids living in a home with a stay-at-home mom or dad, many need a safe and enriching place to go that supports their learning so their parents can focus on providing for the family, and AYS provides that. We successfully navigated this e-learning environment this past spring, so we’ve already proven we’re up to the task.

The truth is, e-learning support isn’t cheap. Offering full day, five-day-a-week care that includes academic enrichment, social-emotional learning, and COVID-19 safety precautions is costly for us, but we don’t want it to be costly for our families. Thanks to the generous support of the United Way of Central Indiana and The Mind Trust, AYS will be providing 95 Liftoff spots at no cost to parents, but we need your help, too. Your gift to the Ellen Clippinger Fund will allow us to offer more discounts to more families. Your support will go directly to providing a family with much-needed e-learning support. It might just keep a mom from quitting her career to stay home with her kids, or keep a child from failing a grade because of the challenges of virtual learning. Thanks to the CARES Act, you can now deduct more of your charitable gifts. Ask your tax advisor for guidance.

Our 2019-2020 fiscal year was unlike any other, and although it certainly threw us more curveballs than we have ever seen before, one thing remained constant throughout the year – AYS continued adapting and improving its services to provide safe and trusted support for Hoosier families when they needed it the most. For a recap of our year of adaptation and innovation, check out our FY20 Impact Report.

We appreciate all of the support we’ve received so far, and we’re grateful to have you in our AYS family. As we all know, it takes a village. Thanks for a being part of our village.

Warm Regards,

Chrystal Struben
President and CEO

Throughout history, the world has stood still only a handful of times and has completely shut down on even fewer occasions. The COVID-19 health crisis, however, has exposed our world to an entirely new form of operation, one that requires a sense of intuition, tenacity, and adaptivity unlike many of us have ever had to exist within before. The pandemic has also happened at a time of unrest in a variety of public spheres, whether that be socially, politically, or economically, imploring the world to both fight a virus with no known cure and, simultaneously, reinvent itself amidst the intricate turmoil of society at large.

The need for healthcare workers and first responders has drastically increased as the spread of COVID-19 continues. As a trusted organization of the Indianapolis community-at-large for forty years, AYS (At Your School) has recognized that the call for essential employees creates difficulties for families who were sent to work on the front line of the pandemic, saving lives at the risk of their own. We have realized that AYS must provide some sort of relief and sense of security for parents, as it is our duty to aid the children and the families of our communities, no matter the circumstances. 

In developing our role amongst other essential businesses working to provide relief amongst the efforts to combat COVID-19, the growing concern of affordable, reliable, and safe childcare for families navigating the role of essential work was exactly the area in which we could help our communities. As a result, AYS, the United Way, and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) teamed up in March to offer childcare services exclusively for essential medical and emergency professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak.

AYS sought to ease the stress of essential workers as they scrambled to ensure their children were taken care of while, simultaneously, trying to fight the rather monstrous global health crisis at hand. The AYS team has been dedicated to serving the children of central Indiana since 1980, and that goal has only been further solidified as we work to truly hear our surrounding communities. We have constructed multiple different pop-up sites across Indianapolis in order to provide safe, caring, and fun programs for children while their parents work diligently to minimize the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. AYS ensures the wellness of children and provides the academic support they need while school is closed. 

AYS commits itself to elevating the lives of our children and easing the worry of working parents across central Indiana. The unity and solidarity brought forth by COVID-19 has made stories of hope and strength vital parts in the reconstruction of a new “normal.” We not only aim to play our part as an organization dedicated to enriching the well-being of children, but as a group of people who are determined to better the world around them, no matter how difficult that may be. 

Despite how unprecedented the present has become, the world has banded together to ensure we not only make it through this chapter but that we also leave behind a place that is better for those who come next. AYS is honored to serve as a philanthropic effort in the fight against COVID-19 and will continue to put the needs of our communities first, not only for our families and for our children, but for our future.  

Funding will benefit nonprofit’s financial future, help Central Indiana kids ‘go further in school and life’

January 9, 2019

AYS, Inc. has received a grant of $7.5 million under Lilly Endowment Inc.’s latest round of financial sustainability grants to central Indiana human services agencies.

than $6.7 million from this award will be placed in an endowment fund to
provide AYS with the necessary resources to support strategic initiatives that
will enable the organization to continue its mission. The remainder will be
used to fund critical strategic projects primarily to be completed by the end
of 2020.

nonprofit, AYS is a leading provider of out-of-school time programs, including
before- and after-school and summer programs, for children in central Indiana.
This year, more than 3,000 children will benefit from fun, safe and engaging
activities provided by AYS at its 42 sites, all within school buildings. At
AYS, children have time to work on their homework with assistance from staff,
enjoy a healthy snack and participate in a variety of staff-led activities and
free play opportunities.

“This funding will allow AYS
to move forward on critical initiatives to ensure our sustainability in the
long run as the operational budget continues to focus on giving kids a fun,
safe and enriching environment outside of the school day,” AYS President/CEO
Chrystal Struben said.

AYS will be able to draw
interest from the endowment fund annually, which will ensure the organization
is able to move forward and adapt to an ever-changing world while focusing
revenue from fees for service and fundraising on operational needs to run its
programs. In the short term, the grant will allow AYS to invest in needed
technology upgrades, employee recruitment and retention efforts and site-level
quality improvement to ensure consistency and equitability across all AYS

AYS grant is one of 10 grants from Lilly Endowment totaling $48 million that
are designed to help agencies that serve vulnerable individuals and families
enhance their long-term impact by building stronger financial futures.

This financial sustainability grant and the grants to
the nine other agencies complement Lilly Endowment’s regular support of human
services organizations through direct grants and grants to the United Way of
Central Indiana. The organizations, which provide critical services to
vulnerable individuals and families, are undercapitalized for the scope and
volume of services they are called upon to provide. Although many of them
receive substantial public sector support, they all rely on private dollars to
make ends meet in providing vital services.

“The grants are
designed to help these valuable organizations build long-term financial
strength and resiliency,” said Rob Smith, the Endowment’s vice president for
community development. “The grants are not intended to fund ongoing operating
support that is essential for these organizations to meet the day-to-day needs
of the children, families and individuals they serve. In fact, we hope our
grants help these agencies more effectively attract additional support for
their critically important work.”

“Afterschool and summer programs can play such an
important role in a child’s future success. In fact, research1 has
shown that programs like ours can add 1,080 hours of academic enrichment to a
child’s year – the equivalent of 144 school days,” Struben said. “We are
grateful to Lilly Endowment for this opportunity to ensure children in our
community continue to have access to the highest-quality out-of-school time
programs possible, helping them go further in school and in life.”

This is the fourth group of grants the Endowment has
made since 2015 that support the long-term sustainability plans of charitable
organizations based in central Indiana. Through this effort the Endowment has
made grants totaling $328 million to 49 organizations.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private family
foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly
Sr., and his sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their
pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While these gifts remain the
financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the
company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with
the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community
development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its
hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

1. Source:  The
Indiana Afterschool Network’s (IAN) The Power of Afterschool in Indiana, citing
the Hechinger Report (2013).