Indianapolis has really started to develop and gain some traction recently, hasn’t it? It’s started to develop some real character of its own. Dare I even say, getting a little “cool” too? Well, that progress is a long and even arduous task taken on by people in various industries throughout the city. Growing up here, I have watched how the suburban sprawl of the 80’s and 90’s has shifted back toward an interest in our Downtown. I’m very excited to see where and how the city will change over the next 25, 50 and even 100 years. I certainly won’t be here to witness all of this, but I am interested in helping in any small way I can to facilitate that change and help a community flourish to become a world class city.

When I first heard about the Ben Franklin Funds project that Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) is creating to celebrate The Indianapolis Foundation’s 100th anniversary, I told my good friend Mali that I would support it without hesitation. Why would I want to give $100 to fund something that I won’t even get to see? Simple: foresight. While I support the idea of “living in the moment,” I also feel believe a fundamental part of life is “planning.” I think that foresight allows people to create better opportunities, artwork, schools, businesses and overall systems that we all use daily. Financially, it’s also a sensible method of establishing wealth. Allowing money to build on its own compound interest is both a simple and smart way to reinvest in ourselves.

Ultimately, I want to see the people of Indianapolis live in a thriving community where they have many options to engage in all that we as a city have to offer. If donating $100 (alongside the other 999 others) will provide $100,000,000 and $5,000,000 per year in grants from 2116 onward, it seems to be both a logical and exciting way to help the city continue to grow. But even more than all of this, I feel like it’s my duty.

these Central Indiana visionaries were among the first to contribute to CICF's Ben Franklin Funds.

These Indy visionaries were among the first to contribute to CICF’s Ben Franklin Funds.

In 2007 I helped form a community chapter of the national 501c3 non-profit, Hip Hop Congress. We operated out of the Martin Luther King Jr. Multi-Service Center. At that time, we were awarded a grant from the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) for $5,000 to help fund teaching “Elements” hip hop classes including DJing, MCing & poetry and breakdancing. The kids and families in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood really seemed to enjoy it over the 2.5 years that we had those free classes running. But for me personally, that was the gateway into what we do now at Deckademics DJ School, a business that Doug Morris and I opened in 2014. Had we not been awarded that grant money then, I likely wouldn’t have started teaching young people the art of DJing.

So, in a weird way, just as I feel connected to helping pass on this art form that I love and respect, I also feel connected to the future generations of Indy via the simple “Pay It Forward” mantra and I’m happy to play my part.

Blog post written by Guest Blogger DJ MetroGnome aka Nick Saligoe. Nick spins records, owns Deckademics DJ School and drinks black coffee.