A letter from Brian Payne

Dear Indy:

I’m excited to write a letter to my City, my home for the past 28 years. Indy, we have a once in a generation chance to create you as a truly equitable city, a city where all of our residents have an equitable opportunity to reach their full potential—no matter place, race or identity.

We have so many innovative, committed and brilliant people of all ages, races and sexual/gender identities working on making our community a place where all belong and where each human can have their super powers nurtured and then contribute them for community good.

Two of the people who are doing amazing work to fulfill this promise are my friends, Mali Simone Jeffers and Alan Bacon, the founders and leaders of Gang Gang. I was honored to be the first person to hear their pitch in the dark days after George Floyd’s murder. They had a vision of lifting up the arts, artists, culture and creatives, starting, Indy, within your geographical boundaries. There is an emphasis on under-resourced Black artists and creative businesses, but Gang Gang is not exclusive. They have innovative for-profit and not-for-profit strategies and visions. They have passion and fire. I told them that day that I believed that this moment was made for them to use the talent, experience, network and trust that they had sharpened and earned through their leadership and creative roles in the past decade.

And what they have achieved in 18 months since that first conversation is incredible. They produced an outstanding fine arts exhibit, Butter, that had you buzzing and sold a ton of work that supported Black artists in a very meaningful way. They also were the creative directors of Swish, the music and arts festival that accompanied the historic March Madness that you hosted all by yourself. And they raised over $2.5 million dollars and have impressed many of your most influential foundation, family and corporate funders and leaders.

Today, five of my CICF colleagues and I got a sneak preview of what GANGGANG has in store for you in 2022. I was sworn to secrecy but it is going to be amazing and make you an even cooler city where more people feel that they truly belong with you. They’re going to improve your image and tell your story better, and if they catch a break, the rest of the country might even understand your true value.

With appreciation and admiration,


Brian Payne
President and CEO
Central Indiana Community Foundation