Fletcher Place Community Center Serves Neighborhood with Help from Business Ownership Initiative

Indy Chamber News Archives

Melissa Drew has always felt a duty to serve others. Finding her passion within the Fletcher Place Community Center (FPCC), Drew is fulfilling her calling to serve others as their Executive Director.  FPCC partners with Southeast Community Services and together they serve, strengthen, and support neighbors in southeast Indianapolis through promoting individual financial stability. They help with educational assistance, career guidance, personal financial education, and planning.

Drew’s passion led her to redevelop FPCC’s preschool business model that was long-standing but outdated. The preschool was a part-time program that children could attend for half a day. When Melissa first focused her attention on the preschool, it was operating entirely off of donations; fee for service wasn’t part of the model.

With the intention of providing better, more effective services to the community, Melissa decided to expand the preschool from part-time to full-time. However, the donation model funding couldn’t sustain that effort, especially if they continued to offer their other services including a commercial kitchen, clothing, and immediate need assistance. Additionally, Drew was seeking to triple the preschool enrollment.

United Way of Central Indiana, in conjunction with the Lilly Endowment and the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), offered funding and technical support to FPCC because of the early education need they saw in the community. One layer of support includes business coaching services through Business Ownership Initiative (BOI), a business unit of the Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneur Services Department.

Because of the wide range of services FPCC offers, Drew’s BOI business coach, Sarah MacInnis, suggested they start by reviewing the preschool’s mission, vision, and goals as a new, full-time, early education organization. After redefining the goals and mission, FPCC crafted a plan to revise its promotional and marketing efforts (including Spanish informational materials) to better align with its diverse neighborhood and to attract a wider audience. Then, they worked to fine tune the educational model toward affordable, accessible, and high quality care- a primary goal of the United Way of Central Indiana’s Child Care Quality Improvement Project and its Great Families 2020 initiative. This included a long-term financial analysis of staffing, operating costs, and potential tuition rates in order to create a sustainable business model.

While improvements are implemented, FPCC continues to work with BOI, United Way and other community organizations like Southeast Community Services to improve the services available for Fletcher Place.

This project is currently ongoing. Stay tuned to see how Fletcher Place Community Center will flourish!

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