by Ted Grossnickle
In our “hometown” city of Indianapolis, JGA recently witnessed a wonderful example of the power of personal philanthropy and public education and support. The Wishard Hospital referendum on the November 3rd election ballot in this city received overwhelming support after a very thorough campaign of education and exchange of views. It makes possible the construction of a much needed new facility and carries a total price tag estimated at approximately $754,000,000.
During the past few months leading up to the referendum, the hospital received the largest private gifts in its history and reminded us of the wonderful ability this City has demonstrated over the years to combine private and public support to accomplish big goals.
Some big questions were implicitly posed by this referendum. Would citizens and taxpayers see this as a necessary investment during what everyone knows (and is feeling) as a very tough economy? Would it be perceived as something important to do “but not right now?” Would the leadership team associated with it generate trust and respect? In short, would people be willing to look beyond the immediate tough times and decide to move forward on a very big project?
To be clear, the initiative on the ballot was clearly articulated and well supported by many leaders and citizens. It also did not require any sort of tax increase or additional funds out of a taxpayer’s pocket… but it certainly did require a voter to assess whether or not this warranted a “yes” or a “no” and was, from my perspective, an important test in the region’s capacity for thinking positively about the future.
When events of this magnitude happen, it reminds me of two of the most important assets any community must have - hope for the future and a sense that we can be better.
Indianapolis answered the questions on November 3rd - with hope and a desire to be better.