Get details on an 'old school' telethon to support Southeast Fort Wayne

As Input Fort Wayne runs our On the Ground Southeast series, we wanted to share a press release from an organization investing in the neighborhood, the Human Agriculture Cooperative.

The movement to invest in and improve Fort Wayne’s Southeast side continues to grow. The latest endeavor is by the Human Agricultural Cooperative and the Family and Friends Fund in collaboration with Hyper Local Impact: an old school telethon planned for August 14 and 15. 

Their goal is to raise $100,000 from the event with the money being used to help fund projects including youth farming and food distribution programs, needed capital investments in local neighborhood businesses, as well as funding for organizations and programs that benefit the Southeast side of Fort Wayne.

“We have invited motivational speakers, businesses men and women, city leaders, and a variety of artists from the Southeast side of Fort Wayne and beyond. All of them want to make a difference and create long-lasting programs that will sustain growth and opportunity for our community,” says Ty Simmons, one of the organizers for the event. “With all that is happening in the world, we felt that it was important that people heard from those of us at the grassroots level working to improve the area. With the telethon approach, we are able to speak directly to the community while highlighting many of the great things that are already starting to take root. Together We Are Better and Stronger is a slogan that Human Agricultural Cooperative has been using for a year. Not only have we been just saying it, we have been living it.”

Simmons will be the head of the new Utopian Community Grocery.

In the past 2 months alone the Human Agricultural Cooperative, with the help of several community partners has distributed nearly one million pounds of food during this pandemic to cities throughout Indiana. The group has plans to increase their impact in Fort Wayne, but they face an August 1st deadline for a USDA grant. To expand further in Fort Wayne, the organizers say they need a refrigerated truck, a walk-in cooler, a generator, a warehouse, or place to receive the food and pack the boxes as well as cover various operating expenses. Funds raised from the August 14 and 15 telethon will be used directly for this program.

Inspired by the work of Ty and other grassroots leaders in Southeast Fort Wayne, Kristin Giant (CEO of Hyper Local Impact) approached Ty to collaborate on an innovative fund hosted at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.

"This fund, the Family & Friends Fund for SE Fort Wayne, aims to raise $1,000,000 to invest in leaders of color and to provide a blueprint for redistributing resources to innovative and hardworking individuals who have not benefited from generational wealth due to historically racist policies and laws including discriminatory lending practices and redlining," Giant says. 

Kristin Giant is the entrepreneur and impact investing expert behind Hyper Local Impact.

The list of people scheduled to appear during the telethon event continues to grow. Local dignitaries and leaders committed to the event include Chuck Surack Founder and CEO of Sweetwater, Matthew Purkey CEO of the United Way of Allen County, Kristin Giant CEO of Hyper Local Impact, Ty Simmons Executive Director of Human Agricultural Cooperative and FFF Managing Partner, Chief Condra Ridley VP of Human Agricultural Cooperative, Donovan Coley CEO of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, Janell and Aaron Lane Co-Owners Courageous Healing Inc., City Councilwomen Sharon Tucker and Michelle Chambers, former NFL player Jovan Barnes and more to be announced coming soon.

The livestream can be found at the fund's YouTube channel or their Facebook page. 

Donate now at or to learn more information about the telethon, contact Ty Simmons at email [email protected]
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