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Sip Sis.. Selah.. Share & SERVE


Highlighting experiences of women of color in the non-profit and social enterprise sectors.

This is a platform far greater than the offices, cubicles, co-working spaces and homes that have tested our creative call to serve, our call to impact.

Forward 40 is a platform of inspiration for younger women who are considering this field and also serves as an affirming space for our experiences.

It’s intended to be a space where we can authentically celebrate our resilience, re-ignite our purpose, impart our lessons learned and inspire the next generation of women of color coming up in the sector.


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I am Blessed, Beautiful, and Balanced.
— Starla D. Hart


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Starla D. Hart, MPA, has worked to enhance the lives of people in Indianapolis for more than 17 years and serves as 16 Tech Community Corporation’s Director of Community Initiatives. She leads the innovation district’s work with Near West, Northwest and surrounding neighborhoods to ensure that the economic benefits of 16 Tech extend to nearby communities.

In addition to her ongoing work with the surrounding neighborhoods, Hart oversees the 16 Tech Community Investment Fund, a community-focused fund that, under the advisement of a community-led advisory committee, will invest in neighborhood projects that provide maximum impact.

Prior to joining 16 Tech, Hart supported the Great Places 2020 initiatives as a Program Officer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis, focusing her work on transforming strategic places in Marion County into dynamic urban villages.

Hart served as Director of Neighborhood Partnerships at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Office of Community Engagement, serving for 10 years as IUPUI’s liaison to the Near West neighborhood. This body of work led Hart to become the founding director of Source River West, a hub for entrepreneurs in the River West Great Place that offers place-based entrepreneurship and small business supports for residents in urban Indy neighborhoods.

Hart earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and certifications in Non-Profit Management and American Humanics from Indiana University. She completed her master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College in New York City as part of the prestigious National Urban Fellows program.

In addition to her duties as Director of Community Initiatives for 16 Tech, Hart is a mother of two and serves as a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Investment Advisory Council, board member for Matchbook Learning and advisory council member for Indianapolis Contemporary. 


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