On August 31, 1972, a group of concerned residents of the Forest Manor area held their first of many meetings to establish an organized system focused on addressing the human and social needs of the Forest Manor community. The outcome of those meetings resulted in the birth of Forest Manor Multi-Service Center, Inc. (FMMSC) in March 1973.
Our Center, originally sponsored and operated by the City of Indianapolis and funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was established as part of a service network designed to assist areas within the Community Development Block Grant boundaries designated by HUD.
Forest Manor’s first home was the Forest Manor United Methodist Church, located at 34th and Forest Manor Avenue. Later, the Center moved to 3716 Sherman Drive and then to 2951 East 38th Street. Our organization is now located in the heart of our catchment area at 5603 E. 38th Street.
During our formative years, FMMSC operated as an area Community Action Against Poverty Agency (CAAP). In August 1977, the Center gained its status as a not-for-profit organization, but it was in 1978 that the core services of the agency took on a new dimension. The City of Indianapolis’ Division of Community Services and Division of Employment and Training designed and entered into a unified contract, which allowed the social service staff to expand counseling to include employment and training assessment and referral services. Later, contractual arrangements were made with the Division of Community Services and the State of Indiana’s Department of Public Welfare for the reimbursement of Title XX funds based on the units of service.
With service boundaries consisting of 56th Street – North, 30th Street – South, Fall Creek Parkway – West, and I-465 – East, the Center began providing outreach programs for youth and adults in area churches in June of 1982. This was done primarily due to the expressed need by the community to get back to holistic programming for the entire family. Programming included tutorial programs for youth, GED classes, 4-H programs, drama workshops and exercise/fitness classes. A core of dedicated volunteers staffed many of these programs, further demonstrating the strong commitment within the community.
In order to establish and provide a more comprehensive system of human services, Forest Manor Multi-Service Center joined Community Centers of Indianapolis (CCI) in April of 1983, and in 1987, the Board of Directors and Executive Director began the challenge of searching for a new location. The office building at 2951 East 38th Street, which housed the organization on the second floor, consisted of approximately 1,780 sq. ft. The location had several constraints which adversely impacted the organization’s ability to effectively and efficiently administer current programs and to enhance or expand services.
The Facility Search Committee located a building further east of its location, which would allow for the expansion of services and programs and eliminate numerous disagreeable constraints. Renovations to the over 7,500 sq. ft. building involved improvements needed to improve accessibility for disabled persons and senior citizens and also included the creation of several individual offices, classrooms and a multi-purpose room. Endorsement of the project by the Lilly Endowment afforded the funds to purchase, renovate, remodel, equip, and furnish the facility. The United Way of Greater Indianapolis and The Indianapolis Foundation also provided financial support. In July 1989, the newly renovated and remodeled facility, located 5603 East 38th Street, opened for business.
In 2004, the Community Centers of Indianapolis dissolved and Forest Manor Multi-Service Center became its own non-profit organization and a United Way agency.
In July 2017, after working through many different options, the difficult decision was made to cease direct operations starting August 1, 2017, and shift all programs to other organizations in the area. During the “pause,” the organization will closely examine the needs of the community, gaps in services, and the best strategies for supporting the community in the future.