By Elizabeth Williams
As a child, one of my favorite shows to watch was the original Little House on the Prairie. Despite the undebatably poor production value, there was a richness in the story of that ordinary family, their crackling fire, and the importance of home. When I chose to attend a college 15 minutes from where I grew up, I did so with this story in mind. I entered IUPUI with the belief that community and place are built on relationships, and that human flourishing and “the pursuit of the public good” must begin at home.
Throughout my time at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the experiences I have had have reinforced my belief that home is at the heart of every other human capability. As a student, I have had the opportunity to be involved in community development efforts in Indianapolis that have enriched my passion for relationship-based philanthropy. Through volunteer work with the Harrison Center for the Arts and South-East Neighborhood Development (SEND), I have witnessed the very tangible ways that communities are built, enriched, and sustained.
Likewise, as a realtor with Plat Collective in downtown Indianapolis, I have grown to further understand the importance of home. Not only are we wired to connect with each other, but having a safe, secure, permanent place to be is essential to the development and flourishing of human life. Owning a house can be one of the most economically beneficial decisions a family can make, especially if it can remain affordable despite the appreciating nature of the housing market. This gives families an asset, allows them to invest in their neighborhood and their city, and provides them with ownership, agency, and security. Together with my team, we have been consciously working to promote the development of Indianapolis – striving to make it a more beautiful, vibrant, and equitable city.
As a photographer, in the last two years I have traveled to seven different countries. Capturing foreign cultures, natural grandeur, and architectural feats brings me deep joy, but there is something even more joyful about returning home. The beauty of my ordinary family in this ordinary place is hard to capture.
As I look forward to my next two years as a graduate student with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, my hope is to continue learning the best ways to make Indianapolis a place where people are known in their communities and enabled to live freely out of that security. As a student, realtor, photographer, and friend – my heart is for home.