Filling a need: Outside the Box plans expansion, tri-fold concept


By Anna Skinner

Kelly Hartman sees a need in Fishers and believes her organization can fill it.

Outside the Box launched in 2008 and is housed at 3940 E. 56th St., Indianapolis. The nonprofit works to offer day programming to people with disabilities. The plan for Outside the Box came from Insights Consulting, owned by Hartman. Insights Consulting, 7830 Johnson Rd., Indianapolis, partners with individuals with disabilities across the county.

“Over the course of (Insights Consulting’s) development, people said we needed to do day programming, and we started Outside the Box in 2008 with the intent for it being a separate not-for-profit organization that would grow and evolve over time,” said Hartman, a Fishers resident and co-founder of Outside the Box.

Hartman recently recognized an opportunity for expanding Outside the Box.

“In this next step for Outside the Box we start looking at where do we need to be,” she said. “We are at capacity, full grown, can’t fit another person in the building. (The opportunity) kept saying Fishers, and I thought that made all kinds of sense. I hadn’t really looked into how the issue would fit with Fishers, and when I started researching, Fishers has no facility-based program with people with disabilities. We have Janus in Noblesville, and Opportunities for Positive Growth (in Fishers) is an agency that provides some community-based programming, but Fishers didn’t have a place for people to go for the whole day.”

That realization was the beginning of an idea to expand Outside the Box to Fishers as a self-sustained nonprofit. The plan includes a micro-enterprise, an event venue and a place for people with disabilities to go during the day, all in one space.

Evolve, the micro-enterprise, would be a grab-and-go café employing people with disabilities. It would be a separate 501(c)3 than Outside the Box.

“We (would be) creating peer-to-peer relationships, internship opportunities, whether with Best Buddies or the honor society,” Hartman said. “There could be all kinds of interaction with the school. Students who want to do neat things and do service hours have these opportunities.”

Hartman also realized Fishers doesn’t have much collaborative space, such as an event venue. So one was included in the plan.

“It would be a trendy, super cool, different venue,” she said. “We don’t have anything that’s cool and different and a place you can bring in your own vendors and create your own event, whether it is a shower, graduation party or wedding reception. This allows people to create their own event, and all dollars spent on the event space would be a significant lower cost (than traditional venues). All of that goes back to support the mission of Outside the Box.”

Hartman said it’s not necessarily a matter of people wanting the concept in Fishers, but more  a matter of when and where. All three parts of the plan are needed for it to work.

Ideally, the three parts would operate out of a building approximately 6,000 square feet and two stories high. There would be space for the Evolve café and storefront, which would share a kitchen with the event venue, and would allow for approximately eight classrooms upstairs for those participating in Outside the Box’s daily program.

If the program needed to purchase land and build the building, the cost would be $4 million. The money can come from monetary donations or charitable gifts and partnerships. A recent fundraising event at Lucas Estate in Carmel raised $160,000, and now Outside the Box is working with Old National Bank for its second 100 Men Who Cook fundraiser.

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100 Men Who Cook aims to raise $215,000-plus

The 100 Men Who Cook fundraiser kicked off its inaugural Indianapolis event last year, and this year it selected Outside the Box, an organization providing daily programming for individuals with disabilities, as its beneficiary. The money raised will go toward expanding Outside the Box to Fishers. The event was originally launched in Terre Haute 13 years ago.

The fundraiser is conducted by Old National Bank, and Regional CEO Mark Bradford has a hefty goal of more than the $215,000 raised last year for the Feb. 17, 2018, fundraiser.

The event brings volunteer chefs together to prepare and serve their favorite dishes. Tickets are $100 each.

“We named Outside the Box as our 2018 beneficiary to raise awareness about the important services they provide to those with intellectual disabilities and to support their future growth and initiatives like Evolve, that focuses on education and employment,” Bradford stated in an email. “Additionally, Old National is dedicated to helping expand the understanding and appreciation of the value of diversity and inclusion.”

Tickets can be purchased from Nov. 1 to Feb. 16 at

Editor’s note: For patient privacy, some last names have been omitted.


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