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Mayor Ballard Hosts 9th Annual Celebration of Diversity Awards

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INDIANAPOLIS— Mayor Greg Ballard today hosted the 9th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity Awards Ceremony. The Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity Awards recognize businesses and organizations that encourage, embrace and celebrate differences that foster a better place in which to live, work and raise family.

This year’s diversity award recipients included Citizens Energy Group, Eli Lilly & Company, Barnes & Thornburg, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, and Finch Constructors Inc. as well as a special lifetime achievement award for the late Melvin Simon.

“Indianapolis is universally known as a world class city, not because we all look the same or think the same, but because we celebrate our differences and leverage them to become our strengths,” said Mayor Ballard. “Many of the achievements we celebrate today are due in large part to Mel’s commitment to the city of Indianapolis and our collective goal to become one of the most livable big cities in America.”

Recognition for the Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity Awards is based on exceptional performance in all or one of the following four areas: Workforce Diversity, Development, Community Relations, and Leadership.


Below is a list of this year’s award recipients:

Melvin Simon Lifetime Achievement Award:

The late Melvin Simon was honored with a special lifetime achievement award on behalf of the City of Indianapolis for his numerous and generous contributions to the city, its neighborhoods, and the shared community of giving. Cindy Simon-Skodjt accepted the award on behalf of the late Melvin Simon, who passed away on September 18, 2009 at the age of 82.

“Melvin Simon, along with his brother, Herb, and his entire family built a remarkable company that has helped transform this community. His contributions, both professionally and philanthropically, have been immeasurable, and will be of extraordinary benefit to all of us for years to come”, said Jim Morris, President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

Sam H. Jones Award:

This special award, which represents the “Best of the Best,” named in honor of the first president of Indianapolis Urban League and a tireless advocate for peace, justice and understanding in Indianapolis – is the top award given and recognizes a business or organization with the strongest performance in all four categories.

Award Recipient: Citizens Energy Group

Diversity statement—Citizens Energy Group believes that success depends on diversity in the workforce and in the community. Citizens Energy Group treats each and every employee and customer with courtesy and respect.

Development in Diversity Award

This award is presented to a company or organization that excels in providing opportunities for diversity education and communication within the organization.

Award Recipient: Eli Lilly & Company

Diversity statement—At Lilly we value every employee. Recognizing and applying diversity of perspectives, skills and talents engages our employees, improves our decision-making and contributes to better healthcare solutions for all patients. Together we are Lilly.

Community Relations Award

This award is presented to a company or organization that excels in promoting activities which encourage and support diversity in the community.

Award Recipient: Barnes & Thornburg

Diversity Statement—At Barnes & Thornburg LLP, we believe diversity and inclusion make a better law firm. A diverse and inclusive environment empowers our attorneys, professionals, and staff to achieve; provides greater career satisfaction; improves service to our clients; and benefits our communities.

Leadership in Diversity Award

This award is presented to a company or organization that excels in implementing a vision that supports diversity strategies throughout the organization.

Award Recipient: YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

Diversity statement—We define diversity as the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, beliefs, and competencies as assets to the YMCA. By embracing diversity and inclusion, we will develop culturally competent leaders who will foster an attitude of acceptance, feeling valued and welcome, among all our constituents and the communities we serve.

Workforce Diversity Award

This award is presented to a company or organization that has made great strides in the diversity representation in the workplace.

Award Recipient: Finch Constructors, Inc.

Diversity statement—At Finch Constructors, we understand that diversity is a challenging opportunity to embrace our differences so we may showcase our greatest strengths. Therefore, diversity must be a priority with a plan of action so that it may be effectively executed.

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