Damar earns Guinness World Records title

Client Watch

Routinely recognized as a national leader in providing care and services to people and families affected by autism and other developmental and behavioral disabilities, Indianapolis-based Damar Services is now a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title-holder.

Attendees at the annual Damar Gala set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS record Saturday night for the most people making sensory bottles simultaneously, with a final number of 662 people working together to assemble the bottles, which can help people with developmental disabilities calm down in stressful moments.

An official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator was on hand to verify the results.

As Damar provides services to children and adults living with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, it goes through a lot of sensory bottles, which are plastic containers filled with fluid and items such as glitter that move slowly when shaken. Often referred to as calm-down bottles, the bottles assist people with developmental disabilities by helping to calm their breathing and regulate their emotions.

“Achieving this GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title was a great way to engage our supporters in doing something truly tangible for the people we serve,” said Damar Services CEO Jim Dalton. “These folks are so generous in so many ways, we’re delighted to show our appreciation by giving them the chance to be a part of a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title achievement.”

The bottles assembled at the Damar Gala, presented by Hendricks Regional Health and A&T Mechanical LLC, will be used at Damar’s ABA clinics and at outreach events in Central Indiana.

About Damar Services, Inc.

For more than 50 years, Damar Services has been a leader in providing services to children and adults challenged by autism and intellectual, developmental and behavioral disabilities. From its main campus on Indianapolis’ southwest side, a northeast side clinic and other locations across the state, Damar offers residential and community-based treatment, outpatient behavioral health services and ABA Autism Services by Damar. In addition, Damar operates two schools and provides foster care services. For more information, visit www.damar.org.

Indiana Landmarks oversees continued repairs to Ayres Clock

Client Watch

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 6, 2020) —Indianapolis’s landmark “Ayres Clock” will undergo a second round of repairs to restore its luster and ensure its long-term viability.

The clock is owned by the City of Indianapolis - Department of Metropolitan Development, and Indiana Landmarks is leading the repair efforts and financing. The project will require the entire 10,000-pound clock to be temporarily removed from the spot it has occupied on the southeast corner of Washington and Meridian streets since 1936.

“The clock will be removed from the building and taken to an off-site facility for restoration, so things will look a little bleak on the historic corner until the work is done,” said Paul Smith, longtime Indiana Landmarks member and volunteer project manager for the clock’s restoration.

“But don’t be alarmed!” adds Smith. “When we’re finished, the clock will be better than new.”

Named for the department store that occupied the corner for most of the twentieth century, the Ayres Clock is an important civic landmark. Historically, the Ayres Clock was the place where people met to go shopping, or to lunch or dinner. Now it’s the perch for the bronze cherub that appears on the corner each Thanksgiving eve to announce arrival of the holiday season.

During the first round of repairs to the clock in 2016, workers discovered that the massive bronze box housing the clock’s mechanicals was in poor condition and leaking. The current repairs will address the leaks and conserve the bronze case. The work will begin on Feb. 12 with an “open clock” event between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that will allow potential vendors to inspect the clock in order to assess the job. Depending on the selected contractor’s schedule, the project team hopes the project can be completed in time for the holidays.

When Indiana Landmarks launched the 2016 fundraising campaign to repair the iconic clock, which had not worked for years, the public responded rapidly. In just 24 days, more than 350 people and organizations stepped up to donate $60,000.

“We were blown away by the public response in 2016,” says Smith. “Clearly the people of Indianapolis love the Ayres Clock, and we hope they will be just as enthusiastic this time around.”

Arthur Bohn originally designed the eight-foot-tall clock, which is mounted roughly 29 feet above the sidewalk on the corner of the building designed in 1905 by Vonnegut and Bohn.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:  Paul Smith, Ayres Clock Restoration Project Manager, 317-432-0482, pfsmith1882@yahoo.com

Mindi Woolman, Communications Manager, Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534, 317-417-1204 (cell), mwoolman@indianalandmarks.org

# # #

Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to our heritage, and saves meaningful places. With nine offices located throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservation. For more information on the not-for-profit organization, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit www.indianalandmarks.org.


CILTI protects White River Bluffs

Client Watch

Thanks to the generosity of its members and donors, the Central Indiana Land Trust has protected the entirety of 12.2 acres along the White River. Know as White River Bluffs, this Indianapolis nature preserve offers stunning views from steep bluffs rising some 80 feet above the water.

Closing on Jan. 31, the transaction represented the final of three phases to protect the property formerly owned by Highland Golf & Country Club. The $2.9 million project began in 2015 as a unique partnership between CILTI and the local community. With all of the property now under permanent protection, CILTI can turn its attention to restoring the land. 

Once open the nature preserve will give hikers an experience like none other. It will feature "Hanging gardens" -- native plants that will draw monarchs and other butterflies -- as well as a loop trail offering breathtaking views from the bluffs. 

Central Indiana Land Trust applauds Gov. Holcomb's million-tree pledge

Client Watch


By Cliff Chapman, Executive Director

On behalf of the board, staff and supporters of the Central Indiana Land Trust, we congratulate Gov. Eric Holcomb for the leadership he demonstrated by announcing in his State of the State address that the Indiana of Natural Resources will plant 1 million trees over the next five years. Planting trees at such a large scale in a state that lost most of its forest in the 19th century will do more for our children and our state’s future than many of us can imagine.

Obviously, this project will deliver climate benefits at a time when climate is a growing concern. Trees naturally scrub carbon from the air, helping to mitigate the negative impact airborne carbon has on our planet. But that benefit is complemented by others.

For example, young forests provide habitat for niche species that need these wooded areas’ unique attributes to thrive. Our grandparents might remember days long gone when certain birds were more common. Elusive species such as the yellow-breasted chat, blue-winged warbler and ruffed grouse lived in forests that sprouted during the Depression and drought years of the 1930s. New forests might give those species opportunities to return and raise several generations while the wooded areas mature into homes for a different suite of wildlife.

Strategically placed trees also can help to restore forests and connect current natural areas, creating larger and better habitat for plants and wildlife. This will support declining wildlife species in Indiana that need large blocks of forest to thrive, species such as the Eastern box turtle, whose eggs don’t stand a chance from predators if they can’t be laid far from a wood’s edge.

Converting idle floodplain farmland back to forest also offers benefits. In times of flooding, floodplain forests slow water’s spread, meaning water infiltrates into the groundwater system more efficiently and sediment falls onto the forest floor. The result: less flooding downstream and cleaner water.

Over the next decade, the Central Indiana Land Trust is committed to complementing the State’s efforts by planting another million trees buffering our most iconic natural areas. By planting around places like Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve in Fayette County, Meltzer Woods Nature Preserve in Shelby County, and Calvert & Porter Nature Preserve in Montgomery County — all national landmarks — we can create even bigger blocks of wildlife habitat and, again, help to offset the effects of a changing climate.

Damar Strategy Officer urges businesses to act like nonprofits

Client Watch

By Jenny Peters-Reece


Some time ago, the philanthropic and business communities embraced an idea that, while it seems perfectly logical today, was radical at the time. “Nonprofit organizations,” they decided, “need to act more like businesses.”

Over the years, nonprofits embraced this idea, and they benefited as a result. A greater focus on operational efficiency, fiscal management, metric tracking and other business practices helped them deliver on their missions more effectively. The result has been a more powerful philanthropic community and more powerful results for their constituents and communities at large.

In light of that history, I find it interesting that, more recently, I’ve noticed another trend: Having accepted that nonprofits should act more like businesses, we now seem to be sensing that the converse might also be true. Businesses, it seems, need to act more like nonprofits.

Before I go on, let me say that I’m not suggesting that businesses should ignore the power of profit. I am saying, however, that I have seen at least one non-profit attribute that businesses need to replicate if they’re going to succeed in the emerging marketplace: a focus on mission.

Some businesses have claimed to make their mission a part of their brand for a long time. By focusing on the good they do with their products and services, they strive to connect emotionally with customers. And, since the common wisdom is that the vast majority of buying decisions are based on emotion, that approach certainly works. That’s why we see companies spending countless dollars on mission-focused ads. They move customers to action.

But mission is becoming a bigger factor in another aspect of the workplace: the workforce. An increasing number of American workers say they want more than salary and benefits from the workplace; they want jobs that give their lives meaning. In fact, a 2018 study by the Harvard Business Review suggests that nine out of 10 U.S. employees would surrender a portion of their income in exchange for greater meaning in their jobs. Another study, by Imperative, found that employees who are engaged by their employer’s mission are 54% more likely to stay at a company for more than five years that those who are motivated by a pay check alone.

In other words, if businesses are going to attract and retain top talent, they need to offer jobs that connect to that meaning. So what can for-profits do to compete for talent in this age of meaning? They can learn some tips from their nonprofit peers:

Adopt a mission statement that explains how your product or service improves the world.  You’ll never inspire people by saying your mission is to make the best and most whatevers … unless you explain how succeeding at that goal will benefit the world around us.

Put that mission statement at the heart of all you do. Measure everything you do according to its impact to deliver on that world-improving mission.

Communicate that mission. Your mission won’t make a difference if nobody knows about it.

Celebrate impact. When your team does something that delivers on the mission, celebrate that success by sharing the story of how that impact came to be and the difference your firm made.

Equip your people to share the mission story. Make sure all team members know how to connect their jobs to the mission, and train them to always point back to the mission when they talk about their work. Give them tools and guidance for sharing stories of impact. Help them put themselves in the middle of the mission.

In some ways, nonprofits have it easy when it comes to storytelling. For example, at Damar, we have amazing stories to tell of children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities who have progressed well beyond what anyone ever expected. Their stories are powerful and inspiring, and they help us remember our mission every day. In that way, they give our lives meaning. Capture a similar meaning in your business, and you’ll not only connect with customers, but you’ll also engage a generation of employees who are looking for more than a paycheck.

Jenny Peters-Reece is Chief Strategy Officer for Damar Services.


Advocates demand action: Sexual assault in Indiana is out of control

Client Watch


By Tracey Horth Krueger and Rima Shahid

“Too afraid and embarrassed to scream. Thought it was my fault.”

Written in hurried but elegant cursive on a slip of paper, those brief bursts of words (like the others in italics below) tell the story of one Indiana woman’s sexual assault. At the same time, they represent the experiences of far too many Hoosier women. Even as they are being victimized, they’re embarrassed. Even as they want to scream in terror, they’re silenced by fear. Even as someone takes advantage of them, they feel they are at fault.  

This happens more often than you’d think: One out of five Hoosier females has been sexually assaulted. And our daughters? Indiana ranks fourth highest in the nation for the number of reported rapes among high school girls.

If you do the math, that means we should see more than 650,000 sexual assaults reported each year. But we don’t, because 85% of sexual assaults are not reported. Why? Because victims feel they will not be believed or they will be blamed. Time after time, victims are asked, “What were you wearing?” and “Were you drinking?” They are quizzed about their sex lives. Their memory or interpretation of events is challenged. Meanwhile, the perpetrator is seldom asked the obvious question: “Why do you think it’s OK to rape someone?”

The truth is, addressing sexual violence is a tough. As a society, we don’t like to talk about sex — we find it embarrassing and improper — let alone sexual violence. But we can’t keep quiet any longer. We must talk about this difficult topic, because our silence is robbing women of their freedom from fear, and our unwillingness to hear their pain affects their lives every day.

“I left that job because management and HR didn’t believe me.”

Having seen the state resist for too long traditional efforts to drive change, a coalition of Indiana individuals and organizations is using art and community action to ensure that women’s voices are heard and change is achieved. Women4Change and the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault are leading this yearlong creative initiative called El Tendedero/The Clothesline Indiana.

Based on an art installation first presented by artist Monica Mayer in Mexico City in 1978, El Tendedero/The Clothesline incorporates the power of stories shared on postcards. 

“I was never told coercion was not consensual.”

We invite survivors from across the state to share your stories, if you are comfortable. Your voices have power and perhaps El Tendedero/The Clothesline offers the opportunity to be heard.  Survivors can anonymously answer one or more questions on pink postcards that will be hung on clotheslines at a variety of events, including at the Indiana Statehouse on March 5. Postcards include such questions as “Have you ever experienced sexual violence or harassment? What happened?” and “Where do you feel safe? Why?”

You can also share your stories digitally at women4changeindiana.org/the-clothesline.

Our goal is to let women know that we hear them, and we aren’t going to ignore what’s happening to them. At the same time, we want to equip and inspire women — and all Hoosiers — to learn who represents them in the Indiana General Assembly and then to engage with those representatives and encourage them to support initiatives to reduce and prevent sexual assault.

“Being resilient does not mean I’m immune to the pain.”

The emotional impact of the stories shared through El Tendedero/The Clothesline will help lawmakers see that they need to address this issue. They need to help sexual assault survivors understand that they are not at fault. And they need to assure those who have experienced sexual assault that we, as a state, will not stand by silently as they suffer and struggle. We hear them, even when they can’t scream.

Tracey Horth Krueger is chief executive officer of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault (ICESA). Rima Shahid is executive director of Women4Change Indiana.

Browning Starts leasing Innovation Building 2 in 16 Tech

Client Watch


INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 19, 2019) – Browning has begun leasing its second project in the 16 Tech Innovation District. Innovation Building 2 will offer 145,000 square feet of class-A office and innovation space designed to support the operations of companies from advanced industries.

A six-story structure, it will feature open office designs and spaces that promote collaboration among tenants and nearby companies and researchers. The building also will include retail and food/beverage options.

Innovation Building 2 will sit adjacent to Innovation Building 1, a 120,000-square-foot research and office facility being constructed by a partnership between Browning and Davis & Associates and on track to open in summer 2020. The fully leased $40 million Innovation Building 1 will serve as the headquarters for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI), the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) and its advanced industry initiatives, and also house IU School of Medicine researchers.

“We expect Building 1 and Building 2 to become a real one-two punch in terms of innovation,” said Dale Pfeifer, vice president of development at Browning. “Together, they’ll be a place where big ideas take shape and begin the march to market.”

Innovation Building 2 will overlook 16 Tech’s future central green, provide a view of downtown Indianapolis and offer convenient access to the Innovation Hub at 16 Tech as well as food and beverage venues, gathering places and walking/cycling trails. Convenient parking will be offered in a structured garage as well as in street-level spaces.


  • +/- 145,000 total square feet
  • 6 floors
  • +/- 25,000 square foot floorplates
  • Center-Core Building
  • Approximately 14’ slab to slab
  • 2 passenger elevators | 1 Freight Elevator
  • Controlled, structured parking
  • Exterior signage available
  • Abundant natural light
  • Large span window
  • Retail and food/beverage space

About 16 Tech

16 Tech is one of the largest talent attraction, retention and development opportunities in Indianapolis’s history. Located on the near west side of Indianapolis, 16 Tech will bring talent together to collaborate and drive cross-sector innovation in advanced industries. The nonprofit 16 Tech Community Corporation oversees the development of the district and ensures benefits of economic growth, new investment and job creation in the 16 Tech District extend to nearby neighborhoods as well as the city, the region and the state.  More information can be found at www.16tech.com.

About Browning

Browning changes skylines and communities by developing, building and managing game-changing commercial real estate projects. With a reputation for executing large transactions and complex projects, the firm’s diversified portfolio includes market-leading industrial, office, mixed-use, healthcare, life science and higher education projects. Established in 1977, Browning is based in Indianapolis. More at www.browninginv.com.


# # #


Media contacts:

Dale Pfeifer, Browning, 317-344-7349, dpfeifer@browninginv.com 

Jen Thomas, JTPR, 317-441-2487, jen@jtprinc.com  

Damar Strategy Officer issues a call to community

Client Watch


By Jenny Peters-Reece

Everyone recognizes that social media has changed our culture. Not only do we communicate in radically different ways since we learned to post, share, YouTube and Tweet, but we also have accepted new ways to gather information, buy and sell products, make travel plans, do business and more.

As life-altering as those innovations have been, however, it seems that they still rely on a decidedly old-school element for success: our natural desire for community. We want to feel connected to other people, whether it’s through social media, shared experiences, common passions or something else. Whether you’re in the for-profit or nonprofit world, I believe it’s important to remember that it’s that desire, not the high-tech wonders of social media or any other innovation, that drives success.

Certainly, social media is a great vehicle for community. That’s why every organization must have a social media strategy. Whether you’re trying to connect with clients, stakeholders, donors, volunteers or other audiences, social media offers an unparalleled vehicle for extending your reach and optimizing your resources.

The problem is, too often we become impressed with a vehicle for connection and its ability to reach large numbers of people that we forget that, no matter how many connections we make, we ultimately are connecting on a one-to-one basis. And it’s that one-to-one connection that will drive success.

That, I think, is the key to the rise of one of social media’s biggest assets, peer-to-peer marketing.

Now, I know peer-to-peer marketing is nothing new. It was around long before social media and it will be around long after we’ve moved on to something even newer. Why? For starters, consumers generally prefer human recommendations over anything else. In fact, a recent Edelman study suggests that nearly two-thirds of Millennials, today’s real marketplace power brokers, trust even online influencers – those celebrities or web sensations who make money endorsing products – over brand advertising. They might not see those people as peers, but they do connect with them more than they do an ad.

Now, add to that connection the factor generally referred to as “relatability” and you get the real appeal of peer-to-peer marketing: a human endorsement from someone you can relate to. For example, you might value LeBron James’ opinion on headphones, but you can’t really relate to his ability to afford anything he wants. On the other hand, if “someone like you” – someone in your income bracket, who lives in your community, who is at a similar life stage – endorses those same headphones, you will pay attention. The data backs this up: Reports by Nielsen suggest that as many as 92 percent of people trust the recommendations of peers, and the Edelman study noted that relatability is twice as important as popularity in terms of influence.

And that brings me back to my original point: Reaching people with our message, whether we’re selling something or trying to raise money for a cause, still comes down to helping people experience community. That was true when direct mail was the hot new thing, when TV ads first reached out to people, and when every other form of marketing emerged.

Regardless of how they make decisions, when the people we’re communicating with make choices about how to spend their money, they want to know that they are fitting in with a community they value, and when they decide to share their resources with a nonprofit, they do so because they think that nonprofit brings value to the community they value.

That’s one thing that hasn’t changed as a result of social media, and one thing that we all must remember if we are to be successful in getting our message across: Help people connect to a community and your message is much more likely to hit home.

Jenny Peters-Reece is Chief Strategy Officer for Damar Services, which will hold its first series of Damar Coffee Breaks on October 4 throughout Central Indiana.

Browning structures for impact with promotions, new hires

Client Watch


Hire the best people and allow them to deliver real impact. That’s how you make great things happen. That belief has driven Browning’s 40 years of growth and solidified its reputation as a mid-sized company that outperforms. By embracing that approach, we’ve been able to collaborate with customers and partners on game-changing commercial real estate projects that strengthen communities.

To ensure we continue to drive that kind of impact, we’ve made a few changes at Browning … changes that allow our team to put its skills, experiences, expertise and relationships to the greatest use.

Impact requires recognition

To reward some of our top performers, we’re promoting them into positions of greater responsibility and impact. In recognition of their work ethic, creativity, integrity, teamwork and project successes (really, we could go on all day …), Browning has promoted John Cohoat and Dale Pfeifer to Vice President of Development, and Terry Hebert to Vice President of Pre-Development.

Impact requires structure

To ensure our organization is structured for the most efficient and effective operation, we have created two new roles: Adam Chavers and Mark Susemichel have been named Chief Development Officers. They each will continue to work on their respective projects, but they also will have primary responsibility for the success of the development team and its individual members.

Impact requires growth

To make sure we have the human resources needed to deliver everything our customers and partners expect when working with Browning, we have recently added four new members to our team.

Eric Smith has joined Browning as an Assistant Field Superintendent, Bill Niehaus has signed on as Maintenance Engineer, and Zachary Hanson is a new Project Coordinator.

We also have two employees that will be starting within the next month: Tyler Klaehn, Finance Manager; Manager; Boyd Warner, Jr. Estimator.


We are Browning

Even as we make these changes, you can count on the things that define Browning to stay the same: We will always work with customers and partners to strengthen communities by developing, building and managing game-changing commercial real estate projects. Count on Browning to deliver big projects, structure complicated deals and exceed expectations. Remember: If you’re ready to move dirt, you can call anyone.  If you want to move mountains, call Browning.


Listen to a replay of John Thomas' JGA webinar on jargon in nonprofit communications

JTPR Insights

On Oct. 3, John had the opportunity to chat with JGA's Angela White about translating nonprofit jargon. To listen to a replay of the webinar on the JGA site, go to http://www.jgacounsel.com/reso... (Of course, you can also listen to many other great webinars on the same site). 


Depicting an evolution

Inside JTPR

Sometimes marketing types talk about brands and identity like they’re talking about alchemy. Or top-secret missile codes. Or Col. Sanders’ seven herbs and spices.

We tend to think of it more plainly than that. A brand should simply be a reflection of an organization or product. And as that organization or product evolves, that brand and the way it is communicated – through a graphic identity, a tagline or whatever – should evolve, too.

That’s why you’re seeing a new logo for JTPR. We’ve evolved, and it’s time for the way we present ourselves to evolve, too.

Of course, we started out as Jen Thomas PR, a one-woman show that quite simply got the job done.

We grew into JTPR, a two-JT firm that offered solid, clear-cut skills and expertise.

And now we think of ourselves a little differently. We still offer those same services, but we put an increasing emphasis on the power of the well-chosen word, straightforward counsel and the right action at the right time. It’s what our clients say they expect from us … what we do best.

So now we describe ourselves like this: JTPR gets people talking about things worth talking about in order to move people to action. With expert counsel, the right words and hands-on execution, we help organizations reach the right audiences, say the right things and get the results they want.

This fits nicely with our business plan, which we sum up by saying, “Work with nice people, and have fun doing it.”

When we discussed this vision of our business with our friend (and designer extraordinaire) Lindsey Hadley, she brought back a new logo for JTPR that we think captures wonderfully who we aspire to be: It’s sturdy and solid, with a dash of color and whimsy. It gets the job done with a bit of flair and fun.

That might not be as impressive as alchemy, or as intriguing as missile codes, or as “spicy” as a secret chicken recipe. But it’s who we are. 


We are Doers

Inside JTPR

During our firm’s recent rebrand, we spent a lot of time pondering the right words to describe what we do best.

We settled on Advisors. Writers. Doers.

Since the core of our work involves writing, Writers was a no-brainer.

Advisors was pretty easy, too. At this stage of our careers, we’re confident in our recommendations and the advice we provide clients.

The last word, though, was harder. We ended up with Doers.

We hesitated about that at first, worried that it sounded too tactical, too elementary, too lightweight. “Doers” are often seen as the “lowest rung” on the ladder, and we didn’t want people to think of us as a “low-rung” organization.

On the other hand, one of the reasons we opened our shop is that we wanted to provide advice to our clients and then actually see it through to fruition. To DO the work. We like what we do, and we plan to stay small – just the two of us – so we are, by design, the doers.

Of course, we also believe that serves our clients well. When they choose us, they get veterans doing the work. We’re not cooking up big ideas and handing them off to junior staffers. We’re not promising expertise and delivering rookie execution. We’re following through. Putting our experience to work. Making sure the job gets done.

And when we do need help? We reach out to the best partners and subcontractors in the business – people who we know value good work as much as we do – and continue to be engaged so that the job is done right.

Yep: We’re doers. And we feel good about that.

John and Jen

© JTPR, INC. 2020