Brian Payne is the president and CEO of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) and The Indianapolis Foundation. Since he joined CICF in November 2000, the foundation’s annual grantmaking has more than tripled to approximately $72.5 million. CICF’s mission is to mobilize people, ideas, and investments to create a community where all individuals have an equitable opportunity to reach their full potential—no matter place, race, or identity.
Brian is the founder and founding artistic director of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick. The national consulting firm Project for Public Spaces chose the Indianapolis Cultural Trail as the best North American example of a big, bold, transformative project that is changing the way we think of cities and city life.
Under Brian’s leadership, CICF has made dismantling systemic racism in central Indiana a multi-generational commitment. CICF has been recognized locally and nationally for the boldness of its commitment and the progress of its early actions.
Brian served as one of six community foundation executives on the design task force of Nexus for Equity + Opportunity Nationwide (NEON), and CICF is one of the founding members of this national effort to dismantle structured and systemic racism to achieve equity in social and economic mobility.
Brian is the founding board chair of The District Theatre, which is committed to helping incubate a Black professional resident theatre company for Indianapolis. He serves on the boards of Visit Indy and Indiana Repertory Theatre and recently concluded a two-year term as board chair of Forward Cities, a national organization committed to helping cities build inclusive economic growth.
Brian is a much sought-after speaker nationally and internationally. His themes include equity in opportunity and dismantling systemic racism, neighborhood empowerment, placemaking and interrupting gentrification, multi-modal transportation, trails, livability, and the power of connectivity. He has spoken at national conferences of the American Planning Association, CEOs for Cities, Forward Cities, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Council of Foundations, and the United Way. He has consulted with dozens of cities in the United States and Canada on urban trail projects.
Brian is the recipient of the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Michael A. Carroll Leadership Award, Visit Indy’s Bill McGowan Leadership Award, and the Indiana University Public Policy Institute’s John L. Krauss Award for Innovation in Public Policy. He has also been honored as a Civil Rights Champion by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the Indiana Citizen Planner of the Year, and has been recognized as one of the world’s most powerful Hoosiers. In 2016, Brian was recognized as an Indiana Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society.