The Polis Center

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Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Sharon Kandris, Interim Executive Director

The Polis Center at IUPUI works with its partners to measure and actively improve community health, wellbeing, and resilience.  It is an applied research center in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI with staff dedicated to researching and applying data and advanced information technologies, especially GIS, to help organizations “bring things into perspective.”  Our strengths are in community and place-based research, analysis, and collaborations. We create actionable information and apply informatics to design creative solutions with our partners to address pressing community issues, build data literacy, design better programs, and impact policy. 

SAVI Community Information System (SAVI)

The SAVI Community Information System ( began in 1995 as a joint project of The Polis Center at IUPUI and United Way of Central Indiana to support human services planning. Its mission now is to help organizations and researchers make data-informed decisions by 1) providing reliable, geographically precise data about communities; 2) creating actionable information; 3) developing tools for data analysis; and 4) building capacity of nonprofit and community-based organizations (CBOs) to use data effectively.

SAVI (Social Assets and Vulnerabilities Indicators) contains over 14,000 indicators on social, economic, and physical conditions of Central Indiana communities developed from over 70 data providers and makes the data freely available through a web site ( Users have the ability to view data profiles, search, map, and analyze over 20 years of data about 2,000 defined areas in the 11-county Indianapolis MSA, including but not limited to neighborhoods, school districts, ZIP codes, townships, and numerous other geographies. SAVI also builds capacity of nonprofit and community based organizations to use data effectively for strategic planning, community assessments, program planning, evaluation, grant development, research, service area assessment, needs assessment, heath services evaluation, and so much more. 

SAVI is a program of The Polis Center with several community partners, including United Way of Central Indiana, WFYI Public Media, Marion County Public Health Department, City of Indianapolis, and IUPUI.

Rebecca Nannery
Senior Research Analyst
Matt Nowlin
Research Analyst
Jay Colbert
GIS Project Manager
Sharon Kandris
Sharon Kandris
Interim Executive Director

United Way of Central Indiana

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Denise Luster, VP of Impact Research & Analytics

For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Indiana has supported innovative, practical and efficient agencies and programs in order to address local needs. United Way of Central Indiana helps sustain vital human services for those who need help most while reducing such needs for future generations.

United Way of Central Indiana is focused on two priorities: Meeting the community's
human service needs; and helping kids start school ready to learn and graduate ready
to earn. United Way of Central Indiana operates in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion and Morgan counties. Local volunteers identify, plan and carry out community-building and fundraising activities for health and human care solutions here in Central Indiana.

In support of its efforts, United Way of Central Indiana periodically conducts a community assessment. This in-depth study of the Central Indiana community and its current needs is designed to create a collective understanding of key community conditions, assets and concerns.


Social Assets and Vulnerabilities Indicators (SAVI)

As the name implies, SAVI is an electronic database that includes data on community assets such as schools, churches and community centers, as well as information on community vulnerabilities such as crime, safety, poverty and health. SAVI, launched in 1993, is a joint database project of the United Way/Community Service Council of Central Indiana and the Polis Center. Building on the strengths of both organizations, the United Way/CSC handles SAVI training and community outreach, while Polis provides research assistance and collects, analyzes and maps the data. SAVI's mapped and tabular data covers the Indianapolis metropolitan area. SAVI is intended to help human service agencies, governments, community organizations, and individuals conduct research, as well as engage in planning, community development and policy making.


Polis and United Way/CSC are committed to making this valuable information on central Indiana available to many users. SAVI is available free of cost in many public libraries in Central Indiana, and enhanced access sites are also available for a fee. In recent years, Polis and United Way/CSC have made great strides in improving access to SAVI through interactive mapping and data delivery over the web.


Denise Luster
VP of Impact Research & Analytics


September 1, 2022
More communities are considering new public safety strategies outside of only policing and they need to understand their city’s current spending on safety to inform that... [read more]
December 1, 2021
The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative are... [read more]
August 26, 2021
In 2015, the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health (FSPH) and The Polis Center published an issue brief,... [read more]


May 26, 2022
Blog post - By: Matt Nowlin, Sarah Smith, Alankrit Gupta

The Polis Center

Blog post
December 1, 2021
Website - By: The Polis Center

The Polis Center

April 1, 2021
Report - By: The Polis Center at IUPUI and SAVI, IU Public Policy Institute’s Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, IU Center for Aging Research

The Polis Center

Report, Data

Partner Webinars

February 15, 2018 - 1:00pm

In 2014, we began holding virtual idea showcases after partners expressed the desire for more NNIP conversations between in-person meetings. Thanks to Idea Showcases, partners have shared their... [read more]

Presenters Matt Nowlin , Zafreen Jaffery , Steve Saylor
December 6, 2017 - 1:00pm

Sharon Kandris and Kevin Mickey explores potential roles for NNIP organizations in disaster mitigation... [read more]

Presenter Kevin Mickey