Helping COMMUNITIES Thrive

Community Matters

What does your community need to thrive? Thrive’s Community Development division is dedicated to making Indiana communities happier and healthier. We work with local counties to help develop their community goals and find resources to support them. Our work is driven by your creativity and ideas, and we love watching our communities grow. Connect with us to learn more and begin to build your community today!

At Thrive, our goal is to support our local communities in West Central Indiana in whatever they need. We want to see your community grow through new infrastructure, sidewalk renovations, revitalizing historic downtowns, new businesses, housing, and more. Thrive has led hundreds of projects over the years throughout West Central Indiana. All you have to do is reach out to us with your newest creative ideas and projects!

Thrive serves our region as the Economic Development District (EDD) and is accredited by the the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). Thrive has served our region in this capacity since 1968 and creates and leads our comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) for our region.

When your community approaches Thrive, our dedicated team will help you clarify your goals and strategize the best ways to reach them. We believe that planning is an essential step in community and economic development, and we prioritize it in our work. Once we have finished working with you to create a plan, Thrive will begin to reach out to state and federal organizations to apply for grants and seek funding partners for your projects! Our professionally trained grant writers and planners will draft, write, and edit your grant applications, giving you the best possible chance of receiving funding and support for your community!

Even after Thrive has connected you with resources and funding, our team will regularly check in and support your community throughout the development process. We believe that every community deserves to grow and experience revitalization, and we’re excited to stand with you every step of the way!

Our Focus

Our Community Development team is made up of highly skilled and creative individuals, each specializing in different aspects of community development. We use this broad set of skills to help bring your ideas to life!

Additionally, Thrive can help your community grow in the following areas:

  • Rural infrastructure
  • Historic property revitalization
  • Downtown development
  • Traffic Counting Program
  • Planning Support to Local Governments
  • Planning Support to INDOT (Central Office and District offices)
  • Planning Capacity Enhancements
  • Spark Revolving Loan Program for Businesses

  • And more!

We also connect our clients with several grants and programs, including:

  • EDA infrastructure programs

  • EPA: Brownfield programs

  • The Stellar Communities Program
  • Office for Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)
  • Community Development Block Grants
  • Small Urban and Rural Transportation Planning Assistance Program (SURTP)

  • And more!

RESOURCES YOU CAN TRUST

Throughout our 50+ years of operation, Thrive has collected many resources to aid our clients in the community building process. From webinars to presentations to our very own app, Thrive is happy to provide these free resources to our clients, available below!

Resource Library

SPARK Revolving Loan Fund

Introduced by Thrive in 2022, the SPARK Loan Fund provides new small businesses with funds at a low interest! At Thrive, we believe in the power of small businesses to improve communities and their quality of life. That’s why we paired with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Economic Development Administration, along with several other programs and local governments, to bring SPARK to West Central Indiana.

SPARK provides businesses in Clay, Montgomery, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo counties with the funds to start or grow their businesses.

Meet Our Team

Our dedicated Team is passionate about making a positive impact in our communities. Meet the experts who are helping our communities Thrive!

Community Development Team

Karen Schneiders
Karen SchneidersDirector of Community Development

Karen Schneiders joined Thrive West Central in 2021 after retiring from the Colorado Department of Transportation. With an extensive and devoted career in Transportation Planning, she is unwavering in her commitment to enhancing the livability of communities. During her career, Karen collaborated closely with local agencies, working on diverse projects such as securing trail funding, finding transportation safety investment opportunities, preserving scenic easements, and restoring historic sites.

Karen’s wealth of experience is complemented by her educational background, which includes a bachelor’s degree in Urban/Regional Studies from Indiana State University and another in Organizational Leadership for Government and Non-Profits from Colorado State University.

In her leisure time, Karen actively participates in the Clay County chapter of Delta Theta Tau and enjoys quality moments at home with her dogs while exploring the rich offerings of Indiana.

Kristine Krueger
Kristine KruegerAssociate Director of Community Development

Kristine Krueger, a seasoned grant administrator certified by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, collaborates on diverse projects with the public, elected officials, and stakeholders, focusing on economic development, infrastructure, and the environment. Proficient in labor standards, she serves as a labor standards officer for various infrastructure projects. Kristine excels in initiating and completing environmental reviews, ensuring compliance with NEPA and state requirements, linking financial resources for successful projects with funding from multiple state and federal agencies.

She played a pivotal role in establishing a regional sewer district in Northern Indiana, contributing to its expansion and construction projects.

Throughout her career, Kristine has been instrumental in securing and implementing federally funded projects through agencies like HUD, EDA, EPA, USDOT, and USDA. She manages state-funded initiatives, showcasing comprehensive skills in grant administration and project management across various projects, from infrastructure improvements to job creation and quality of life enhancements.

Jordan Cunningham
Jordan Cunningham Grant Writer

Jordan Cunningham is a dedicated professional committed to making a positive impact. Bringing a degree in public relations from IUPUI’s School of Journalism, she values the transformative power of effective communication. At Thrive West Central, Jordan excels as a proactive leader and has recently become a certified grant administrator through OCRA. Her focus lies on projects involving blight clearance, redevelopment, brownfields, and business development. Currently, she plays a pivotal role in leading a $2 million EDA project, showcasing expertise and unwavering dedication. Jordan collaborates closely with business owners, providing guidance for development and grant opportunities, and contributed significantly to the EDA Recompete Pilot Program application process. In her current position, she actively engages the public for Thrive projects, ensuring initiatives resonate with the community. Jordan’s hands-on approach establishes meaningful connections, enhancing the overall impact of agency endeavors. Her passion, expertise, and dedication make her an invaluable asset, propelling projects and reinforcing a commitment to positive change.

Tyler Hudson
Tyler HudsonGIS Analyst

Tyler Hudson became apart of Thrive in 2022. He came with a Bachelors degree in Science, and experience with GIS to become our GIS Analyst. Tyler prides himself on being an organized analytical problem solver. Tyler has supported Thrive through many different avenues. Through creating spatial mapping for grants and projects, to analyzing census and local data to help clients with funding opportunities. His experience at Thrive has allowed him to become more immersed and confident in the geospatial systems that our State uses. Tyler influenced change internally by creating a system for how to collect data in and out of the field, and created and maintains our management system of all the data collected.

Tyler enjoys working in team-based settings where he often like to lead the team in achieving a particular goal. Tyler believes communication and organization is a great asset to a team when achieving these goals. Tyler looks forward to continuing his education and become certified in GIS.
Tyler often likes to spend his free time being creative through many mediums of art as well as adventuring outside with his wife and friends.

Chris Hicks
Chris HicksData Collection Specialist

Chris joined Thrive West Central in August 2023 as our Data Collection Analyst, responsible for setting up tube and video traffic counting devices on roads following INDOT policies. His role extends beyond routine tasks, contributing to effective traffic management and infrastructure planning. Adhering to strict policies ensures the efficiency and safety of the road network.

In addition, Chris conducts an essential inventory of roadway signs for rural counties, vital for driver safety. He recognizes the potential hazards of defective or missing signs, actively working to prevent confusion and traffic crashes in the community.

Chris, a devoted family man with four children, balances his professional and personal life, exemplifying a holistic approach. His commitment to both roles makes him a valuable asset to Thrive West Central and the community at large.

Admin Team

Ryan Keller
Ryan KellerChief Executive Officer
Shelly Madden
Shelly MaddenChief Operating Officer
Gabriel Cheek
Gabriel CheekChief Technology Officer & Marketing
Ashley Gordon
Ashley GordonDirector of Human Resources
Shelly Amerman
Shelly AmermanBusiness Development Strategist
Chris Durcholz
Chris DurcholzLeadership Coach
Dana McLain
Dana McLainController
Erik Nicholson
Erik NicholsonStaff Accountant
Alison Bryant
Alison BryantAccount Specialist
Becky Edwards
Becky EdwardsReception
Kirrsten Todd
Kirrsten ToddReception

Experience the Thrive Difference 

Choose Thrive West Central Community Development Team and turn development challenges into community-enhancing successes. Connect with us today and let’s build thriving communities together.

Contact us today to learn more about our offerings and how we can help your community thrive.

  • Working under a contract with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Thrive is working to collect an inventory of street signs in our region. Street signs are an essential aspect of public and street safety, helping drivers follow traffic laws

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  • For three years, Clay County has hosted “Hometown Christmas,” an event intended to encourage residents to stay local for their Christmas shopping. Through Hometown Christmas, Clay County residents could receive a punch card. As they visited and bought from several

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  • Thrive’s Community Development team paired with the City of Sullivan this year to update the city’s ADA Sidewalk Plan. This plan, which complies with the Title VI Americans with Disabilities Act, intends to ensure that Sullivan sidewalks and facilities are

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  • SPARK Loans Success Stories Thrive is proud to offer the SPARK Revolving Loan fund to our region, allowing local entrepreneurs to start or grow their small businesses! With over 1 million dollars in lending capital and flexible rates, the SPARK

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