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Stylish Support

The Indy Hat Project Supports Adults With Developmental Disabilities Through the Village of Merici

Writer / Renee Larr
Photographer / Justin Sicking

Back in November, Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Ted Karras launched The Cincy Hat as a philanthropic endeavor toThe Indy Hat benefit the Village of Merici in Indianapolis. Bengals fandom quickly took notice of the hat, and sales skyrocketed. To date, Karras has sold over 10,000 hats with a revenue of $375,000. Karras contributed an impressive $100,000 of his money to the project to get the ball rolling.

Karras has been a longtime supporter of Village of Merici, its mission and the people it serves. The organization provides direct support services, learning opportunities, and independent living through partnerships with various developers. The Village of Merici currently supports more than 75 people throughout Indianapolis with a goal of self-reliance.

Matt Renie, longtime friend of Karras and partner in The Cincy Hat project, says with the explosion of sales, it seemed only natural to add an Indy hat to the mix. The month of May is the best month of the year for many Indianapolis residents due to the Indy 500. With that in mind, Renie says they decided to design The Indy Hat. The hat features the iconic checkered flag that race fans know and love. Sales of The Indy Hat began April 6 and they have generated about $20,000 in revenue so far. There are also polo shirts with the same logo available.

“My family is a big Indy 500 family, and it’s always top of mind this time of year,” Renie says. “The Indy Hat project is more of a grassroots effort than The Cincy Hat. So, we knew it wouldn’t be an explosion of sales like The Cincy Hat, but I’m proud of what we’ve already accomplished.”

The Indy HatKarras is hosting Monte Carlo Night at Northside Events & Social Club (2100 East 71st Street in Indianapolis) on April 28, with proceeds benefitting the Village of Merci. The event costs $125 per ticket and features dinner, beer and wine, casino-style gaming provided by the Sertoma Club of Broad Ripple, a live band, an auction and prizes. Karras will discuss his involvement with the organization. Various other NFL players will be at the event.

“It’s the most elaborate fundraiser for Village of Merici,” Renie says. “It’s an entertaining event to get people involved and engaged in the mission. Ted is the host and will be on-hand to discuss his involvement and why these donations are so important.”

Karyl Davis, director of development for Village of Merici, says The Cincy Hat has been instrumental to the organization’s success. The funds raised from the sales of the hats and donations will help to finish a third building full of affordable housing for individuals with disabilities.

“Ted’s passion for our mission and his involvement has been transformational for the organization as a whole, but also the people we support,” Davis says. “They love when he comes to visit. It’s been so much fun, and we’re so grateful he’s shining a light on what we do and giving the people we support a purpose.”The Indy Hat

To purchase The Indy Hat, visit theindyhat.com. For more information on Village of Merici and the services offered, visit villageofmerici.org.

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