Katie Herrold

This photo was taken at the Ransburg YMCA swimming pool.  While the Y is technically not in Irvington, its community of members very much resembles the community that I find in Irvington – diverse, friendly, warm and welcoming.  Just as Irvington offers something for everyone, so too does the Ransburg Y pool – swimming lessons for kids, aqua fitness for older adults, quiet lanes for lap swimmers, and enthusiastic coaching for the competitive swim team.

This month our spotlight shines on Katie Herrold, who is a new IDO board member and has taken on the task of serving as chair of the fundraising committee. She also leads a very interesting life, working at times in the Middle East. Read on to learn more about Katie!

Tell us about yourself. 

I am a researcher.  I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, but when I attended a women’s liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts my eyes were opened to endlessly diverse perspectives.  The curiosity that I cultivated in college ultimately led me to study philanthropic practices in the Middle East.  As a PhD student I learned Arabic and conducted field research on foundations and nonprofit organizations in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.  Now, as a professor at IUPUI, I continue that research in Israel and Palestine and also have the privilege to teach and learn from my students.  I feel so fortunate to consider Irvington my home while still living and working for brief periods in the Middle East.

Why did you join the IDO board and its fundraising committee?

It is because of IDO’s efforts to develop the Washington Street corridor that I first discovered Irvington.  Shortly after moving to Indianapolis’s Chatham Arch neighborhood three years ago, I drove out Washington Street to swim at the Ransburg Y.  I nearly caused an accident when I reached Irvington’s “village” – what a lovely set of local shops and restaurants sandwiched between Taco Bells and White Castle chains!  Now as a resident of Irvington (Terrace), I’m excited to bring my knowledge of philanthropic strategy to IDO’s board and its fundraising committee.

What do you do for fun? 

I enjoy solitude, so I spend much of my free time alone in quiet activities.  I particularly enjoy swimming, reading, listening to classical music, and hiking.  I’m looking forward to spending IUPUI’s spring break with lots of books in a yurt in the middle of the woods in Michigan.  But I equally enjoy the adventure of my research.  There are endless surprises in the micro communities that inhabit the side streets of Middle Eastern cities, and my Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, and Israeli friends have introduced me to the joy that is found in more communal ways of life.

Favorite view in the neighborhood?

There is a hedge apple tree in Ellenberger Park under which I like to sit.  It allows one to watch the passersby and listen to the birds and leaves while thinking or reading.  Of course, it’s just as lovely to emerge from under that tree to the friendly smiles and waves of Irvington neighbors who are out for a walk or picnic in the park.

If you were Mayor of Irvington, what would you do? 

If I were mayor I would create a “community chest” to fund Irvington’s nonprofits and their programs.  The aim would be to streamline local fundraising and grant making and provide a perpetual source of support for local groups.


About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.To donate to IDO or become a member click here.