Barbara Y. Howard

Barbara Y. Howard believes that “you have to care for your community. You have to volunteer, you have to become involved.” Community service is ingrained in Howard’s soul, thanks to her mother and a simple request to help a neighbor in need.

Howard’s community service began as a child, from helping her neighbor Ms. Jones with household chores to serving locals at the neighborhood store. The mantra in Howard’s household was to always try to do something for your neighbor. “I always remembered my upbringing – it stayed with me,” Howard stated.

For more than four decades, Howard served her community as an employee of Finance Center Credit Union, beginning as their first African-American teller and finishing her career as Assistant Vice President of Community Relations and Public Events. “I love helping people – I love working with people. Sometimes they didn’t appreciate it. You do what you can,” she shared.

Howard dedicates much of her time volunteering, inspired by the work of her mother. “My mother was very active in the community, I’m trying to follow in her footsteps,” she said. Howard has spent countless hours volunteering for local organizations, including United Way of Central Indiana, National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the Center for Leadership Development. “What I was taught as a child is helping people – that motivates me and keeps me going. And the satisfaction and appreciation that people share with me for what is done.”

Many organizations have benefited from Howard’s leadership, having served time on the boards and committees of The Indianapolis Department of Waterworks, YMCA Benjamin Harrison Branch, Forrest Manor Community Center, Indiana Black Expo, Alcohol Beverage Board, Circle City Classic and Community Centers of Indianapolis. “I feel blessed that I had something that I was contributing to someone, somebody, someplace.”

She’s thankful for her community and being given the opportunity to serve. “I’ve got from it as much as it’s given me,” she said. Her one wish for the community is that people become more involved. “Stop thinking about it and do it. Say yes – I would love to. Sure, I’ll give it a try. Give back. Don’t always be the taker, be the giver.”