Phyllis A. Carr

Phyllis A. Carr has devoted her life to advancing civil rights and social justice in Indianapolis. She has spent more than 25 years defending the most vulnerable in our community as part of part of Indiana Legal Services, Inc. (ILS), a nonprofit law firm that fights poverty, empowers clients and improves access to justice by providing free civil legal assistance to low-income residents throughout the state of Indiana.

Carr’s legacy of fighting for social justice reaches far and wide in Indianapolis. Her work stems back to as early as the 1960s and 70s, when she worked closely with Reverend Andrew J. Brown to establish the Indiana Black Expo (IBE) to be an effective voice and vehicle for the social and economic advancement of African Americans. She has also been an active member of the NAACP-Indianapolis Chapter for more than 40 years and currently serves as secretary.

In the early 1980s, Carr became the first female board president of ILS. Her leadership helped the organization excel and grow during a very difficult time filled with severe funding cuts. She was awarded the Mary Ellen Hamilton Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for providing outstanding legal services to the poor. Carr is once again serving as the organization’s president, ensuring the organization has the resources, talent and funding to serve clients who are faced with legal problems that harm their ability to have such basics as food, shelter, income, medical care or personal safety.

Caring for her community is deeply rooted in Carr. She served as the president of Crosstown Neighborhood Association and worked on multiple projects in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. She has been elected to the Center Township Advisory Board 12 times, an organization that provides emergency and short-term assistance to clients to help them become self-sufficient.

“Phyllis Carr deeply loves the Indianapolis community and has worked endlessly to improve it,” said her 100 Heroes nominator Jon Laramore. From her years of service to the NAACP to her tireless work with ILS, Carr has spent her life strengthening Central Indiana and given a voice to those who otherwise may have gone unheard.