Ruth Ann Hankins

As the executive director of Heritage Place since 1980, Ruth Ann Hankins has made an impact on the lives of thousands and thousands of older adults in the Central Indiana community. Through different programs, classes and social activities, Heritage Place helps older adults avoid social isolation and continue living in their residence of choice.

Offering both center-based activities and in-home services, Heritage Place has a variety of educational classes like nutrition, knitting, Spanish, computer, fitness and more. With only three full-time staff members, Heritage Place relies heavily on volunteers to keep these programs running. Hankins works with and helps recruit these volunteers, and last year, assisted in successfully enlisting nearly 400 volunteers.

Hankins role as executive director allows her to do something different each day. In addition to working with volunteers, Hankins also creates budgets, writes funding proposals, makes public presentations and fundraises, just to name a few. Hankins said fundraising is one of her favorite roles at Heritage Place.

“It [fundraising] is keeping Heritage Place going financially in a very positive, solvent way,” Hankins said. “I have an entrepreneurial spirit and a board of directors that is eager to try new and different things. So far, we have developed four different annual fundraising events.”

One of the events, a workday fundraising breakfast, encourages the public to support Heritage Place with a donation after enjoying their meal. The oldest running fundraiser is an awards banquet, which honors six people each year for lifetime achievement. Funds are also raised during a golf scramble and a trivia game night.

Although Hankins loves the fundraising aspect of her job, she said the best part of her job is being able to develop relationships with the clients. “I can say that I have stayed in this field because of the people that I get to interact with and the clients that we serve,” Hankins said. “They are very inspiring, they are intelligent, they are survivors, they are caring and compassionate – they have been good role models for me.”

Hankins’ nominator, Jessica Kolanowski, said that Hankins dedicates much of her time to helping and supporting the clients of Heritage Place. “Ruth Ann’s leadership has promoted a culture of friendliness and trust at Heritage Place,” Kolanowski said. “When new clients arrive, they feel welcome, like this is a place where they belong.”