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The "Indy Hat" raises money to help adults with developmental disabilities

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Posted at 5:22 AM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 2024-04-15 14:36:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Do you have your race day outfit planned out yet or just looking for a way to rep the city?

Indiana native and NFL center Ted Karras, along with his longtime friend Matt Renie created ‘The Indy Hat,” to support the Village of Merici.

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Ted Karras plays for the Cincinatti Bengals and helped create the Indy Hat

Renie’s mom helped start, the village of Merici because of her son Jason’s developmental disability.

The VOM gives adults with developmental disabilities more freedom with independent housing, services and other programs.

The logo comes on hats, t-shirts and polos.

Renie said the VOM community loves to be a part of the project.

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The hats will be for sale at the track on Carb Day.

“One of the most fun parts of the project is just seeing the pride the residents take in the hats. They are so honored that a guy like Ted would take an interest in them. They've been involved in the project from day one. They get to help pack the hats every time there's a new shipment of hats come in, you know, four of them run down to the front office saying ‘the hats to are here, the hats are here’ and it's really providing, just kind of a you know, a jolt in enthusiasm to the entire community,” Matt Renie said.

100 percent of the profits raised by The Indy Hat Project will go to Village of Merici.

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The Indy Hat comes in black and white and benefits The Village of Merici.

The VOM has a waitlist of over 400 people.

The money raised through this campaign will help the organization triple its footprint here in the Circle City, going from about 20 apartments to more than 100.

“Construction has only gotten more expensive. That was a hard reality of COVID, the supply chain going crazy, interest rates going nuts. So, they, you know, they had purchased this building in I think 2020 or 2021 and at the time the project cost X well now the project costs Y and that Y is about $1,000,000 more. So it really was kind of halting their plans to say ‘do we have the funds to break ground on this?’ Now with the income stream that we've been able to provide that's really allowed them to act more confidently and move forward with the project,” Renie said.

The VOM is expanding to Carmel in the new North End apartments and adding a new building near Fort Benjamin Harrison.

So far, they’ve sold over $50,000 in gear.

Renie tells us they are quick to ship so you still have time to get the gear before race day.

They will also be at the track on Carb Day selling hats.

To learn more or to purchase a hat head to

This isn’t the first time Renie and Karras have teamed up to raise money for The VOM.

When Karras joined the Cincinnati Bengals, he designed a hat for his new teammates.

When fans took an interest in the hat Karras saw an opportunity to raise money for The VOM.

Since November 2022, more than 11,000 Cincy Hats have sold and the project raised more than 350,000 dollars for the Village of Merici.