Indiana Department of Child Services Awards Marlin Jackson, Fight for Life Foundation Founder/CEO, with Prevention Provider of the Year 2024

Former Indianapolis Colt Recognized for Leadership and Dedication to Indianapolis Youth

(INDIANAPOLIS) – May 23, 2024 – The Indiana Department of Child Services has named Marlin Jackson, Fight for Life Foundation Founder & CEO and former Indianapolis Colt, its Region 10 Prevention Provider of the Year 2024. This award, presented annually, recognizes exceptional efforts in making a difference in the lives of children.

“Children are our future and as a community we have a responsibility to help each child reach their full potential – when there is a need for intervention, but also before trauma occurs,” said Peggy Surbey, Indiana Department of Child Services Regional Manager. “Marlin is an exceptional leader, and his prevention work through the Fight for Life Foundation is undoubtedly helping to save lives. He consistently goes above and beyond, truly standing out for his dedication and compassion to work with the community and help underserved youth have a high quality of life.”

“I often say this work takes a village because it’s true. I am honored to be the Indiana Department of Child Services Prevention Provider of the Year 2024,” Jackson said. “But I am also honored to work alongside committed organizations such as DCS, and countless others, including schools and community organizations, to help youth fight for life.”

Fight for Life Foundation (FFLF) is an Indianapolis not for profit organization, founded in 2007 by Jackson, that helps underserved youth develop. In 2018, FFLF, in partnership with Counterpart, created the Building Dreams platform (software/app), which can be accessed online using a computer, phone or tablet. Building Dreams is an award-nominated, comprehensive multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) program that equips program administrators with the data they need to support their teachers and students with resources to improve classroom management and understand underlying student behavior issues. The program also engages students with a fun, gamified program that rewards their responsible decision-making and ultimately helps meet their needs. The software as a service (SaaS) is expansive; it is packed full of features based off education models that are commonly used, such as: MTSS (multi-tiered system of supports), SEL (Social-emotional Learning), and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports).

Currently, over 6,000 Indianapolis youth are using the Fight for Life Building Dreams platform across 17 sites. Some schools are directly using software modules to monitor absenteeism (and related underlying issues), combat bullying, provide students with mechanisms to anonymously report (or self-report) safety issues, understand the needs of their students, teach critical social-emotional learning competencies, and more. There is also a unique communication portal similar to social media, where students can safely interact with each other and communicate with school leaders. Each school that licenses Building Dreams has the autonomy to customize the way it’s implemented to best fit the needs of the culture and climate.

To learn more about the Fight for Life Foundation, click here. To learn more about Indiana Department of Children Services prevention programs, click here.


About Marlin Jackson
Marlin Jackson is a former Indianapolis Colts cornerback. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, a social entrepreneur, and a lifelong-learner who sees every experience and encounter as an opportunity for learning. As a former collegiate and professional athlete, Marlin was groomed and developed within a structured, organized, and challenging environment. This experience of learning, in the classroom and in the arena of collegiate and professional football, caused Marlin to develop a unique perspective and skill set that is embedded in structure, organization, time-management, leadership, creativity, and passion. Over the years, Marlin has proven himself to be a goal-oriented, disciplined, and driven person who can do whatever is needed to help himself and others succeed. He has displayed these qualities throughout his life as a captain on the University of Michigan football team, in the National Football League with the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles, as a sports analyst and sports radio show co-host, and now, as President of Fight for Life Foundation, Revive Investments, Revive Property Group, MarlinJ28, and Prepare to Succeed. In 2012, Marlin married his beautiful wife, Mrs. Nikki Jackson. Together, they have three smart, handsome, loving boys: Camden, Kingston, and Kash Jackson. Mr. Jackson is extremely passionate about his faith, family, and occupational purposes in life.

About the Indiana Department of Child Services
The Indiana Department of Child Services leads the state’s response to allegations of child abuse and neglect and facilitates child support payments. We consider the needs and values of all we serve in our efforts to protect children while keeping families together whenever possible. The Indiana Department of Child Services empowers its team, in collaboration with state and local partners, to make decisions in the best interest of every child in our care by embracing: child safety, permanency, collaborative partnerships with foster and adoptive families, diversity, equity and inclusion, a culture of safety and transparency, and continuous improvement. To learn more, visit

About Fight for Life Foundation (FFL)
Our mission at Fight For Life Foundation (FFLF) is to help deserving but underserved youth develop the social and emotional qualities needed to be successful. Inspired by the vision of founder Marlin Jackson, the Foundation has supported underserved youth in developing the social and emotional qualities needed for success. Since its formation in 2007, the organization has delivered services to over 18,761 youth by providing such social-emotional learning programs. These qualities include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making through the use of technology, education, enriching experiences and wellness activities as the basis for positive youth development. For more information, visit:


Fight for Life Foundation –
Chelsea S. Reed | 317-353-3064

Indiana Department of Child Services –
Brian Heinemann

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