Shar Miller, owner of Prompt Ambulance and Legacy Foundation Board Member

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Plan for your death, help your heirs

This past Father’s Day, Prompt Ambulance Owner and Legacy Foundation Board Member Shar Miller, shared a personal story of what it meant for her father to leave a legacy when he passed. Read the full article on the NWI Times website. Contact Legacy Foundation today or visit our website at www.legacyfdn.org to find out how you can give a gift that will benefit the charities you love for years to come.


“I’ve always had a problem with confidence,” one student wrote in her Give in Lake County: High School Challenge essay. “But working with the younger children at our middle school made me realize that I, too, can be confident in my skills.”

Legacy Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the first Give in Lake County: High School Challenge. The 30-day effort encouraged Lake County high schools and high school students to celebrate National Volunteer Month by volunteering, fundraising or entering the essay contest.

Hammond High School and the American Diabetes Association won the volunteer contest and will each receive $1000. Highland High School and Halo of Hope won the fundraising competition and will each receive $1000. Munster High School Senior Emma Hong won the essay contest and will receive a $1000 college scholarship. High school staff members Amy Vezmar, professional school counselor at Highland High School, and Maritza Medina, foreign language instructor at Hammond High School, will both receive a $100 gift card for coordinating their school’s participation in the challenge.

“Highland High School stands proud with its student volunteers who dedicated their time and effort to helping other school-aged children in need,” said Vezmar.

For the volunteer competition, high school students were asked to volunteer from April 1 to April 30 and track their hours. Hammond High School, Hanover Central High School and Whiting High School participated in the volunteer contest contributing a total of 158 service hours. Hammond High School volunteered 68 hours for the month, the most of the three schools. Hanover Central High School came in second place with 46.5 hours. Whiting High School trailed Hanover by three hours. The American Diabetes Association received the most volunteer hours.

The fundraising competition required participating high schools to select a nonprofit organization to fundraise for throughout the month of April. The school and the nonprofit utilized the free Legacy Foundation Donor Engagement Platform to raise funds for the cause.

Hammond High School, Highland High School and Whiting High School raised $1599 for three organizations. Highland High School raised $583 on behalf of Halo of Hope Foundation, an organization that provides emotional, financial and educational support to children and their families who are facing cancer. Whiting High School raised $510 for the American Cancer Society, dedicated to helping persons who face cancer through research, patient services, early detection, treatment and education. Hammond High School raised $506 for the American Diabetes Association that leads the fight for those affected by diabetes.

“Our student leaders spearheaded the research and promotion of our fundraising activities for this year’s Give in Lake County: High School Challenge,” said Vezmar, “setting an admirable example for their peers by helping to instill values such as responsibility, selflessness, and awareness.”

The essay contest required students to submit 500 words or less describing how they would make Lake County a better place to live, work, worship and play. Hong was selected as the winning essay writer by members of the Legacy Foundation Grants Committee.

In her essay Hong wrote that “meaningful change begins in our own backyard.”  She would like to see Lake County high schools collaborate through a student-led committee to plan diversity events and community service projects.

Nine students from five high schools submitted original ideas. Some students wanted to implement mentoring programs to eradicate bullying or give youth role models. Others wanted to unify the community across high schools by introducing leadership activities or sports clubs that spanned city and town boundaries. Highland, Hobart, Lake Central, Morton, and Munster high schools each had essay submissions.

“Legacy Foundation developed the Give in Lake County: High School Challenge because we understand the need to engage Lake County youth in the practices of philanthropy. The challenge not only provided opportunities for our students to volunteer and fundraise for local nonprofit organizations, but we were also able to witness their hard work and the level of commitment they have towards their community,” said Legacy Foundation Program Officer Barry Tyler.

About Legacy Foundation

Legacy Foundation is a community foundation and the leading philanthropic partner in Lake County, Ind. Through the generosity of a wide base of donors, Legacy Foundation has awarded nearly $30 million in grants and scholarships to nonprofit organizations and individuals since its founding in 1992. The mission of Legacy Foundation is to encourage philanthropy, support good works and inspire leadership. The vision of Legacy Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council is to create the next generation of philanthropist, who will strengthen the community through service and leadership. Legacy Foundation and its partners are committed to providing service opportunities for Lake County students, encouraging youth leadership throughout the community and inspiring the next generation of philanthropic leaders. If you are a teen or know of a high school student that would like to become involved with Legacy Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council, please contact us at legacy@legacyfdn.org.


Six exceptional Lake County students have been named recipients of four-year, full-tuition scholarships as the Legacy Foundation 2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars.

(As pictured) Haley Johnson, daughter of Shannan Kuesis; Jazzlynn Baines, daughter of Evelyn Baines; Katelyn Goodrich, daughter of David and Jacqueline Goodrich; Austin Brown, son of James and Diane Brown; Brianna Scivinsky, daughter of Joseph and Carol Scivinsky; and Maya Briseno Portillo, daughter of Olga Briseno, will each receive full tuition to the Indiana college or university of his or her choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

“The Lilly Endowment Scholarship has provided me with many wonderful opportunities,” said Brianna Scivinsky of Whiting High School. “This scholarship has given me so much more than a college education. It has given me the opportunity to change numerous lives within my community.”

Scivinsky plans to attend Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, where she will study biology. Her goal is to attend medical school and specialize in hematology.

Haley Johnson of Calumet High School also has dreams of pursuing a career in medicine and giving back to her community. Johnson’s goal is to become a nurse practitioner. She will attend Purdue University Calumet in the fall.

Maya Briseno Portillo of Munster High School said her college dreams have become a reality thanks to her supportive family and the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. Briseno Portillo will attend Indiana University and pursue a double major in public policy and international relations. She also plans to minor in Spanish.

“To me, the Lilly Endowment Scholarship means less worry and a better opportunity to be successful in life,” said Jazzlynn Baines of Hammond High School.

In high school, Baines enjoys playing softball and volleyball. She chose to attend Purdue University, where she hopes to study engineering.

Griffith High School student, Austin Brown, also said the award would allow him to earn a degree without the burden of student loan debt after college.

Brown will attend Wabash College. He enjoys playing team sports and said his favorite activities are football, baseball and basketball.

Katelyn Goodrich, who is the 2013 Class Secretary at Gavit High School said, “The Lilly Endowment Scholarship represents community and activism.” In the future, Goodrich hopes to become a political journalist, focusing on fraud and corruption investigations. She will attend Butler University.

All Lake County high schools were invited to submit an applicant for the scholarship. A total of 228 students from 24 high schools applied for the 2013 awards. Those students nominated by their high schools were evaluated based on academic performance, leadership skills, service to others, character, a written narrative, demonstrated financial need and an interview.

Then Legacy Foundation’s scholarship committee interviews the nominees and selects six students as recipients of the awards. Then the names were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana for final approval. ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree-granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state and administers the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program for Indiana’s 92 counties.

The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree. There were 142 scholarships awarded statewide.

Take the Give in Lake County: High School Challenge to give, lead, and make a difference in your community for one month. Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s community foundation, asks teens and high schools to volunteer and fundraise from April 1 to April 30 for a chance to win $1000.

Legacy Foundation is offering a $1000 grant to both the high school and the nonprofit that log the most volunteer hours; a $1000 grant to both the high school and the nonprofit that raise the most money; and a $1000 college scholarship to the student that wins the essay/ video contest. That’s a total of $5000 for giving back to your community!

“Philanthropy is not the bastion of the wealthy; in fact philanthropy is the arena for all to engage in improving the quality of life for our fellow man,” said Harry Vande Velde, president and CEO of Legacy Foundation. “Legacy Foundation created the High School Challenge to engage one of our most energetic and vital constituencies, teenagers! We recognize that teenagers are a marvelous resource in Lake County and the “Challenge” allows them to have some framework to work within, to become participants in a program that benefits their school, their community and themselves.”

For 30 days, high school students will tally their volunteer hours and fundraising dollars to show their school’s philanthropic pride. Give in Lake County: High School Challenge consists of three contests, each with at least $1000 at stake.

  • Volunteering– Volunteer with any Lake County nonprofit organization between April 1 and April 30. Track your volunteer hours. The school that logs the most hours will receive $1000 and the organization that receives the most volunteer hours will be granted $1000.
  • Fundraising– Each high school will select one (1) nonprofit organization to fundraise for throughout April. Promote the need and collect donations on the Legacy Foundation Donor Engagement Platform (www.legacyfdn.org/giveleadmakeadifference). In addition to the raised funds, the nonprofit that receives the most donations will be awarded $1000. The nominating high school will also win $1000.
  • Essay/ Video– have an innovative idea about how to make Lake County a better place to live, work and play? Tell us in 500 words or less, or create a 2-3 minute video. The student with the most inventive idea will receive a $1000 college scholarship.

Throughout the month of April, celebrate National Volunteer Month by getting youth involved with a worthy nonprofit organization. Encourage students to help a nonprofit better serve Lake County by raising funds or giving their time. On average, 15.5 million teenagers volunteer annually, contributing more than 1.3 billion hours of service.[1] Let’s see how many hours our teens can give in one month!

In addition to getting youth actively engaged in their communities, volunteering also helps indicate stronger academic achievement, greater interest in political and current events, and decreased participation in risky behaviors[2]. These positive behaviors become stronger with school-based service, especially among disadvantaged youth.

For many students, school plays a big role in whether or not they choose to volunteer or get the chance to serve. Service activities provided by the school may give youth their first experiences in developing a sense of belonging to a larger community and how they can be involved in it.

There is no deadline to sign up, but Lake County high schools are encouraged to register with Legacy Foundation soon, providing a staff contact who will serve as the high school’s representative. The staff representative from the winning schools of the volunteer contest and the fundraising contest will both win a $100 gift card.

For contest details visit: http://www.legacyfdn.org/youthphilanthropycouncilcontest.php.

Give big. Win big. Are you up to the challenge?

When it comes to education, Legacy Foundation is proud to manage 30 scholarship funds established by community members that serve a range of students as diverse as Lake County. Whether attending a two-year technical program or a four-year university, college can be expensive and searching for the right scholarship can be difficult. Legacy Foundation simplifies that search by providing a complete list of scholarships awards, including the qualifications, deadlines, and applications. Start the process today, by applying for one of these scholarships with an upcoming deadline.

  • D.J. and Rose Nidetz Scholarship was created to support students and the arts by awarding to high school seniors and college undergraduates who have participated in productions for member theaters of the Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theater Foundation. Deadline to apply: April 15, 2013
  • Patrick Lindsey Memorial Scholarship supports graduating minority seniors from a Lake County High School whose undergraduate study will be in visual art, theater, music, or dance. Deadline to apply: April 15, 2013
  • Dr. John Maniotes Scholarship provides support for graduating high school seniors whose parent or grandparent is a current employee of Lake County government. Deadline to apply: April 1, 2013
  • Roger Begnoche Scholarship is awarded to a male resident of Indiana, accepted as a full-time student in a school of nursing or expects to pursue a degree in education. Deadline to apply: April 15, 2013
  • Webster Cornwell Memorial Scholarship was created to support a graduating senior from Hammond High School who wants to attend an accredited college or university on a full-time basis. Deadline to apply: April 15, 2013
  • Fred and Louise Latshaw Scholarship was established by the Legacy Board of Directors to help employees who work for nonprofits or have a fund at Legacy Foundation, pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree. Deadline to apply: April 15, 2013
  • Good Teachers Count Scholarship supports students that are half-way through their undergraduate or graduate degree program in teaching, and who live in Lake County. Deadline to apply: April 15, 2013

To learn more about these and other scholarship opportunities, download a copy of the Legacy Foundation Scholarship Information booklet at http://legacyfdn.org/PDFs/Scholarship_Information_Booklet.pdf, or visit the Legacy Foundation website at http://legacyfdn.org/scholarships.php

Legacy Foundation is thrilled to announce the success of the Knight Foundation Match Grant Challenge, thanks to the generous support of local donors combined with national support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Legacy Foundation partners with national foundations to increase the investment in services for our Lake County community.

Over the 2012 holiday season, Legacy Foundation fund holders raised over $30,000 to grow their endowment funds that support a range of Lake County needs. Fund holders put Legacy’s Donor Engagement Platform, an online fundraising tool, to the test by campaigning for online donations that would be matched by the Knight Foundation. 

“By making it easier to donate online, we hope to merge people’s personal passions with Lake County needs,” said Bahia Ramos Synnott, director/community foundations at Knight Foundation.

The Knight Foundation, a $2.2 billion national funder, is committed to making Gary a more informed and engaged community, investing up to $2.5 million in the area, as part of its $70 million Community Foundation Initiative. Legacy Foundation holds the Knight Foundation permanent endowment fund that will serve the Gary area perpetually.

Using the Donor Engagement Platform, residents are able to search for causes that match their giving interests, search for volunteer opportunities, and make donations to Lake County nonprofit organizations and Legacy Foundation funds.

Legacy Foundation stands with the Knight Foundation in believing that communities are better served when its citizens are informed about issues and engaged in change. Legacy uses the Donor Engagement Platform as an online tool for all community members to become agents of change in Lake County.

“We’re excited by the prospect of new digital tools making it easier for residents to connect more deeply with non-profits in the community,” Ramos Synnott said.

During the Knight Foundation Match Grant Challenge, all individuals, families and nonprofit organizations holding a fund at Legacy Foundation were encouraged to promote their good works on the Foundation’s Donor Engagement Platform. 

“Legacy’s Donor Engagement Platform is, hands down, the easiest fundraising tool I’ve ever used for harnessing the donor potential of my personal network,” said John Vinzant, president of Miller Community Fund, Inc. “I was really pleased at how seamlessly Legacy handled both the donor and remittance process.”

Of the organizations that participated, Chorus Angelorum raised the most dollars for its fund. The participating funds support education, community development, health, and other causes throughout Lake County.

Participating Fund Holders

  • Cara M. Spicer Special Scholarship Fund
  • Hammond Education Foundation Endowment Fund
  • Lisa Austgen Education Fund
  • Miller Community Endowment Fund
  • Highland Community Foundation Endowment Fund
  • Meals on Wheels Endowment Fund
  • St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Fund
  • Legacy Foundation Endowment Fund (LCCF)
  • Chorus Angelorum Endowment Fund
  • Womenade Fund
  • Boys and Girls Club Endowment Fund 

Legacy Foundation is supported by the Knight Community Foundations Program in its efforts to invest in spaces, both physical and virtual, that allow people to join efforts and participate in changing their communities. Through the Foundation’s partnerships with national funders, Legacy is able to increase its investment in services for our Lake County community.

Legacy Foundation is proud to work with Lake County nonprofits in assisting them through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) application process. Let Legacy help your organization apply for NAP tax credits, and give your donors even more incentive to make a contribution.

Many nonprofits face similar challenges when providing services to a low-income population: increasing needs, declining funding, and old or overused facilities. These challenges can stand in the way of a nonprofit’s ability to pursue its mission and effectively care for its clients.

The goal of the NAP program is to provide citizens and businesses in Indiana with an incentive to contribute to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, the credits serve as a way to encourage community services that improve the standard of living and quality of life for Indiana residents.

NAP is established by Indiana State Code 6-3.1-9, and offers up to $2.5 million annually in tax credits to not-for-profit organizations that can use the credits as motivation for donors. Programs centered on neighborhood-based services in economically disadvantaged areas can use the credits to leverage more donations from individuals and businesses. Eligible programs include: counseling, emergency assistance, medical care, recreational facilities, housing, economic development assistance, crime prevention, education, job training, and neighborhood assistance.

Tax credits are distributed to donors at 50% of the contribution amount, and are subtracted from the donor’s state income tax liability. In order for a donor to receive the tax deduction, the individual’s annual contributions must total at least $100 and may not exceed $50,000.

Online applications will be available Friday, March 1, and are due by Friday, March 29, 2013 at 5 pm. All applicants must attend one of the five application webinars being held February 13-17, prior to application submission.

For assistance in filling out your organization’s NAP application, contact Legacy Foundation by email at legacy@legacyfdn.org or by phone at 219-736-1880. To view an application webinar or get more details about the NAP program, visit the website for the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority at http://www.in.gov/ihcda/2526.htm