Archive for October, 2012

Foundation receives grant to advance literacy through parental engagement

HAMMOND | Hammond Education Foundation has received a $15,000 grant from the Legacy Foundation to fund a new child literacy program triggered by parental engagement.

The program, titled “Come and Read with Me,” expands on an initiative successfully introduced at Hammond’s Kenwood Elementary School during the 2011-12 school year. That program was funded by a Seedling Grant provided by the Hammond Education Foundation.

The “Come and Read with Me” program is being implemented at Edison, Franklin, Harding, Hess, Jefferson, Kenwood and Morton elementary schools. It will consist of a teacher training session and three workshops on reading strategies for parents of kindergarten and first-grade students.

While parents attend those workshops, their son/daughter will listen to a storyteller or guest reader, or participate in other literacy activities. The students then will reunite with their parent to choose a book to take home and read together.

“When children are learning how to read, many parents do not know how to help their children,” Hammond Education Foundation Executive Director Gail Rodovich said. “What’s more, many homes do not have age-appropriate books for young students to read. Parents who are able to help their children early in their school years go a long way in advancing student success.”

The Legacy grant will be used to cover all program expenses, including materials, facilitators, books and refreshments. All workshops will be completed by March.

The Hammond Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization of business, civic and educational leaders that has been in existence since 1983 and is committed to its mission of “Supporting Extraordinary Learning Experiences to Help Students Succeed.” HEF has distributed more than $1 million in classroom grants and scholarships within the School City of Hammond.

More information about the HEF may be found at www.hammondeducationfoundation.org.

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Dana Rifai

Shar Miller

Debra Howe

J. Brian Hittinger








Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, is proud to welcome four new community and business leaders to its Board of Directors. The new board members are superintendent of Tri-Creek School Corporation, Debra Howe; attorney at Krieg DeVault, J. Brian Hittinger; Shar Miller, chief executive officer of Prompt Ambulance Service; and Dana Rifai, attorney at Burke, Costanza & Carberry, LLP.

“As an organization that represents all of Lake County we seek the opportunity to involve individuals who are dedicated to moving the region forward through our strategic philanthropic endeavors. This class brings a wide and superb spectrum of talent to our Board table including two gift planning attorneys, a successful entrepreneur, and a cutting edge school superintendent,” said president and CEO of Legacy Foundation, Harry J. VandeVelde.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors also elected new officers, including owner of Financial Strategies LLC., Nancy Clifford, board chair; president and CEO of Cimcor, Robert Johnson III, vice-chair; chancellor emeritus and professor of philosophy at Purdue University Calumet, Howard Cohen, board secretary; Sandra Snearly-Vosberg, CPA, board treasurer and finance committee chair; attorney Danette Garza, investment committee chair; vice president branch manager at First Midwest Bank, Martha Rivas-Ramos, grant committee chair; and executive director of the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Dave Ryan, development committee chair.

Remaining 2012-13 board members include CEO of the Lake County Parks Department, Robert Nickovich, past board chair; Dave Austgen, senior partner at Austgen, Kuiper & Assoc., Margot Clark, community representative; Amy Han, director of development at Indiana University Northwest; Matthew Glaros, Employer Benefit Systems; Carol Highsmith, senior partner at Centier Bank; Tom Keilman, director of government and public affairs at BP; Janet Moran, owner of Copywrite Communications LLC.; and Michael Suggs, director of operations integration at Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

“The Board of Directors of Legacy Foundation represents and serves as the eyes, ears and voice of the varied constituencies in Lake County. We feel that the class of 2012 embodies our goal of involving talented, caring, philanthropically minded individuals in the advancement of our mission as a community foundation,” said VandeVelde.

Legacy recognizes its recently retired members: Kenneth Krupinski, David Bochnowski, Cornelia Brown, Fredricka Davidson, Frankie Fesko, Richard Komyatte, William Nangle, and Tory Prasco.

See the article in the Northwest Indiana Times:

Community, business leaders join Legacy board.

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