Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, today (May 2) held a lively Town Hall session with more than 100 representatives from area nonprofit organizations to educate them about important new resources and tools offered by the foundation.

“Legacy Foundation has been granting funds into the community and building partnerships with area nonprofits for 20 years,” said Harry J. Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer. “We are proud to bring the area’s nonprofit sector the next level of collaboration tools, training and development opportunities and online resources that will help them raise money and build capacity. This will, over the long term, benefit the people of Lake County by enhancing the delivery of services from these organizations.”

The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation

Legacy Foundation introduced The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit mentoring and resource center. Through The Think Tank, Legacy Foundation staff and partners will help the area’s nonprofit sector solve problems and enhance nonprofit organizations’ capacity to deliver services.

Resources offered by The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation include:

  • Capacity-building grants
  • Facilitation of Communities of Practice
  • Meeting facilitation
  • Free meeting space at Legacy Foundation’s convenient Merrillville offices
  • Collection of online resources
  • Referrals to community training resources
  • Research, data collection and analysis
  • Development of young philanthropists in Northwest Indiana
  • Fundraising opportunities for Lake County nonprofits via www.legacyfdn.org

A primary focus for The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation over the next year will be building communities of practice. Communities of practice bring together participants including nonprofit members, business professionals, civic leaders, religious leaders, funders and donors to build innovative partnerships that address community needs. The participants share their knowledge in specific service areas, which may include arts and culture, education, the environment and human services.

The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation is led by Director Trish Alt, who brings an extensive background in community foundation leadership and nonprofit collaboration to Legacy Foundation.

New grant opportunities

Legacy Foundation announced a new grantmaking strategy designed to strengthen the Lake County community.

“We define a strong Lake County community as one where informed and engaged citizens want to live, work, worship and play,” said Lara Kalwinski, Legacy Foundation vice president. “Our nonprofit community thrives as we dedicate ourselves to the collaborative spirit and to demonstrating collective impact.”

Legacy offers grants for:

  • Nonprofit Training – up to $2,000 for organizations seeking professional guidance on how to manage their operations, programming, and fundraising
  • Transforming Lake County – programming that relates to a measure of improved economic, social or environmental well-being
  • Informed and Engaged Urban Communities – grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Fund for organizations bringing residents together to collectively address issues residents identify as important and to take action in ways they themselves deem appropriate
  • Neighborhood Spotlight – collaborative efforts targeting local needs, coming in 2013
  • Improving Student Success – for organizations working to increase high school graduation rates, college and career opportunities
  • Supporting Hobart Seniors – grants from the Maria Reiner Senior Citizens Fund to support a vibrant senior community in Hobart

Online fundraising platform

Legacy Foundation also introduced an online donor engagement platform that enables nonprofit organizations to fundraise directly from the community with minimal effort and no cost. By simply clicking on the “Give in Lake County” button on Legacy Foundation’s newly redesigned website, www.legacyfdn.org, a 501(c)(3) organization can post and promote a need to the community.

Members of the public are encouraged to visit Legacy Foundation’s website often, click on “Give in Lake County,” and view local needs. Giving even a small amount can help an organization make a difference in the community.

$10,000 Cara Spicer Award

Vande Velde announced the application process for the Cara Spicer Award, a $10,000 one-time award to be made later this year to a Lake County organization.

Applicants for the award must have participated in Legacy Foundation’s previous Great Lake Award Initiative workshops for at least three years and must not have received the Great Lake Award for Excellence. Applications will be available via Legacy Foundation’s website June 1, with completed applications due August 1. The award will be presented in late fall.

For more details on all these programs, see Legacy Foundation’s newly redesigned website at www.legacyfdn.org.


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Lara Kalwinski, Vice President

Hammond native leads grantmaking and fund stewardship initiatives

Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, has named Lara Kalwinski as Vice President.

Kalwinski, of Hammond, is responsible for management of all Legacy Foundation grants initiatives. She also participates in asset development for the foundation, with responsibility for fund stewardship and donor relationship management.

“The board of directors and staff of Legacy Foundation are thrilled to have a leader with Lara’s intelligence, knowledge of the Northwest Indiana nonprofit and business communities, and insightful world view join our team,” said Harry J. Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer. “She brings a unique combination of roots in Lake County and experience helping to build philanthropic organizations nationwide and worldwide to her new role.”

Kalwinski previously was director of philanthropic sustainability at PHJC Foundation in Hobart. Prior to that role, she served as director of international development in Bangalore, India, for Ancilla Systems Inc. She also was a manager and consultant with the Hammond Urban Enterprise Association; and worked as a researcher for the Columbia Law School in New York, the Mauer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington, and Legacy Foundation.

Kalwinski earned a Juris Doctor degree, a master’s degree in public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management, and a bachelor’s degree in political science, all from Indiana University in Bloomington.


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Basheer Jones, a poet, motivational speaker, radio host and activist, will keynote Northwest Indiana’s third annual Mentor Summit, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 at the Library Conference Center at Indiana University Northwest.

The summit offers organizers of youth mentoring programs, and adults interested in mentoring youth, information about creating effective and sustainable mentoring opportunities. Registration is $25 per person, including lunch. Registration at the door is $35. The Mentor Summit is produced by the Center for Mentors co-op members and is held each January during National Mentoring Month.

At 27, Jones has achieved a reputation as an engaging and inspiring leader. He hails from Cleveland, Ohio, by way of Brooklyn, N.Y. He credits the influence of a mentoring program during high school, and its leader who became a “father figure” to him, with much of his inspiration to pursue his dreams. He went on to graduate from Morehouse College with honors, is an acclaimed spoken word artist, Essence Award winner, was the youngest news talk radio host in the country, and founded The Basheer Jones Foundation. He was a leader of youth voter registration efforts and community rallies during the 2008 presidential election.

“Like Basheer, most successful adults can point to at least one person who influenced their lives when they were younger,” said Harry J. Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer of Legacy Foundation. “Mentoring can improve a child’s educational experience as well as opportunities for the future. We have terrific resources in Northwest Indiana to create and support a variety of mentoring programs, and this summit gives the business and non-profit communities tools to further those resources.”

 Breakout sessions during the Mentor Summit will include:

  • Elements of effective practice, facilitated by Cindy Borden, a trainer, facilitator and technical assistance provider with more than 15 years of experience in youth development.
  • Building quality mentoring relationships based on best practices, facilitated by Dr. Clara Giles Carter, Ed.D., president of Management Consultant Services, a human resource management firm that has provided technical assistance in building and maintaining collaborations directed to community outreach in preparing youth for the future workforce.
  • Attendees also will participate in a session on outcome evaluation, or tools for evaluating mentoring programs, presented by Candice Singleton of the Indiana Youth Institute.

 For more information and to register for the Mentor Summit, contact Eric Evans at Geminus Corporation at (219) 757-1883 or eric.evans@geminus.org.

New this year, Jones also will speak at a Teen Summit to be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, 7770 Corrine Drive, Hammond. This event is free and open to the first 100 students who register. Contact Barry Tyler at btyler@legacyfoundationlakeco.org for more information.

The Center for Mentors is an initiative of Legacy Foundation facilitated in partnership with Geminus Prevention Services. Since its founding in 2010, the Center has trained more than 150 people to work with youth through virtual and place-based strategies to promote mentoring in Northwest Indiana.

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Larger space in Merrillville’s Twin Towers accommodates expanding capacity to serve Lake County’s philanthropic needs

(MERRILLVILLE, Indiana) – Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s philanthropic partner, has moved to larger office space in the Twin Towers office complex at the intersection of    I-65 and U.S. 30 in Merrillville.

Legacy Foundation’s new address is 1000 East 80th Place, North Tower 402, Merrillville, Indiana 46410. The phone number remains (219) 736-1880.

Previously Legacy Foundation was located on the third floor of the South Tower. The new space features a multipurpose classroom, more individual offices for staff, and a spacious reception area for guests.

The expansion was necessary to accommodate Legacy Foundation’s growth as a leader in providing philanthropic resources to the Lake County community. The foundation provides grants, manages funds and scholarships, offers development workshops to nonprofit organizations and professional advisors, and partners with community leaders to support projects that solve problems and enhance lives.

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Lake County’s philanthropic partner awards nearly $143,000 in recent grants

Local students who may never before have had the opportunity to prepare for college entrance exams will have a better chance to go to college and prepare for careers through a grant from Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s philanthropic partner.

Legacy Foundation recently awarded The First Tee of Hammond $6,500 to help fund its ACT/SAT Prep and Golf Career Awareness program. Tiffani English, interim executive director of The First Tee of Hammond, said the program helps First Tee participants become more prepared for college entrance exams, as well as to consider golf-related careers.

“We’re trying to help our high-school participants be more prepared to go to college and to stay in college,” English said. “This program also helps them complete and submit a college application, learn about financial aid, and gives the opportunity for career and job shadowing.”

The grant, from Legacy Foundation’s College Readiness Fund, is among nearly $143,000 awarded recently to area nonprofit organizations. With the latest grant cycle, Legacy Foundation distributed nearly $555,700 to Lake County organizations during its 2010-11 fiscal year. The total includes $193,600 awarded to the City of Hobart, from the Maria Reiner Senior Citizens Fund managed by Legacy Foundation, to construct and furnish the city’s first-ever dedicated senior center.

“The power of philanthropy is that Legacy Foundation has brought a half-million dollars of donors’ funds into the community to benefit preschoolers through senior citizens,” said Harry J. Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer of Legacy Foundation. “These worthy projects will enhance educational attainment, broaden civic and cultural opportunities in the region and support people in need.”

Other recent awards made by Legacy Foundation include:

From the Lake County Community Fund:


Chorus Angelorum – $9,550 to support the 26th Annual Concert of Music.

Indiana University Northwest – $4,500 to support the publication of “Dreams of Duneland,” a coffee-table book with several hundred color photographs and approximately 100 historic photographs. This funding will help cover the cost of printing, making the book more affordable for members of the community.

White’s Residential & Family Services, Inc. – $8,703 to support two 15-week sessions of the Nurturing Families Program and one 13-week session of the Nurturing Fathers Program to alleviate child abuse in at-risk Lake County homes.

Our Family Center – $15,000 to support an after-school tutoring and mentoring program for at-risk children, and the expansion of a youth leadership program during summer day camp.

From the College Readiness Fund:


Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana – $25,000 to support college preparatory activities, college tours, participation in the African American Student Achievement Conference and other college readiness efforts.

Communities in Schools of East Chicago – $8,700 to implement a program to assist all enrolled students and graduates and successfully access post-secondary educational opportunities.

Educating to Excel – $15,000 for continuation of mentoring and college and career readiness activities for low-income, potential first generation college students in grades 6-12.

Gary Life Education Initiative – $15,000 for continuation of college readiness opportunities for students in need at Lew Wallace STEM Academy.

G.E.M.S. – $5,000 for implementation of college readiness workshops and higher educational institute tours for early exposure to a post-secondary educational setting.

International Institute of LACASA – $5,000 for implementation of a student assistance program that will provide information and options to aid in the decision to attend post-secondary education through developing college preparation plans, college visits, and distribution of information.

Our Family Center – $11,400 to implement a college preparatory program that will discuss and provide scholarship opportunities, incentives, part-time guidance counselors, tutoring, mentoring, PSAT/SAT prep, financial aid counseling, and college tours.

Purdue University Calumet’s TRIO Program – $1,000 for the expansion and continuation of community-based seminars and workshops that address college access issues such as admissions standards and financing.

Salvation Army Gary/Merrillville – $11,500 for continuation of after-school and summer programs that focus on the remediation of children in math and language arts while promoting college preparedness and access initiatives.

From the Maria Reiner Senior Citizens Fund


Hobart Education Foundation – $1,000 to support a social outing at the County Line Orchard for grandparents and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

To apply for funding

The next deadline for submitting grant applications is Sept. 1, 2011. Download a grant application and guidelines at www.legacyfoundationlakeco.org. A “brown bag session” for nonprofit organizations wishing to learn more about applying for grants to Legacy Foundation will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 8 at the Munster branch of the Lake County Public Library. To register, call (219) 736-1880 or e-mail maerts@legacyfoundationlakeco.org.

Program Director Brandon White instructs participants in The First Tee of Hammond's golf and life skills program. Legacy Foundation benefits people of all ages throughout Lake County by making grants to nonprofit organizations such as The First Tee of Hammond.

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Foundation awards $100,000 grant from Maria Reiner fund

(HOBART, Indiana) – The City of Hobart and Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, announced today a significant funding source to make the city’s first dedicated senior center a reality.

Legacy Foundation has approved a $100,000 grant from the Maria Reiner Senior Citizens Fund to establish the center inside the former Hobart Middle School near Fourth and New streets. The 8,300-square-foot Maria Reiner Center will be open to Hobart residents and non-residents age 55 and over, and will feature a dining area, a theater room, a learning center with computers, and a health and fitness area.

“This is a proud day for the City of Hobart, specifically for the seniors in the community,” Hobart Mayor Brian K. Snedecor said. “The Maria Reiner Fund, in conjunction with Legacy Foundation, is making a significant contribution to the provision of a safe and enjoyable environment for Hobart seniors. We are proud that Maria Reiner, a member of our community, has demonstrated such leadership in philanthropy.”

Legacy Foundation manages the Maria Reiner Senior Citizens Fund along with more than 260 other funds providing grants and scholarships to benefit people throughout Lake County. Reiner was a Hobart resident who left her estate to be used for Hobart senior citizens. Past grants from her fund have been used to establish and sustain the highly successful Hobart Senior Transportation Program, which provides low-cost vouchers for participating taxi and bus services, and for cultural and civic events open to seniors.

“Legacy Foundation is proud to collaborate with the City of Hobart to enhance the quality of life for its citizens,” said Harry J. Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer of Legacy Foundation. “Maria Reiner’s gift is a strong example of the power of philanthropy. Mrs. Reiner lived a quiet, unassuming life in Hobart, a town she clearly loved. Her generosity will have a positive impact on the citizenship of Hobart for generations to come.”

The senior center is expected to open in early summer.

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Legacy Foundation sponsors annual series of workshops to build and sustain robust organizations serving the community

(MERRILLVILLE, Indiana) – Lake County nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply now for the Great Lake Award Initiative, an opportunity to build capacity through training, technical assistance and a “Make it Happen” grant opportunity.

Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s Community Foundation, has been sponsoring and organizing this initiative since 2005. To date, more than 50 area nonprofit groups have participated in the program.

“The Great Lake Award Initiative gives leaders of nonprofit organizations of all sizes and with varying missions a unique opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge that they can put to use immediately,” said Cara Spicer, program officer for Legacy Foundation. “This year we are focusing on maximizing organizational strengths and identifying extra capacity in these areas that can support improvement in other areas of the organization.”

Participating organizations can:

  • Complete an organizational self-assessment
  • Select from a menu of seven training events covering topics such as strategy, board leadership, fundraising, communication, financial reporting and resources, presented by highly qualified trainers
  • Gain from the experience of other nonprofit leaders as peer mentors
  • Be awarded “Make It Happen” grant dollars of up to $1,000 per organization
  • Qualify to compete for a 2013 Great Lake Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management


Complete details and the simple application for the program can be found on Legacy Foundation’s Web site, www.legacyfoundationlakeco.org/nonprofits.html. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on March 11. The program begins March 29. The first 20 organizations that submit applications meeting all program requirements will be selected for participation. There is no charge to the organizations to participate. Questions may be directed to Cara Spicer at (219) 736-1880.

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