Posts Tagged ‘Boys & Girls Clubs’

Lake County’s community foundation announces initiative to increase educational attainment

Project 100%

Lincoln Ellis has had many discussions about the challenges facing African-American males with the staff and board of the Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s community foundation.

As the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana, Ellis sees firsthand the need to help transition young men from boyhood into manhood and to be good fathers. Over the last several years, the Boys & Girls Clubs’ partnership with Legacy Foundation has led to a gathering of more than 30 organizations for families and youth in Gary, generating $1.2 million in additional resources for the city; developed $750,000 in new funds for mentoring programs; and recently sent 40 young men on a tour of historically black colleges.

“I call them my partners in exceptional good works,” Ellis said.

Ellis shared his story during Legacy Foundation’s annual reception for donors, held Nov. 4 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. The audience included approximately 200 people, many of them donors representing business, nonprofit organizations, and the community at large. The organization also distributed its annual report to donors, featuring stories about the impact of grants into the community.

During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, despite the challenges of the local and national economic downturn, Legacy Foundation awarded more than $2 million in grants and scholarships that enhance the quality of life throughout Lake County.

“Legacy Foundation responds to community need,” President Nancy Johnson said. “This year we have responded to the increased threat of hunger by stepping up our grant making to the Northwest Indiana Food Bank and community food pantries. We funded the Indiana Reinvestment Alliance to help counsel families who are threatened with foreclosure on their homes and helped get a new home built in the ‘Field of Dreams,’ a project of Northwest Indiana Habitat for Humanity which is located in Gary. We provided the seed money to initiate the Hobart Parents as Teachers chapter, which has proven wildly successful. In just a few short months, 135 children and their families have become active in the program.”

During the reception Legacy Foundation announced an important initiative to increase educational attainment in Lake County.

Project 100% is an initiative that grew out of a yearlong strategic visioning process conducted by Legacy’s board of directors.

“Education is a critical issue to our county, whether you live in Cedar Lake or Hammond, Lowell or Lake Station,” board member Nancy Clifford said. “If we can increase the number of our students graduating with a quality high-school degree who are college- or career-bound, this will have a positive impact for Lake County.”

Key components of the effort include:

  • Helping to connect every eligible student with Indiana’s 21st Century Scholarship program, which offers college tuition to first generation low-income students;
  • Increasing the number of youth served with programs outside of school;
  • Strengthening these programs to meet the challenges of providing quality services; and
  • Helping to connect youth with caring, qualified mentors.

Legacy Foundation has begun the effort by initiating the South Shore Connection, a collaboration with Lake Area United Way and Foundations of East Chicago. This is a partnership with school districts and nonprofit agencies to share data to improve educational outcomes. At this time school systems in Gary, Hammond, Lake Station and Merrillville have agreed to participate in the project.

Legacy Foundation will be seeking additional partnerships and community commitment to develop and implement Project 100%.

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