Posts Tagged ‘lake county’

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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Funds are among more than $1 million in grants and scholarships awarded to local organizations and individuals this year

Legacy Foundation announces the recipients of $260,000 in college scholarship awards for 2012.

Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, manages 30 scholarship programs within its $40 million in assets. The foundation’s scholarship committees, comprised of community volunteers, annually review applications from hundreds of high-school seniors and current college students.

“One of Legacy Foundation’s most important roles is to support and encourage educational achievement,” said Harry J. Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer of Legacy Foundation. “Diverse groups of dozens of volunteers from throughout the community are engaged in selecting these worthy recipients, based on the many accomplishments of these young people and the promise they show for their college careers and beyond.”

The scholarships are among nearly $1.1 million in grants and scholarships funded by Legacy Foundation during the first six months of 2012. In addition to the $260,000 in new scholarship awards, the foundation supports students currently enrolled in school with the help of $531,000 in renewable scholarships.

Also during 2012 thus far, Legacy Foundation has granted nearly $306,000 to Northwest Indiana nonprofit organizations that are improving the quality of life and educational opportunities for area residents.

For details about the many scholarships available through Legacy Foundation, visit the website at www.legacyfdn.org/scholarships.LakeCounty high-school and college students are encouraged to check the site for information about available scholarship funds.

Scholarships, 2012 recipients named by Legacy Foundation and their respective schools include:

Barbara Miller Meeker Art Scholarship: Ariana Koultourides, Munster High School

Bi-Centennial Memorial Scholarship: Guadalupe Almendarez, MortonHigh School

Ana Dominguez

BP Products of North America Scholarship:  April Biscocho, Andrean High School; Ana Dominguez, Munster High School

Broadway Scholarship: Jaylynn Page, Wirt-Emerson Visual & Performing Arts; April Biscocho, Andrean High School

D.J. and Rose Nidetz Scholarship: Jaclyn Gessert, Interlochen Arts Academy

 Donna K. Yundt Memorial Scholarship: Courtney Myers, Lake Central High School

Dr. John Maniotes Scholarship: Kailey Kawalec, Munster High School; Marina Tipold, Hobart High School

Dr. R.T. White Scholarship: Anna Shehigian, Munster High School, Conrad Navarro, Munster High School

April Biscocho

Fred and Louise Latshaw Scholarship: Michael Kukurugya, Crown Point High School; Gavin Mariano

Hammond Common Council Scholarships: Nicolas Kubacki, Bishop Noll High School; Lewis Burnet, Miguel Gaitan, Alyssa Miner, and Stephanie Perez, Clark High School; Jesse Diaz, Madelyn Johnston, and Cristina Lopez, Gavit High School; Josue Morales, Hector Tello, and Yvette Zither, Hammond High School; Samuel Berrios, Brock Daniels, Angel Flores, and Jacarr Washington, Morton High School.

Herbert R. Kocher Memorial Scholarship: James Staley, WhitingHigh School

 John V. and George Primich Family Scholarship:  Enrique Ayala, Adam Mark, Kimberly Sherwin, Amanda Szura, Christopher Zakian, and Timothy Zakian.

Joseph Trent Morrow/Urban League of Northwest Indiana Scholarship: Alexandria Artis, Thea Bowman Leadership Academy

Joshua Benjamin Cohen Memorial Scholarship: Gretchen Kohler and Conner Sunday,Valparaiso High School

June Pangburn Scholarship: Sarah Heming, Hobart High School

Kathy Lynn Hooks Memorial Scholarship:  Alexa Clark, River Forest High School

Lake County Athletic Officials Association Scholarship: Kathryn Gawor, The Culver Academies; Nicholas Roach, Mt. Carmel High School

Legacy Foundation Scholarship: Matthew Binder, Hobart High School; Lauren Kiser, Merrillville High School; Tyler Munjas, Lowell High School; Jaylynn Page, Wirt-Emerson Visual & Performing Arts; James Staley, Whiting High School

Legends Scholarship:  Cosetta Black, Calumet College of St. Joseph

Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship:  Jackeline Fernandez, East Chicago Central High School; Cassandra Firchau, Crown Point High School; Sarah Guistolisi, Griffith High School; Taylor Hillegonds, Hanover Central High School; Tanisha Howard, West Side Leadership Academy; Desiree Swartz, River Forest High School

Nancy J. Pinnick Memorial Scholarship: Sueann Mason, River Forest High School

Patrick Lindsey Memorial Scholarship: Avery Davis, Thea Bowman Leadership Academy; Ryan Robinson,Morton High School

Roger Begnoche Scholarship: Colin Mancera,Lake Central High School

Sengupta Family Scholarship: Keertan Kini, Lake Central High School

W. James Spicer Scholarship: Jaylynn Page, Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy

Webster Cornwell Memorial Scholarship: Vanria Nabors, Hammond High School

The Cara Spicer Scholarship was created this year in her memory by her family. The first recipients are:  four students who will receive summer band tuition assistance through Books, Brushes, and Bands; four students who will receive art instruction and supplies through South Shore Arts; and one Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Art Academy student who will receive help with expenses while attending a summer program at Alvin Ailey Dance Training in New York City.

James Staley

Jaylynn Page

Matthew Binder

Tyler Munjas

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Student studies at Crown Point Adult Learning Center

Student Alex Robles studies language skills at the Crown Point Adult Learning Center. Two Legacy Foundation grants to the center were among more than $1.1 million in funding to community organizations and scholarships during the first half of 2012.

Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner marks new milestone in funding of quality of life initiatives and educational attainment

Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, funded nearly $1.1 million in grants and scholarships during the first six months of 2012.

“This significant investment in the quality of life and educational attainment of Northwest Indiana residents marks a new milestone for Legacy Foundation,” noted Harry Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer. “We are leading the way in creating positive impact through funding that enhances the community, creates an informed and engaged citizenry, and helps youth graduate high school and realize their higher education and career goals.”

Legacy Foundation manages four major funds to support Lake County nonprofit organizations that enhance the quality of life for people throughout the region. From these funds, the foundation has awarded nearly $306,000 in grants so far this year.

Legacy Foundation also manages 30 scholarship programs within its $40 million in assets. These programs awarded $260,000 in new funds for the 2012-13 academic year, while students continue to benefit from $531,000 in renewable scholarships.

“Young people throughout Lake County are achieving great things academically while becoming engaged in their community,” Vande Velde said. “Legacy Foundation proudly stewards donors’ funds to support the hopes and dreams of these talented scholars to attain a college education.”

Grants make positive impact in the community

Campagna Academy soon will complete construction of an outdoor therapeutic recreation area on its 47-acre Schererville campus thanks to the support of a Legacy Foundation grant. CEO Elena Dwyre said the project features a low ropes course that will improve clinical services to children served by the facility, and will be offered to the community for programs such as leadership skills training. The project had been on the drawing board for some time and would not have been possible without the Legacy Foundation funding.

“This has allowed us to improve and strengthen our services for the children,” Dwyre said. “(Government) cuts in rates for our services have been quite significant, and without this type of financial support, nonprofits would not be able to add to the services we offer. It is important for us to find collaborative partners like Legacy Foundation.”

In Crown Point, the Adult Learning Center recently moved to new space in the Lakeview Square shopping center. The center currently is helping more than 120 students with GED preparation and English as a Second Language classes. A Legacy Foundation grant helps pay for rent, utilities, internet access and phone service. A second, matching grant will help the board build its fundraising capacity.

“Legacy Foundation’s funding is critical to our very basic needs,” said Carol Borowski, president of Friends of the Crown Point Adult Learning Center. “If we can’t pay the rent, we won’t have a school. We have been serving adult learners since 1979 and have been in several different locations in town, so we’re pleased to be able to continue the school serving the Crown Point community.”

Client intake at Sojourner Truth House

An employee works with a homeless mother and child during intake at Sojourner Truth House in Gary. A Legacy Foundation grant to Sojourner Truth House will ensure a case manager works with each client to create a recovery plan.

Grants awarded during 2012

From January through June 2012, Legacy Foundation awarded grants to the following Lake County nonprofit organizations:

From the Lake County Community Fund

  • Campagna Academy to build an outdoor therapeutic recreation area
  • Catholic Charities to renovate parks and vacant lots in Gary
  • Crown Point Community Theatre to create a theater arts mentoring program
  • Food Bank of Northwest Indiana to collaborate on a teaching garden with Avicenna Academy, the Town of Merrillville, and GrowNWI
  • Dunes Learning Center to update curriculum for Lake County students
  • Friends of the Crown Point Adult Learning Center to rent program space and build fundraising capacity
  • Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana to purchase building materials for two homes in East Chicago
  • Indiana Ballet Theatre to subsidize student attendance of arts programming
  • METAS to increase the number of Lake County Latino students earning college degrees
  • Miller Beach Arts and Creative District to support five pop-up art events
  • Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theater Foundation to design a website that engages members and donors
  • Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission to produce a video of the Comprehensive Regional Plan
  • Opportunity Enterprises to serve Lake County clients at the Lake Eliza campus
  • Our Family Center to build organizational capacity
  • Parents as Teachers of Lake County to provide parent educator services that include program monitoring and quality assurance activities
  • Shirley Heinze Land Trust to conduct an environmental education program for Hobart students
  • Sojourner Truth House to ensure a case manager works with each client to create a recovery plan
  • Teach for America to build organizational capacity in Lake County
  • Three Creeks Historical Association to restore the oldest historical brick home in Lake County
  • Tri-Town Safety Village to subsidize student participation in safety programming

From the Maria Reiner Senior Citizen Fund

  • Hobart Family YMCA to fund senior services in Hobart
  • School City of Hobart to fund senior arts programming in Hobart

From the College Readiness Fund

  • College Mentors for Kids to support a mentoring program for Hammond students
  • Communities in Schools to coach high school students to graduate high school and chart college and career opportunities
  • Gary Life Education Initiative to coach middle school students to graduate high school and chart college and career opportunities
  • Hammond Education Foundation to coach parents to teach their children through reading at home
  • Hobart Education Foundation to provide early childhood education classes for children and parents
  • Purdue University Calumet Education Talent Search to support college and career readiness programming
  • The Salvation Army to tutor students struggling with math and language arts
  • Urban Reach, Inc. to coach students to become the first generation of their family to graduate college

From the John S. and James L. Knight Fund

  • Gary Public Library South Shore Museum and Cultural Center to create a sustainability model for the museum and cultural center
  • Leadership Northwest Indiana to implement leadership programming for Lake County students
Crown Point Adult Learning Center

Teacher Pat Cope (left) reviews materials with student Angel Santomaria at the Crown Point Adult Learning Center. Two grants from Legacy Foundation help pay for rent and other basic needs of the center, as well as build the board’s fundraising capacity.

To learn more about the Legacy Foundation grants program, visit www.legacyfdn.org or email legacy@legacyfdn.org.  Grant applications are posted August 1, and the next deadline for grant applications is Sept. 1, 2012.

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Legacy Foundation sponsors unique night of youth empowerment May 31

Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, invites youth from throughout Northwest Indiana to participate in a night of poetry, spoken word and youth empowerment with nationally recognized author and speaker Basheer Jones, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster.

The evening will feature readings by Jones, a poet, youth activist and philanthropist who previously visited Northwest Indiana in January to keynote the annual Mentor Summit. Five local high school students also will be selected to read their own poetry.

Attendees are asked to dress in business attire, and will have the opportunity to view professional artwork on display in the Center’s atrium as well as experience the poetry readings and motivational comments by Jones.

“This truly is a one-of-a-kind event for young people in Northwest Indiana to experience a professional evening of arts and culture, while hearing an inspiring message from a young leader,” said Barry Tyler, Jr., Community Initiatives Officer for Legacy Foundation. “Youth services organizations would benefit from bringing groups of participants.”

The event, hosted by Legacy Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council, is offered free of charge. Participants can purchase a copy of Jones’ new book, “Speak for Change,” for $15 and have it signed by the author during a reception following the poetry reading.

For more information, visit Legacy Foundation’s website at http://www.legacyfdn.org/youthphilanthropycouncil.php. Youth or groups who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to Tyler at btyler@legacyfdn.org or (219) 736-1880.

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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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Legacy Foundation, Lake County’s leading philanthropic partner, invites area nonprofits to learn about new tools and resources that can help build their organizations at an informational session from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2, at the South Shore Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond.

Legacy Foundation will launch its nonprofit mentoring and resource center, The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation. The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation will help the area’s nonprofit sector solve problems and enhance their capacity to deliver quality services. Participants in the session will learn how to access resources offered by The Think Tank at Legacy Foundation, including: convening and facilitation of communities of practice; a newly redesigned website; meeting space; research, data collection and analysis; and a donor engagement platform that can enhance local fundraising.

Also during the Town Hall session, nonprofit organizations will gain insight into Legacy Foundation’s updated grantmaking strategy. In addition, Legacy Foundation will announce how to apply for the $10,000 Cara Spicer Award.

Seats for the Town Hall session are limited. Organizations that wish to send a representative are asked to RSVP to legacy@legacyfdn.org or (219) 736-1880 by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 30.

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2012 Lake County Lilly Scholars

Cassandra Firchau, Tanisha Howard, Taylor Hillegonds, Jackeline Fernandez, Sarah Guistolisi and Desiree Swartz are the Legacy Foundation 2012 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars.

Six outstanding Lake County students have been named recipients of four-year, full-tuition scholarships as the Legacy Foundation 2012 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars.

Each Lilly Scholar will receive full tuition to the Indiana college or university of  her choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

 The local 2012 Lilly Scholars are:

  • Jackeline Fernandez of East Chicago Central High School, daughter of Marie Maysonet
  • Cassandra Firchau of Crown Point High School, daughter of Leo and Rosanne Firchau
  • Sarah Guistolisi of Griffith High School, daughter of Michael and Laura Guistolisi
  • Taylor Hillegonds of Hanover Central High School, daughter of William and Michelle Hillegonds
  • Tanisha Howard of West Side Leadership Academy in Gary, daughter of Patricia Howard
  • Desiree Swartz of River Forest High School in Hobart, daughter of Sherri Swartz

“As Lake County’s leading philanthropic resource, one of Legacy Foundation’s most important roles is to support educational opportunity,” said Harry J. Vande Velde III, president and chief executive officer of Legacy Foundation. “We are proud to recognize the many accomplishments of these young people as they begin their promising college careers, and to partner with Lilly Endowment in advancing them toward their futures.”

Legacy Foundation recognized the Lilly Scholars with a dinner in their honor at Innsbrook Country Club. The event featured keynote speaker Jared Tomich, a former National Football League player and Lake Central High School graduate who returned to the Lake County community to found Ignite Sports Performance Centers, Fuel Fitness Centers and the Halo of Hope Foundation. The foundation offers camp experiences to children undergoing treatment for cancer.

Jared Tomich at Lilly Scholars dinner

Philanthropist and former NFL player Jared Tomich speaks to the 2012 Lilly Scholars.

Tomich encouraged the young scholarship recipients to enjoy college and life experiences, and to come back home to give back to their community.

“When I was done playing (in the NFL), there was no question, my roots were here. I came home and started my businesses,” Tomich said.

Each high school in Lake County was invited to submit an applicant for the prestigious Lilly scholarships. A total of 224 students from 27 schools applied for the 2012 awards. Those nominated by their high schools were evaluated based on academic performance, demonstrated leadership skills, service to others, character, a written narrative, demonstrated financial need and an interview.

After Legacy Foundation’s scholarship committee narrowed the field to six nominees and four alternates, the finalists’ names were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for the selection of the recipients. ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree-granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

“The selection process was challenging because all the candidates showed significant academic achievement while participating in extracurricular activities, holding jobs and giving back to the community,” said Martha Rivas-Ramos, a member of Legacy Foundation’s board of directors as well as a member of the Scholarship Committee. “The applicants from throughout Lake County have achieved a great deal at a young age, and we are confident that they will make important contributions to our community in the years to come.”

The Lilly scholarships were created in 1998 by a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Indiana 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.

This year community foundations around the state awarded 142 Lilly scholarships. Since the inception of the program, Legacy Foundation has awarded 145 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships to Lake County students.

Legacy Foundation manages 30 scholarship programs. Lake County residents are encouraged to check Legacy Foundation’s Web site for information at www.legacyfdn.org/scholarships.


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