New Girls’ Giving Fund Awards Grant to Local Nonprofit

On Thursday, October 18, over 20 girls and their families gathered at the Porter County Community Foundation for the inaugural Girls’ Giving Fund Grant Celebration to award their first-ever grant to a local nonprofit.

 Members of the Girls’ Giving Fund awarded their first-ever grant to the Porter County Parks Department at their inaugural grant celebration event.

Members of the Girls’ Giving Fund awarded their first-ever grant to the Porter County Parks Department at their inaugural grant celebration event.

The Girls’ Giving Fund is a newly established giving circle with the Porter County Community Foundation, made up of 7 to 13 year old girls from all over Porter County. The circle was launched in the spring of 2018 to empower young givers with the knowledge that they can make a difference in our community and allow this new generation to experience the joy of giving.

Twenty-six girls each raised at least $100, collectively bringing in $3,000. Thanks to the generosity of a local donor, $1,000 was added to their total, allowing the girls to award a $4,000 grant that evening.

The first-ever Girls’ Giving Fund grant was awarded to the Porter County Parks Department. The other finalists, Memorial Opera House and Our Greater Good, each received a $500 grant.

In addition, two local donors each gave $1,000 to start the Girls’ Giving Fund Endowment, ensuring the girls can continue to make a difference in Porter County forever.

“It’s really encouraging to see kids get excited about giving and the impact it has on our community,” said Bill Higbie, President and CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation. “Each one of these 26 girls did something creative to raise $100. Collectively, they were able to make a significant gift to the Porter County Parks which benefits countless people from all over our community”.

If you know of a young woman who is interested in participating in the Girls’ Giving Fund, please click here for more information.

Porter County Farmers Gift of Grain Chili Day - October 19, 2018

Porter County Farmers are invited to attend the Gift of Grain Chili Day at the Co-Alliance Elevator in Malden on Friday, October 19, 2018 from 10 AM – 2 PM.

 Gift of Grain Committee Members ( left to right ) Tim Stoner, Brad Metzger, Jane Maxwell, and Joe Cannon.

Gift of Grain Committee Members (left to right) Tim Stoner, Brad Metzger, Jane Maxwell, and Joe Cannon.

A free homemade chili lunch and sweets will be served. Information about how farmers can support our community through the Gift of Grain program will also be available.

The Gift of Grain program was started in 2017 as a way for local farmers to use grain to help families in Porter County start saving for their kids’ college education. The program supports Promise Porter County, an initiative that helps families with first grade students invest in a CollegeChoice 529 savings account.

Gift of Grain is also investing in a permanently endowed fund. The Agricultural Community Initiative Fund, at the Porter County Community Foundation, will help ensure there will be resources available to meet future needs in our community.

Gift of Grain committee member and Porter County farmer, Tim Stoner, says “This program is unique in that it has a double benefit; it allows us to support Promise Porter County today and build an endowment to contribute to future projects as they develop.”

While chili will be available on October 19, gifts of grain can be made anytime. This is an ongoing project that encourages farmers to participate at the time of year that is best for them.

“The partnership between local farmers and the Porter County Community Foundation is really special,” said Foundation President & CEO, Bill Higbie. “It’s a great example of how investing today grows tomorrow.”

A gift of grain can be an easy, tax-efficient way to support local causes in our community. For more information about the Gift of Grain program, visit www.pccf.gives/giftofgrain.

In the event of rain, the Gift of Grain Chili Day will be on Friday, October 26.

18th Annual Women's Tea

The 18th Annual Women’s Tea took place on Friday, September 14. Over 200 women of all ages gathered together for lunch to support the Women’s Fund of Porter County. This year’s guest speaker was Sarah Harmeyer, Founder and Chief People Gatherer of Neighbor’s Table.

 Sarah Harmeyer, Chief People Gatherer at Neighbor’s Table, was the guest speaker at the 18th Annual Women’s Tea to support the Women’s Fund of Porter County.

Sarah Harmeyer, Chief People Gatherer at Neighbor’s Table, was the guest speaker at the 18th Annual Women’s Tea to support the Women’s Fund of Porter County.

In 2010, Sarah asked her father to build her a big farm-house style table that she put in her backyard in Dallas, Texas. She hung chandeliers from the oak tree above and invited her neighbors to dinner. That first night, 91 people showed up.  The simple idea of inviting a neighbor to share a meal turned into something extraordinary. Sarah has now had over 3,000 people sit at the very table her father built for her years ago, joining together in laughter, conversation, connections and love. 

While Sarah continues to invite people to her table, her dad now builds tables for people all over the country. They have personally delivered tables to 29 states, with a goal of having a “Neighbor’s Table” in every state by 2020.

Sarah spoke about the importance of being intentional. She challenged the ladies in attendance to invite people to gather together. With a simple act of inviting strangers to gather around the table, you never know what might happen. “Community is important” said Sarah Harmeyer, “A community changes when we are intentional about what we do.” With her father serving as “Chairman of the Boards”, the official table-maker, and Sarah serving as Chief People Gatherer, they have created a movement of connecting people and communities.

The Women's Fund of Porter County offers an opportunity for women to collectively share in the joy of giving. Women from all backgrounds come together with one common goal in mind - improve the lives of women and children in our community. With the goal of raising $100,000 annually, $50,000 is awarded in two high-impact grants while the remainder is permanently endowed in the Women’s Fund at the Porter County Community Foundation.

Since 2007, The Women's Fund has awarded over $550,000 in grants and holds over $917,000 in the endowment fund, ensuring that the positive impact will continue on forever.

"Wonder" Movie Event with Special Guest Speaker Dr. Michael Goodman

Join us for a free outdoor showing of the hit movie “Wonder” (PG) on August 1, 2018 at 7:30 PM at the Porter Health Amphitheater, Central Park Plaza, Downtown Valparaiso.   

Dr. Michael Goodman

“Wonder” is a heartwarming story about a young boy, August (Auggie) Pullman, who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome. The movie follows Auggie as he enters public school for the first time.

Special guest, Dr. Michael Goodman, will share his story before the movie. Like Auggie from the film, Dr. Goodman was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome. After overcoming many similar challenges in his own life, Dr. Goodman learned a hard lesson…you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

Dr. Goodman is a graduate of Valparaiso High School. After completing his undergrad in Iowa, he went on to medical school in Indianapolis. He is now a pediatrician with Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

This is a free, family-friendly event open to the public. Please bring your own blankets and chairs. This event is brought to you by the Porter County Community Foundation, Merrill Lynch Bank of America– The Braggs Team, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana.

Foundation Awards 2018 Scholarships

As one chapter comes to a close, a new one is just beginning for the 27 talented high school seniors recognized at the Porter County Community Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Banquet. Since 1998, the Foundation has presented 356 scholarships to Porter County students.

The 2018 recipients are:

Lilly Endowment Community Scholars 2018

The Porter County Community Foundation has awarded 82 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships to Porter County students since 1998. This scholarship pays full tuition and fees to any college or university in the state of Indiana and $900 each year for books. The 2018 recipients of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships are: (left to right) Alaynah Chatman (Portage High School), Robert Walker (Washington Township High School), and Abigail Koster (Chesterton High School).

Community Scholars 2018

Porter County is fortunate to have businesses and individuals who value the importance of education. Thanks to the generosity of NIPSCO, the Plesac Family Scholarship Fund, the Larry and Jerilyn Klemz Scholarship Fund, the Largura Family Scholarship Fund and the Tom and Alice Roberts Scholarship Fund, a $1,000 scholarship was awarded to each of the following recipients: (left to right) Jayson Heinold (Kouts High School), Austyn Pryatel (Morgan Township High School), Natalie Dowdy (Andrean High School), Sam Klumpe (Valparaiso High School), Emily Horsley (LaCrosse High School), and Mickayla Edmaiston (Portage High School). Not pictured: Kayla Rivera (Wheeler High School) and Thomas Gotsch (Marquette High School).

Siegsmund Scholar 2018

The Chesterton High School Class of 1958 established the Harlan A. Siegsmund Liberty Township Alumni Scholarship in honor of their longtime principal. The scholarship is awarded to a graduate of Chesterton High School with a preference given to residents of Liberty Township. This year’s recipient is Rigoberto Alvarez, Jr. (Chesterton High School) pictured here with Ed Seykowski, a member of the class, who was instrumental in creating this scholarship.

PCCF Scholars 2018

Each year, the Porter County Community Foundation provides $4,000 scholarships to Porter County students. The 2018 recipients are: (left to right) Madison Nondorf (Valparaiso High School) and Lexi Sroka (Hebron High School). Not pictured: Alex Reed (Boone Grove High School).

PCCTE Scholars 2018

The Foundation and the Porter County Career and Technical Education Center have worked together since 2008 to award scholarships to their students. The recipients for 2018 are: (left to right) Joshua Chew, Cailee Hodges, Jacob Wells, Cameron Chapman and Abigail Vargas, with Jon Groth (Director of the Porter County Career and Technical Education Center). Not Pictured: Bridget McGrath and Tyler Smolar.

Bricker Scholar 2018

Georgia Bricker, whose husband, Tom, passed away in 2006, established a scholarship in memory of him. This year’s recipient is Kelsey Fleming (Washington Township High School).

Moyer Scholar 2018

Shawn Moyer was a 1999 recipient of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. During his sophomore year at Taylor University, Shawn lost his battle with cancer. The remaining balance of his scholarship was endowed to create this award for Kouts High School graduates. This year’s recipient, Hannah Maier (Kouts High School), is pictured here with Nick and Bev Moyer, Shawn’s parents.

2018 Women’s Fund Grants Awarded

On Thursday, May 10, members of Impact Porter County met at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton to award their annual grants from the Women’s Fund of Porter County. Impact Porter County is a giving circle associated with the Porter County Community Foundation whose goal is to make a positive and lasting influence in the community by awarding grants to Porter County nonprofits whose mission is to improve the quality of life for women and children.  

Impact Porter County 2018 Grants

Over $50,000 in grants was awarded at the annual membership dinner on Thursday evening. Gabriel’s Horn Homeless Shelter and Hilltop Neighborhood House each were awarded a high-impact grant of $25,000. The other finalists, Dunebrook, Inc. and Frontline Foundations, each received a $2,500 grant.

Gabriel’s Horn is a shelter that serves all of Porter County and provides temporary housing for homeless women and children. In addition, they provide assistance in finding permanent housing, jobs, counseling and more.  The funds Gabriel’s Horn received will go towards the expansion of their current facility that will assist up to 50 more people annually.

Hilltop Neighborhood House serves the community by providing early childhood education, after-school programming, and a food pantry.  The funds awarded through the Women’s Fund of Porter County will be used to launch their mobile food pantry, Project 64. There are 64 hours from the time kids leave school on Friday until school starts on Monday, and for some children, access to food during that time is limited.  Hilltop’s plan is to bring the food pantry directly to those children and families in need. 

Duneland Family YMCA Grant

The Duneland Family YMCA was the recipient of a community fund grant from the Porter County Community Foundation.

The funds awarded helped equip the Duneland Family YMCA’s Early Learning Academy 5 year old classroom. The items purchased included new furniture creating a comfortable and safe learning environment, interactive play sets like a dress-up unit to inspire creativity & spark the imagination, along with other supplies that focus on using small and large motor skills.

The new classroom materials were specifically selected to follow the Paths to Quality system standards, which is Indiana’s state-wide child care quality rating and improvement system. The goal of the Early Learning Academy program is to engage kids, from six-weeks old to pre-school, in daily age-appropriate learning and development activities, helping to ensure they will be ready for kindergarten.

Neighborlink Awarded Grant

The Porter County Community Foundation recently awarded a grant to NeighborLink Porter County, an organization that provides assistance to those in need.

NeighborLink Grant

NeighborLink is a nonprofit that connects Porter County residents who need assistance with those that can help.  Volunteers join together to complete various projects for those in need in the community.  

“Keeping the marginalized in Porter County safe, clean, warm and dry through our network of volunteers and business partnerships is one of our top priorities,” said Judy Alders, Executive Director of NeighborLink Porter County.  “The award of grant funds will allow us to be more far-reaching in our efforts to help those in need living in our communities. We so appreciate our relationship with the Porter County Community Foundation and all of those who give so graciously to their endeavors.” 

The funds from the grant will help cover expenses to be sure the necessary projects can be completed.  The types of projects might include yard work, transportation services, appliance repair, building wheelchair ramps, plumbing projects and more.  You can find out more about NeighborLink Porter County by visiting their website www.neighborlinkpc.org.    

MAAC First Responder Training Facility

The Porter County Community Foundation awarded a grant to the Multi Agency Academic Cooperative (MAAC), an organization that provides training for area firefighters, police officers, and EMS personnel.

The MAAC Public Safety Training campus has been established on a 4 ½ acre parcel in Southeast Valparaiso.  This facility will house various training structures including a 40-foot search and rescue tower, a 2-story live burn building, vehicle extrication pad, indoor classrooms and more.  

“The goal is to make sure our first responders have the resources and training necessary to be prepared to respond to calls and come to our assistance on, what would likely be, one of our worst days,” says Celina Weatherwax, President of The McMillan Family Foundation Inc.  “Through a combination of classroom and practical, hands-on application, the MAAC Training campus will provide advanced levels of critical thinking and functioning in response to an emergency.”

“The Foundation is honored to play a part in the development of this essential facility,” says Bill Higbie, President & CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation. “This training space will directly impact thousands of first responders and will be a game-changer when it comes to training law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, and Firefighters who keep our community safe.”

Annual Women’s Tea Celebrates Women’s Philanthropy in Porter County

“When is the last time you have done something for 522 days,” said Stephanie Jones, to the 234 women in attendance at the 17th Annual Women’s Tea hosted by the Porter County Community Foundation.

Stephanie Jones at the Women's Tea

“Something that you love; that you’re passionate about?” she asked the crowd. For Stephanie, what started out as a New Year’s Resolution turned into an ongoing, philanthropic adventure. For 522 days straight, Stephanie gave a gift.

“My definition of a ‘gift’ is when you give something and expect nothing in return,” said Stephanie.  As she spoke of her intentional, sometimes serendipitous gifts given away throughout this journey to family, friends or even complete strangers, she explained how this challenge really stretched her, in more ways than she could have imagined.

“Giving stretches you in your goals, gratitude, and giving,” said Stephanie. “Giving to someone else is a way to show gratitude; to say thank you to those in your life, whether it’s with your time, talents, or money.”

Stephanie shared her inspirational journey and challenged those in attendance to stretch themselves by giving a philanthropic gift to the Women’s Fund of Porter County and help make a difference in the lives of women and children, right here in our community.

Impact Porter County is a giving circle associated with the Porter County Community Foundation.  “Impact Porter County has a simple and ambitious goal,” said Bill Higbie, President & CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation. “To raise $100,000 annually, half of which would be given away immediately to causes that support women and children; the other half would be endowed to continue helping organizations forever.” 

“What you have done here is pretty crazy,” said Bill Higbie.  Today, more than $500,000 has been awarded in Women’s Fund grants to nonprofits in Porter County.  The Women’s Fund now holds nearly $800,000 in an endowed fund, ensuring that the positive impact will continue forever. “Thank you for being crazy generous,” added Higbie.   

Stephanie Jones is an author, speaker, and life coach.  As a fearless changemaker, she’s been a private investigator, police officer, and senior manager in a Fortune 100 company.  Stephanie is a member of Impact Porter County and serves as a board member for the Porter County Community Foundation.

If you would like to learn more about Impact Porter County, view recent grant recipients, or find out how you can help make a difference, visit www.pccf.gives.

 
Women's Tea
Women's Tea 2017
Stephanie Jones Signing
Women's Tea 2017

Porter County Community Foundation Welcomes New Team Member

The Porter County Community Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of a new staff member, Bonny Hildebrand, who joins the Foundation team as Director of Development & Stewardship.

 
Bonny Hildebrand
 

“I’m deeply honored to be joining the Porter County Community Foundation,” says Bonny Hildebrand. “The Foundation plays a huge role in modeling and being a leader in community philanthropy for improving the quality of life right here where we live. It will be a privilege and a joy to work with the exceptional staff, board and community across Porter County to help ensure that our communities remain vital and strong forever.”

Bonny comes to the Foundation from Porter Health Care System where she was most recently the Director of Professional Outreach; Physician Liaison for almost 2 years, working to develop and foster relationships between the hospital and physicians. Before that, Bonny served as the Community Programming & Senior Circle Coordinator for Porter Health Care System for over 4 years.

In addition to her work with Porter Health Care System, Bonny has served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer at Valparaiso University, she has served as a National Advisory Board Member for Senior Circle and Healthy Woman, and is a member of the Community Impact Team for United Way of Porter County. 

As the Director of Development & Stewardship, Bonny will serve as an ambassador for the Porter County Community Foundation, cultivating the relationship between the organization and community members.  Bonny will provide direction for the Foundation’s relationship-based fundraising programs, as well as their donor engagement and stewardship strategies. 

“Bonny is an excellent fit for our team, she understands who we are as an organization and our mission to ‘do good’ here in Porter County,” says Bill Higbie, President & CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation. “We are all very excited about working with Bonny, she brings with her great energy and enthusiasm for the Director of Development & Stewardship position where we know she will contribute significantly to our mission.”

Porter County Community Foundation Awards Grant to Family House

The Porter County Community Foundation awarded a Community Fund grant to Family House, Inc. – an organization that provides a safe home-like environment for non-custodial parents to spend time with their children.

Family House Grant 2017

This funding will help Family House expand their services, further strengthening our community by supporting the development of strong families. “Family House provides sliding scale support for Supervised Visitation and Counseling for Children and Families that otherwise can't afford such services,” said Christine Kostbade, Executive Director of Family House. “Many families give up or don't follow through because they can't afford to pay for services.  We don't want to see children left without a safe opportunity to see their parent and a chance for the parent(s) to improve their skills, with hopes to get their children home again.” Family House provides over 3000 visit hours annually to children and parents in our community. 

Two Portage Nonprofits Receive Grant From Porter County Community Foundation

The Porter County Community Foundation recently awarded two Community Fund grants to Portage nonprofits, Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities and the Portage Township YMCA.

NEO Grant 2016
Portage Township YMCA Grant 2017

Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities used the funds to purchase computers, “smart boards” and other equipment to outfit their classrooms and help launch their college and workplace readiness program. This program includes onsite training opportunities for students as well as certification programs for those continuing their education or entering the workplace.   

With their grant funding, the Portage Township YMCA was able to start an after school drug prevention program for students in Kindergarten through 6th grade. The Portage Township YMCA wishes to help combat the issue of substance abuse by providing a safe place for kids to go after school while being educated on the real dangers of drug use through an evidence-based drug prevention curriculum.

Grants Awarded to Two Nonprofit Organizations Benefiting Wildlife and the Arts

The Porter County Community Foundation awarded two grants, one to the Art Barn School of Art and the other to Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center – a subsidiary of the Humane Society Calumet Area. 

Art Barn School of Art Grant
Moraine Ridge Wildlife Grant

With the funds, the Art Barn School of Art was able to host adult art workshops for community members to attend.  The funds provided the art supplies for the classes, scholarships for local artists to attend the classes, and brought in nationally known professional artists to teach the workshops.

Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center used the funds to host Wildlife Live Animal Education Programs for children and Porter County residents of all ages. Through these programs with hands-on educational opportunities, community members learn about Indiana’s native wildlife and gain an understanding of the impact that our daily lives have on our native species.

Three Hebron Nonprofits Each Received Grant from Porter County Community Foundation

Recently, the Hebron Volunteer Fire Department, Rebuilding Together Hebron and Call-A-Ride each received a Community Fund grant from the Porter County Community Foundation.

Hebron Vol. Fire Department
Call A Ride Grant
Rebuilding Together Hebron Grant

The funding allowed the Hebron Volunteer Fire Department to purchase a Paratech Rescue Airbag system, designed to extricate victims who are trapped, and also purchase a Stearns Ice Rescue Suit which protects the first-responder during icy conditions and water rescues.  Rebuilding Together Hebron used the funds to purchase building materials for local project homes, and Call-A-Ride used the funds for fuel costs to continue the expansion of their free services to clients.

Reins of Life Awarded Community Fund Grant from Porter County Community Foundation

The Porter County Community Foundation awarded a Community Fund grant to Reins of Life, a therapeutic horseback riding center, in Michigan City. This nonprofit organization serves clients of all ages with physical, emotional, mental and social disabilities, many of whom travel from Porter County to participate in their programs.

Reins of Life

The funding allowed them to insulate the ceiling in the main arena, install insulated light covers and eliminate a gap between the walls and the ceiling.  These improvements will increase the energy efficiency and comfort level in the riding arena, allowing the Reins of Life team to expand opportunities for equine assisted therapeutic riding sessions.   

Porter County Community Foundation Hosts Annual Meeting and Celebration of Achievement

On Wednesday evening, the Porter County Community Foundation hosted its Annual Meeting and Celebration of Achievement at the Porter County Expo Center with over 175 guests in attendance. This event is a special way to celebrate and thank the individuals, community partners, and nonprofits who work so hard each and every day to better our community.

Annual Meeting 2017

In 2016, the Foundation awarded over $2.1 million in grants and scholarships supporting the great work being done by nonprofit agencies and to help kids continue their education. “We are fortunate to live in Porter County – a community that is committed to organizations and the causes they care about at the deepest level possible. The nonprofits here work tirelessly to help make our community a better place,” said Bill Higbie, President and CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation. “We are honored to get to work with these organizations in various areas – whether it be starting an endowment fund that will benefit the organization well into the future, or by providing meeting space at the Center for Community Philanthropy.”

The remarkable work of nonprofit organizations and individuals was recognized at the Annual Meeting on May 31st, with the 2017 Celebration of Achievement awards. The awards were presented to the following recipients: Dorota Janik, Executive Director at Reins of Life, for Outstanding Nonprofit Staff Member; the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County for Outstanding Nonprofit Agency; Portage Township Live Entertainment Association for Outstanding Nonprofit Agency; Margaret Williford, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, for Outstanding Volunteer; and Timothy Rice, Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, for Outstanding Volunteer.

Each winner receives an engraved award recognizing their accomplishment as well as a $1,000 contribution to the organization’s endowment fund with the Foundation, or in the case of individual winners, to an organization’s endowment fund of their choice in their name. 

In addition to the Outstanding Achievement Awards, the Foundation recognized its newest Echo Society members – those who make an endowed lifetime gift or leave assets to the Foundation through a beneficiary designation, a will, or an estate plan – and announced a new program called Promise Porter County.

The new Promise Porter County program makes educational savings a reality by helping families start a CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings account through their school, seeding the account with an initial investment from a local sponsor, and engaging the community to match deposits that the students, families, and champions all contribute to the account. “Promise Porter County is an example of what happens when people care about their community and are willing to commit their energy and resources to making things better,” said Higbie. “It’s not just about setting up an account to save for college; it’s about changing the mindset of families and equipping them with a potentially different vision of themselves.” Promise Porter County will launch this fall at the first grade level in all seven Porter County school corporations.

 “At the Porter County Community Foundation, we gather generosity, grow it through investment, and give it away, all for the good of our community,” said Higbie. “Great things happen when people come together, and together we can commit to honor Porter County’s legacy of generosity in a powerful way.”

Porter County Community Foundation Awards 27 Scholarships at Annual Banquet

As one chapter comes to a close, a new one is just beginning for the 27 talented high school seniors recognized at the Porter County Community Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Banquet. Since 1998, the Foundation has presented 332 scholarships to Porter County students.

Lilly Endowment Community Scholars

Three Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships were awarded this year to Robert Kreloff of Valparaiso High School, Elizabeth Palmer of Kouts High School and Sam Soucie of Washington Township High School. This scholarship pays full tuition and fees to any college or university in the state of Indiana, as well as $900 each year for books. In total, the Foundation has awarded 79 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships since inception, totaling over $4 million. The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships are the result of a statewide initiative by Lilly Endowment Inc. to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana, support Indiana’s community foundations in their mission to enhance quality of life, and encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.    

PCCF Scholars

The Porter County Community Foundation awarded Keiggan Lange of Boone Grove High School, Sonny Hammonds of Chesterton High School, and Jordan Powell of Andrean High School, each a $4,000 scholarship.

NIPSCO Scholars

NIPSCO partnered with the Foundation to provide $1,000 scholarships to Emily Lazarek of Marquette Catholic High School, Kadie Spoor of Wheeler High School, Nicole Pomeroy of Michigan City High School, Marybeth Scheibel of Valparaiso High School, Anastasia Miller of Chesterton High School, Andrew Briggs of Hebron High School, Sofia Serrano of Portage High School, Samantha Haywood of Portage High School and Caitlin Clute of Morgan Township High School.

PCCTEC Scholars

Each year, the Porter County Community Foundation awards $1,000 scholarships to students who attend the Porter County Career and Technical Center. The recipients for this year are Emmalee Deardurff, Alexis Farnum, Brieana Kraus, Amber Rardin, Alexus Reyes, Kyle Stowers, Abigail Street, Jordyn Windsor and Kyle Wolfe.

Bricker Scholar
Harlan A. Siegsmund Scholar

Three special scholarships were created as a legacy for the person or family whose name they carry and will last into perpetuity. The Harlan A. Siegesmund Liberty Township Alumni Scholarship was awarded to Lindsey Burgess of Chesterton High School.  This scholarship was established by the Liberty Township High School Class of 1958 to honor their long-time principal Mr. Siegesmund. The Tom and Georgia Bricker Scholarship was awarded to Abigail Street of Valparaiso High School. This scholarship was created by Georgia, a school teacher, to honor her late husband Tom. Lastly, the Shawn Moyer Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Kyla Roney of Kouts High School. Shawn Moyer was a 1999 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar who passed away during his sophomore year at Taylor University. Lilly Endowment and the Foundation endowed the remaining balance of Shawn’s scholarship to create this award for graduates of Kouts High School.

Annual Women’s Fund Grants Awarded at Impact Porter County Membership Dinner

Over $50,000 in grants was awarded on Wednesday evening by Impact Porter County - a women’s giving circle associated with the Porter County Community Foundation.  The giving circle presented the 2017 grants on May 17th at their annual membership dinner at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton.

Women's Fund Membership Dinner

Impact Porter County members aim to make a positive and lasting influence in the community by awarding grants to Porter County nonprofits whose mission is to improve the quality of life for women and children.  Two high-impact grants of $25,000 each were awarded to Hannah’s Hope and the Portage Township YMCA.   The other finalists, Dunebrook Inc., Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary and Porter County PACT, were each awarded a $2,000 grant.

Hannah’s Hope is an organization that assists families who have children with special needs. Often times, special therapy and equipment is essential to meet a child’s physical, emotional and social needs but with the overwhelming amount of expenses families of children with special needs have, they are not always attainable.  Hannah’s Hope provides up to $500 per child per year to help these families purchase the necessary tools to help their child. The funds from this grant will continue their mission to “Help Hannah Help Others” throughout Porter County.

The Portage Township YMCA and the Portage Township School Corporation have partnered together to bring a Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program to low-income second and third grade students in Portage. This free, six week summer program will provide a safe, fun and educational environment for students to help prevent learning-loss that occurs during the summer months. In the first year, thirty-two children will be selected to participate in the program.  This program continues the Portage Township YMCA’s support of students and their educational, emotional and social growth progress.

Impact Porter County has now awarded over $500,000 in Women’s Fund grants since its inception.  To learn more about Impact or to view Women’s Fund impact stories, visit www.pccf.gives or contact the Foundation at 219-465-0294.

Porter County Chosen to Launch Promise Program

College may seem far away to first graders and their families, but this fall, Porter County will bring post-secondary education and careers front of mind through a collaborative effort called “The Promise.” The program makes educational savings a reality by helping families start a CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings account through their school, seeding the account with an initial investment from a local sponsor, and engaging the community to match deposits that the students, families, and champions all contribute to the account. Porter County is honored to be one of four new communities to launch the Promise program, with the support of Promise Indiana and the Indiana Education Savings Authority.  Bob Wanek, CEO of the Valparaiso Family YMCA, and Bill Higbie, CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation, have led the local effort to bring “The Promise” to Porter County.

Promise Porter County

During school registration, The Promise helps families take that first step to start saving, while also integrating college and career discovery activities in the classroom. Pilot counties select a cohort of students to participate, based on community size. The Promise Porter County Steering Committee consisting of local partners including school districts, the community foundation, local businesses and government, economic development groups, and nonprofits, has selected all first graders in the seven county school corporations for the launch.  The generous support of Urschel Laboratories will make it possible for every first grade student to begin the school year with their own college savings account.  There will also be an opportunity for those enrolled to invite champions—friends, family members, neighbors, coaches, and teachers—to invest in their college savings accounts.  A coalition of local partners, including 1st Source Bank, Stewart and Kathryn McMillan, Thorgren Tool and Molding, Porter Health Care System, and the Porter County Community Foundation, will provide a matching deposit to the student’s college savings account during a prescribed period of time.

Youth in the program not only build assets for post-secondary education and learn about college and careers, but they also visit a college campus for a day of interactive learning and dynamic hands-on experiences called “Walk Into My Future.” Valparaiso University will host the event this fall, with college students and faculty leading campus tours and activity stations for elementary-aged youth.

Research from the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion at the University of Kansas shows that youth with a college savings account in their name are between three and four and half times more likely to go to college than those without an account. CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings accounts can be used at any eligible institution—2-year community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, even trade and technical schools.

"It was evident that the team from Porter County had the drive and partnerships to make this a success for the students and families in their community,” said Phil Maurizi, VP of Operations for Promise Indiana. “We look forward to working with all the collaborators to achieve absolute success in their first year, but also to making the Promise program better and stronger with their innovation. Their work will impact not only local youth, but communities around the state of Indiana.”

To date, over 10,000 youth around the state have started a CollegeChoice 529 direct savings account through the Promise program. To learn more visit www.PromiseIndiana.org.  To get involved with Promise Porter County, contact Julie Giorgi at jgiorgi@valpoymca.org or 219-462-4185 ext. 267.