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Healthcare Foundation of La Porte receives the 2019 Foundation Philanthropist Award

December 6, 2019 |

(From Left: Jane Nelson, Vice Chair of the HFL Board; Maria Fruth, President & CEO of HFL; Jeffrey Bernel, Board Chair for the HFL)

In a Philanthropy Day ceremony at the Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, IN, the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte was awarded the prestigious 2019 Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), IN, Northwest Chapter. The Award recognizes excellence in philanthropy and honor foundations for exploring creative ways to advance the common good and to finding solutions for complex issues.

Maria Galka, Director of Development & Community Relations at the VNA in Valparaiso nominated the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte for their generous support of regional non-profit organizations. “The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte is a shining example of the impact strategic planning can make on the health and welfare of a community,” said Galka. “Thanks to their support, the La Porte community is well on its way to becoming one of the top 10 healthiest communities in Indiana.”

The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte is known for its generous grants to local nonprofits, as they have gifted $12.5 million in grants from 2017 to 2019. The grants have assisted in funding projects such as Detox Now addictions in-patient treatment, LaPorte Recovery Center managed by Porter Starke Services Inc., Sacred Heart Shelter Renovation managed by the Interfaith Community PADS, Inc., numerous outdoor fitness and recreational improvement projects including the Chessie Trail (Phase 1) and the Clear Lake Trailhead & Boardwalk, Exercise Equipment & Bike Stations for the City of La Porte, several wellness programs at the YMCA, the La Porte Community School Corporation Family Resource Services and Slicer Wellness Clinic, numerous youth programs addressing mental health, abused and neglected children and wellness, and hundreds more.

In addition, the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte is responsible for creating several initiatives to achieve its goal of becoming one of Indiana’s top 10 healthiest communities by 2030. A shortlist of these initiatives includes:

• Partners for Healthier Babies, which addresses the social, behavioral, and health risk factors that contribute to infant mortality and low birth weight to make a positive impact on birth outcomes.
• Partners in Prevention, which focuses on evidence-based curriculum that supports positive peer and teacher relationships, and social competences to avoid the use of addictive substances and to make positive choices.
• Mammogram Program, which enables low-income and underinsured women to receive mammography screenings.
• AED Program which grants funding and supports educational resources for local organizations and businesses for automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
• Healthcare Scholarship Program, which financially assists those who are actively pursuing a career in health and wellness.

“We are so humbled by this award,” expressed Maria Fruth, President & CEO of the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte. “There are so many amazing nonprofits in Northwest Indiana, and we are grateful for each and every one of them. It takes the combined strength of a community to initiate change, and we are so fortunate to be surrounded by and partner with so many outstanding organizations.”

As a result of Fruth’s visionary leadership, the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte is poised for even greater impact for years to come. It has already begun the construction of its new Conference and Learning Center in La Porte. The new Center will provide a productive space for local non-profits and public service organizations to meet, learn, retreat, and plan. This facility will be offered, free of charge, to organizations that engage in charitable activities benefiting the residents of La Porte County. The entire space is designed around the idea of bringing nonprofits together and to strengthen those working tirelessly to build solutions to long-term issues. It will also serve as an incubator for new nonprofits to launch and address community issues that are not currently being addressed. Together with a dynamic nonprofit sector and strong leadership, HFL hopes to create thriving communities throughout La Porte County.

The Philanthropy Day award ceremony is an annual event hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), IN, Northwest Chapter. To learn more about this organization, please visit their website at