Press Room

« Press Room Home

HFL Strategic Plan Update

September 6, 2018 | About HFL

Dear Community Partner,

Since opening our doors in March of 2016, we have been focused on creating the structure of the new foundation. A lot of time and effort was spent learning more about our community needs, learning from peers of established foundations throughout the country, finding the best investment firm partner, crafting policies and procedures, selecting grantmaking and scholarship software, blending the hospital foundation into the new foundation, building and launching the Ten2030 website as our first gift of data to the community, learning about Results Based Accountability, creating grant applications and all related documents, designing our websites, doing research and conducting meetings to learn more about each of the nonprofit organizations, government services and health and wellness providers in La Porte County, and much more…

We were delighted to have hosted presentations from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The goals of the program are to: Build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health; provide a reliable, sustainable source of local data and evidence to communities to help them identify opportunities to improve their health; engage and activate local leaders from many sectors in creating sustainable community change and connect and empower community leaders working to improve health.

At our 2017-18 Strategic Road Map meetings in March and April of 2017, the board selected three strategic areas of focus: Healthy Living (addressing nutrition, obesity and active living), Healthy Minds (addressing mental health, smoking cessation and drug prevention and treatment) and Healthy Children (from pre-natal to end of high school). The HFL board of directors also approved Responsive Grants – grants under $25,000 – to attend other health and wellness needs in the community not included in the three selected strategic areas and Capacity Building grants.

Capacity Building for nonprofit organizations was identified as a need during our 40 individual introductions of our community partners to the HFL team and board members during our Get to Know sessions. The National Council of Nonprofits defines nonprofit capacity building as “activities that improve and enhance a nonprofit’s ability to achieve its mission and sustain itself over time.” Our first initiative has brought 23 nonprofits to our sponsored Leadership Academy, a certificate program from Indiana University, with a curriculum tailored for the needs of the La Porte County nonprofit organizations. Each organization representative received a full scholarship to attend six classes and the curriculum includes nonprofit management, strategic and operational plans, marketing and communication, financial management, fundraising and Results Based Accountability (RBA). All classes are held in La Porte, avoiding travelling costs and additional time invested in this continuing education effort. This is the first step in supporting our nonprofits to create stronger and more effective organizations serving our community. After two classes, we are very pleased with the positive reaction of the individuals enrolled in the Academy. This first group will graduate in November of 2018.

With our first grant cycle completed in November of 2017, it was time to pause and assess lessons learned, funding focus and our role in the community. It was time to again listen, learn and refine.

We contracted a talented and expert consultant – Tony Macklin. Tony not only took a close look at what we have accomplished in the first two years of this newly established foundation, as our “fresh pair of eyes,” but he was tasked with facilitating meetings with our community partners (nonprofits, institutional partners, other community funders and leaders) in addition to our board of directors and staff. The goal was to guide us to the next stage of our strategic planning and continue to define the roles of the foundation.

Our Strategic Road Map for 2019-2020 is the culmination of this assessment and planning process. But this is not a path we walk alone. HFL’s evolution is logical as money alone cannot change a community. A significant part of the plan relies on the development and enhancement of deeper partnerships with and across organizations and our community. It is only by working together toward common goals that we will successfully reach our vision – to be among Indiana’s top 10 healthiest communities by 2030.

We know that we have many community needs. Trying to address all of them is not a viable approach. We will continue the grant structure as is but will also deep dive into two areas:

  • Opioid crisis: School-based Prevention
  • Low birth weight and infant mortality

Both areas are of significant concern and will require collaborating closely with community partners who have the expertise to create, launch and accelerate solutions. We will work hand-in-hand with our partners to help identify best practices, secure funding sources and move the dial toward impact. Together we will accomplish our shared vision and impact benchmarks.

We have just added a Special Projects Manager to our HFL team. Mary Wellnitz will be focusing on creating groups of partners and experts to drive impact, strategic engagement and coalition building. Mary comes to HFL with broad-based consulting experience with many nonprofit and for-profit organizations. She also actively served on many nonprofit boards in the region and currently serves on the Board of the Greater LaPorte Chamber of Commerce and chairs their Workforce Taskforce, the editorial board of the Northwest Indiana Business Magazine, and the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association. She has been honored with the National Athena® Award and has been inducted in the NW Indiana Society of Innovators.

Thank you for your support as we move forward to achieve our mission and vision – creating a healthier community for all of us! We encourage you to continue visiting Ten 2030 to learn more about the health indicators of La Porte County and best practice solutions.


Maria Fruth
President & CEO
Healthcare Foundation of La Porte