Healthcare Foundation receives Philanthropist Award

Submitted photo / Healthcare Foundation of La PorteThe Healthcare Foundation of La Porte was recently awarded the prestigious 2019 Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Northwest Indiana Chapter, at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. From left are Jane Nelson, vice chair of the HFL Board; Maria Fruth, president and CEO of HFL; and Jeffrey Bernel, board chair for HFL. 

CHESTERTON — At a Philanthropy Day ceremony last week, the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte was awarded the 2019 Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Northwest Chapter.

The award recognizes excellence in philanthropy and honors foundations for exploring creative ways to advance the common good and to find solutions for complex issues, according to Maria Galka, director of development and community relations at the VNA, which nominated the HFL for its support of regional non-profits.

“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,” Galka said. “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 HFL gifted $12.5 million in grants from 2017-19, which assisted in funding projects such as Detox Now addictions in-patient treatment; La Porte Recovery Center, managed by Porter Starke Services; Sacred Heart Shelter Renovation managed by Interfaith Community PADS; numerous outdoor fitness and recreational improvement projects including the Chessie Trail (Phase 1) and Clear Lake Trailhead & Boardwalk, exercise equipment ands bike stations for the city of La Porte; wellness programs at the YMCA; 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 many more.

In addition, the HFL has created several initiatives to achieve its goal of becoming one of Indiana’s top 10 healthiest communities by 2030. A short list includes:

n 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.

n 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.

n Mammogram Program, which enables low-income and underinsured women to receive mammography screenings.

n AED Program which grants funding and supports educational resources for local organizations and businesses for automated external defibrillators.

n Healthcare Scholarship Program, which financially assists those who are actively pursuing a career in health and wellness.

“We are so humbled by this award,” said Maria Fruth, president and CEO of the Foundation. “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.”

The HFL is also poised for even greater impact for years to come, she said. It has begun construction of its new Conference and Learning Center in La Porte, which will provide a space for local non-profits and public service organizations to meet, learn, retreat and plan.

The facility will be offered free of charge to organizations that engage in charitable activities benefiting the residents of La Porte County, Fruth said. “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, Fruth said. “Together with 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) Northwest Indiana Chapter. To learn more about this organization, visit their website at

—From staff reports

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