A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Carolyn Saxton

A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Carolyn Saxton

Carolyn Saxton, originally from West Virginia, has been making an impact in Northwest Indiana since she moved here in 2002. Saxton, born and raised near the coal fields with her family, graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College where she obtained her degree in psychology before going on to continue her education at Loma Linda University Health.

Since having moved to the Midwest in 1989, Saxton has been an intricate part of Lake County and the surrounding communities for many years now. She started out managing the Oak Park Community Fund in Illinois, and then went on to become the Executive Director for the Lubeznik Center for Arts in Michigan City before she found her place at the Legacy Foundation in 2013.

Saxton has been helping the Legacy Foundation grow and transform into the thriving community resource it is today. Taking in her role as the President just a couple years ago, Saxton came in at a time when the foundation was ready for change. Saxton said that she took on the role, “Because I loved the work I had previously done in community foundations, it felt like coming home. When selected for the position at Legacy I was very excited to have been chosen”.

Saxton went on to say that when she started at the Legacy Foundation she and the staff, “Hit the ground running, and immediately began working as team”. They were challenged by Eli Lilly to raise $1.4 million in order to match an endowment the company had granted the foundation. With Saxton and her teams hard work, they met that goal as well as raised a great deal more in just a year and a half. Saxton works closely with the donors, fund holders, and board members of the foundation. Anyone who has met her knows she takes great pride in not only upholding the foundation's standard of excellence but also ensuring that each individuals experience with them is a positive one.

Saxton said, “We’ve made some major transformation changes in how we do business in Lake County. We have focused a lot of attention on the communities we serve and the neighborhoods through the Neighborhood Spotlight, also the achievement of the Secretary’s Award at the Counsel of Foundations is something I’m very proud of”.

Saxton is also very excited about some new and innovative outreach approaches she and her team have implemented, such as the Knight Cities Challenge Event which encourages residents of Gary to help enhance and restore the city. They have recently started Executive Director Coffee, where nonprofit leaders in the community can connect, and then there is the very popular transforming Lake County Grant, which is awarded to nonprofits who have found innovative ways to bring about change and help to make needed improvements to the county.

Outside of her impressive work in the nonprofit world, Saxton has been married to her husband Bill Gregory for 27 years and between the two they have four children, nine grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and their adorable dog Blue Bell. Saxton and her husband live in Ogden Dunes where they enjoy being active, “We like to kayak, I play bridge, I’m a member of a book club, we spend time at our other home in Florida when we can. We appreciate the lifestyle that we are able to enjoy in Ogden Dunes”.

Being such a change maker in our area and beyond, it’s no surprise that Saxton is this week’s Lake County life in the Spotlight.

To find out more about the Knight Cities Challenge and upcoming events through the Legacy Foundation visit http://www.legacyfdn.org/events.php and to find out more about grant opportunities please visit http://legacyfdn.org/grants.php