A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Jane Delligatti

A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Jane Delligatti

When Jane Delligatti arrived in Chesterton in 1982, she was a single mother looking for a full-time job. She stumbled upon the Duneland YMCA, where she was met with the same generosity, opportunities, and kindness that she now shows community members behind her desk inside that same Y.

“I was a Y scholarship recipient,” she said. “When I came here, I needed to work full-time and needed child care for my eight year old son. The Duneland Y gave me scholarship, which totally blew me away. I had a real need and they were so generous and friendly. They made it possible for me to find good employment, and not have to worry about my son’s safety while I was at work.”

Delligatti now sits in that same role she was first introduced to years ago. She is the marketing director of the Duneland YMCA, where she handles the marketing for the Y and she’s involved in the annual scholarship campaign that helps Duneland families in need of Y programs and services.

Since she first arrived in Duneland, drawn here by her sister who lives in the area with her husband and five children, Delligatti has immersed herself in the communities. Her family tree weaves throughout the local businesses and organizations and Delligatti has made her own mark her. She is a past Duneland Chamber of Commerce board president and remains in involved with the organization today. She’s also a Rotarian. She was also honored as one of the Duneland Distinguished Woman Award in 2010.

Before the Y, she had her hands in a number of organizations as well. First, she worked at the Post-Tribune, in the ad sales department, and then worked on the cusp of using technology to design the newspaper pages. “That was a pretty cool adventure,” she said.

Then, she started her own ad agency called Millennium Marketing where she split her time between local businesses and car dealerships. One dealership became known for their trunk monkey commercials. The monkey earned his fame thanks to Delligatti, who brought the idea to the dealership to make car buying a little more fun.

“I saw the monkey commercials on a trial run somewhere I thought it was the funniest thing I ever seen. I was in tears laughing when I saw it, so when it went into syndication, I got it for the dealership,” she said.

When the torrential rains hit the Midwest in 2008, Delligatti was asked to join a non-profit called Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana (LARRI) as the executive director. She and the other members, plus around 5,000 volunteers helped in the long-term recovery efforts from the rains. There were about 19,000 families requesting FEMA assistance to repair their homes or replace clothing and furniture that had been destroyed.

Jane-Delligatti-01 When families were not able to get funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Indiana, they came to the non-profit, which was funded by a Lilly Endowment grant. Delligatti said the group ended up helping more than 3,600 families.

“It took three years and we rebuilt five homes from the ground up,” Delligatti said. “We relocated 35 families because their property could never be reclaimed and completed substantial repairs to almost 700 homes. It was an amazing journey.”

At the YMCA, she is back to that helping-all-she-can mentality. She is managing the current project of collecting bottle caps that will be made into benches, which will be placed throughout the area. What she enjoys most about her job is being the person to tell and show those in the community who don’t know yet, what all the Y does and can do to help people.

“A lot of people don’t understand the need that actually exits here and being able to show that and raise money and awareness of these services, that’s what makes marketing fun for me,” she explained. “Every new program at the Y is like building a new empire or adding a new house in the subdivision. It is a very cool way to serve people.”

The Y is centered around its members and the community, and Delligatti is right there making sure the members are having a good time.

“Our members are wonderful, a joy to be around,” she said. “They are a family.”

Delligatti continues to help non-profit’s, working behind the scenes, and loving it.

“I have absolutely loved every job I have had. I have been fortunate enough to have done so much,” she said. “I love working. I like going home and feeling good about what you were able to do that day.”