Legacy Foundation makes $270,000 investment in 6 Gary organizations

Legacy Foundation, with funding from its John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund, announced a commitment of $270,000 to six Gary-based organizations.

“These projects will build off existing momentum to empower residents and transform vacant properties in downtown Gary and the surrounding communities.  We look forward to working with the selected organizations and learning from them ways in which we can continue to collaborate to enhance resident engagement and develop assets in downtown Gary,” said Legacy Foundation Vice President Kelly Anoe.

The grants range from $5,000 to $100,000, and the recipients include:

  • ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen
  • Decay Devils
  • Gary Community Partnership
  • Sojourner Truth House
  • Urban League of Northwest Indiana

Sojourner Truth House received the largest grant of the group at $100,000 for the project, Steel City Boxtown. “The Knight funding is the largest foundation grant in the 22-year history of Sojourner Truth House.  This gift will allow Sojourner Truth House to tackle the issues of homelessness and social enterprise in a holistic way to create long-lasting impacts in Gary,” said Arleen Peterson, director of operations at Sojourner Truth House. 

Steel City Boxtown will partner with Delta Institute’s Steel City Salvage and use modified shipping containers to equip clients with entrepreneurship skills and work experience. Tapping into the creativity of the homeless women served by the organization, the containers will eventually act as small retail shops, selling produce and made goods. The start-up efforts will provide the women income and help turn the city’s Midtown neighborhood into a gathering place with potential to improve the local economy.

FAITH CDC and Decay Devils were awarded the next highest grant amounts, each receiving $50,000.

“FAITH CDC is extremely grateful to the Legacy Foundation and the Knight Foundation for their continued support of our efforts to transform the Gary Downtown/Emerson community. The Progressive Pollinator is a sustainable project that builds upon our efforts to bring both esthetic beauty and environmental balance into our neighborhood,” said Curtis Whittaker of FAITH CDC.

FAITH CDC will repurpose vacant lots to expand FAITH FARM community garden. Additions will include a pollinator garden and apiary and a learning center that provides the community with access to explore nature in an urban context.

Decay Devils will partner with the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, Center for Community Progress Resident Revitalization Fellows, and community leaders to host a series of workshops to help residents implement placemaking projects in downtown Gary. Placemaking is an approach to the design and management of public spaces, which uses local assets to promote community well-being.

“Our workshops and installations aim to create an environment where we can share information we gathered from seminars, conferences, and fellowships with other nonprofits and community organizations in the city. Our vision is to build a network that would allow our nonprofits to become more unified and self-sufficient,” said Tyrell Anderson of Decay Devils. 

About Legacy Foundation

Legacy Foundation is a community foundation that supports the passions of philanthropic individuals, organizations, and businesses in Lake County, Ind. Through the generosity of many donors, Legacy has awarded more than $40 million to charitable causes since its founding in 1992. With a deep knowledge of local issues, we work creatively across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to address challenges throughout Lake County. For more information, visit www.legacyfdn.org.