Legacy Grants lift up Lake County service organizations

Legacy Grants lift up Lake County service organizations
By: Mandy Haack Last Updated: August 22, 2019

The Legacy Foundation has been proudly serving residents of Lake County for the last 26 years, addressing and discovering the needs, concerns, and ideas of the people since 1992.  Though the Foundation covers a very wide area, they focus on serving their community in specific ways. One of those ways is consistently providing grants to organizations that serve Lake County. 

The first Legacy Grants were distributed in the 1990s. Beginning small, the funds grew in progressive increments through the decades. This year, for their “Transform Lake County” grants, they awarded a significant $222,000 to 17 organizations. 

“Our grant cycles are open to lots of different service areas. We service education, art, animal welfare, and the environment, just to name a few.  If you are serving a nonprofit program or serving residents of Lake County, you are eligible to apply,” said Legacy Foundation’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Erica Fizer. “We are broad in the types of grants we fund, but narrow in our mission of serving Lake County residents.”

Legacy Foundation’s Vice President, Kelly Anoe, believes the main goal of the organization is to improve the quality of life for all Lake County citizens. 

“The Legacy Foundation has really emerged as a leader in Lake County over time,” Anoe said. “Through our grant making, we are able to work with nonprofit organizations to support their captivity and identify the main issues that are experienced by residents.”

Over the last 26 years, The Legacy Foundation has awarded over $40 million in grants and scholarships. 

When asked how impactful the Legacy Foundation grants were to their project, Al Spajer, Director of Community Engagement for the Mascot Hall of Fame, responded, “How how much time you got? I could talk for hours about how important the Legacy Foundation is.” 

Spajer was the original director during the design and construction of the Mascot Hall of Fame, working early within the process. The Legacy Foundation believed that the exhibit would be worthwhile for the Region and Chicagoland area. 

“I remember taking them through the facility with hard hats on three years ago, and here we are now.  They were invested in the idea from the start and it’s been a wonderful journey,” Spajer said. 

The $25,000 granted to the Mascot Hall of Fame was designated to help create interactive exhibits in the building. 

Alison Martin, Vice President of Philanthropy for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, believes the incredible impact of the Legacy Foundation has progressively affected Lake County’s growth. 

“The Legacy Foundation is a tremendous resource for our community. Much of their funding buckets align with kids getting opportunities,” she said. “They offer training, funding, and services to places like us.”

East Chicago Katherine House Club accepted the generous Legacy Foundation grant. According to Martin, programs at this Club expand the boundaries of after-school care, and the grants helped facilitate that progression. 

“We are excited to renovate the Club to make it more relevant for kids today. There, we have programs that go above and beyond, including a digital music recording studio, which is what the grant will be funding,” Martin said. “The studio will help with sound equipment to assist kids to create their very own electronic beats in a professional setting.”  

The studio will open up doors for the kids, giving them a chance to try out something they may not have had the opportunity otherwise. 

“If the kids can see it, they can be it. This is their chance to try it out,” Martin said. “It’s more than creating music—it’s everything behind the scenes that makes up the different facets of the industry.”

The studio program, titled “Making Music Legacies,” will be dedicated to the Legacy Foundation.

If there is one thing the Legacy Foundation wants to leave with its community, it’s this: Give. Lead. Make a difference. That is certainly what they are doing, and continue to do for the citizens of Lake County. Discover more at http://legacyfdn.org/index.php.